Google Cloud Print is a new and innovative feature, that Google has worked on since last few months. When Chrome OS development started, many users asked about the printing feature in Chrome OS. Google Cloud Print is Google’s approach towards printing any documents from the cloud.
It’s an effort to try to include almost all features in the Google Chrome , Android OS and the Google Chrome OS which are present in Operating Systems like Linux and Windows. Engineers at Google are working on ways to add all aspects of a regular OS to these products. Google essentially plans to outsource most of the software infrastructure for printing to the cloud and establish a standard protocol that every Internet-connected printer will soon be able to understand.
Google Cloud Print is available for Chrome version above 9.0.597.10 as of now (and soon would be enabled for regular Chrome version – Works on Windows only – Mac and Linux version is coming soon).
Once the feature is enabled from Chrome Options, you can log into your Google account and Google will connect your local printer to Google cloud – which will effectively enable you to print documents from other devices.
How Does Google Cloud Print Work:
Google envisions that as the Cloud Print protocol becomes common, new printers will support it. These printers would essentially become cloud aware and the older ones would work with the cloud via the “Cloud Print Proxy” which will be a part of Chrome from version 9.0.597.10 onwards.
As Google describes it – “Google Cloud Print is a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.”
Rather than rely on the local operating system (or drivers) to print, apps can use Google Cloud Print to submit and manage print jobs. Google Cloud Print will then be responsible for sending the print job to the appropriate printer with the particular options the user selected, and returning the job status to the app. You can find more details about how Google expects this system to work here.
How To Enable Cloud Print On Your Printer:
What you’ll need:
- A printer installed on a Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 computer that you can access.
- The latest developer version of Google Chrome installed on the Windows computer.
If you want to try it on a previous Google Chrome version, you would need to manually enable the Google Print Proxy feature. I tried this on Chrome version 8.0.552.215 – and it worked just fine.
To enable this feature – Visit about:flags page in the browser and enable the “Cloud Print Proxy” feature. Restart your browser for the change to take effect.
Set up your printer:
1) Log in to your user account on the Windows computer.
2) Open Google Chrome.
3) Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar.
4) Select Options.
5) Click the Under the Hood tab. Scroll down to the “Google Cloud Print” section.
6) Click Sign in to Google Cloud Print.
7) In the dialog that appears, sign in with your Google Account to enable Google Cloud Print.
8] A message appears confirming that Google Cloud Print has been enabled. Click OK.
The printer is now associated with your Google Account and connected to Google Cloud Print. You can print to this printer whenever you’re signed in with the same account on another device or application.
You can connect up to three printers to Google Cloud Print using the same Google Account.
Once you have set this up – you would see the following information at bottom of the “Under The Hood” tab:
You can return to this screen at any time to manage or disable your Google Cloud Print settings. You can also print a test page to verify success.
When you click on “Manage Print Settings” button as shown above, the Cloud Print Page where you will be managing your cloud print connected printers and print jobs will open in a new Chrome window.
Here you can manage printers. Printers on your machine are automatically detected and the list is displayed. You can add and remove printers on this page. It also displays the print jobs that are in queue as well as jobs which have been completed.
*(At this time my printer is out-of-order, hence the list of printers displayed are the PDF and other such utilities, which print Word Docs as PDF files. Yup, Cloud Print detects every software that acts as a printer on your PC)
When I tried printing the test page, a window that showed all the printers on the computer popped up. Here you can make a selection which printer you want to use as well as select a few printing related options.
The Print job immediately showed up in the Manage Printers Window and the test page was printed. (In this case – since my printer wasn’t working, a PDF file was created instead.)
So far so good, everything worked without any hassle. Considering how new this feature is, I was expecting some printing related issues, but it went through smoothly.
If you are excited about this feature, try it out, its fun to try and has opened up a lot of possibilities for web based and mobile apps to enable printing.
Interesting Questions Regarding Google Cloud Print Service:
1) How do I print to my Google Cloud Printer?
The steps you take to print will vary from application to application. For example, in Chrome OS, click the wrench icon and then select Print to print the webpage you are viewing (you can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P).
2) Can I share my printer using Google Cloud Print?
Google says they are working on tools that will let you share and control access to your printer as easily as you can share files in Google Docs. For now, printers are only accessible to the account that connected them to Google Cloud Print.
3) What happens if my printer is offline?
If your printer can’t be reached at the time you submit your print job (e.g. the computer running the Google Cloud Print connector is turned off), your job will wait in the print queue in the cloud. Your printer will download and print the job normally as soon as it comes back online.
4) What happens if my Windows user account is logged out of my proxy computer?
For your printer to be connected to the Google Cloud, you must be logged into your Windows user account. Just as when your printer is offline, if you are using the Google Chrome proxy and your Windows user account is logged off, jobs will be saved and fetched normally when you log back in.
5) Who can see what I’m printing?
Google Cloud Print jobs are submitted and retrieved over https, and are available only to you and to the printer you submitted the job to.
Did you like this new feature introduced by Google? Share your opinion and thoughts in the comments section below - We would love to hear them.