|At a Glance|
|Product||Google Cloud Print [Website]|
|Summary||Cloud-based service bringing print-from-anywhere capability to any printer|
|Pros||• Directly supported by some HP, Kodak and Epson printers
• Decent Android and iOS device support
|Cons||• Didn't work with the printer we tried
• Must use Google Chrome for Windows printing
One of the major questions facing smart phone and tablet users is, “How do I print”? Google Cloud Print is currently one of Google’s famous “beta” projects aimed primarily at providing print services to tablet and other mobile devices via cloud-connected printers.
There are two paths to setting up Google Cloud Print. First, you can purchase and configure a "Cloud Ready" printer. A number of newest-generation printers including models from Kodak, HP and Epson are "Google Cloud Print Ready". Cloud ready printers can connect directly to the Internet and used without a PC driving the printer.
Alternatively, you can configure an existing "Classic" printer that’s connected to an Internet-connected computer. For this article, I’m going to configure my Kodak ESP7250 printer for Google Cloud Printing. The printer is plugged into my network and all of my computers print to it. Google Cloud Print would also work if I had the printer plugged into the USB port on my computer.
To get started, navigate to the Google cloud print landing page ( Figure 1). From here, you either configure a cloud-ready printer or go through the steps to add a "classic" printer.
Figure 1: Google Cloud Print landing page
When you click on Add a Classic printer, you are taken to a page of instructions that walks you through the setup steps.
First, you need to install Google Chrome onto your computer. If you are using Windows XP, you are also prompted to install the Microsoft XML paper specification pack. I tried clicking on the 64 bit version intended for Vista, and got a message that indicated that the software wasn’t intended for my computer (Windows 7-64 bit).
Next, you are instructed to launch Chrome, click on the wrench icon and navigate to Options>Under the Hood>Google Cloud Print. Then click Sign in to Google Cloud Print as shown in Figure 2:
Figure 2: Sign into Google Cloud Print to enable the Google Cloud Print connector
This takes you to the Cloud Print sign in page shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Google Cloud Print sign in page
Next, you are prompted to finish registration, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Finish Google Printer registration
This takes you to the home page for your Google cloud print account. The landing page for your account shows you the documents that you have printed through Google cloud print (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Landing page for Google cloud print showing my recently printed documents
If you select Printers from the menu at the left side of the screen, you’ll see a list of printers registered to your Google cloud print account. Figure 6 shows my cloud print-enabled devices including my Kodak printer.