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Deemable Tech

Ask Deemable Tech: How Can I Share My Printer More Easily?

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Parker writes, “A classmate came over to my house recently to work on a project with me. She brought her laptop. When it came time to print, we had to print from her laptop, which meant I had to find the printer disk, hook her laptop up to the printer, and install it, just to print one thing. Is there a better way to do this?”

Thank you for your question, Parker! This is a problem we probably have all faced at one time or another. The good news is that there is actually a pretty easy way to remedy this situation, and it involves one of our favorite things: The Cloud! Specifically, Google’s Cloud Print service.

The idea behind Google Cloud Print is that you can print from any computer to any printer without having to connect the two physically or install a bunch of drivers. As long as both the computer and the printer have an Internet connection, you can print. For example, if your work printer was connected to Cloud Print, you could print to it from home. If your home printer was connected to Cloud Print, you could print to it from work. And if your friend is at your house and needs to print, you can just share your Cloud Print connected printer with them , no printer connection required.

Another cool thing about Google Cloud Print is that you control who gets to see your printer. You specify the email addresses of people you want to share your printer with, and only they are allowed to print to it. You can also revoke access to your shared printer at any time.

Now, how do you start using Cloud Print? Well, you may have noticed that many new printers are labeled as being “Google Cloud Print Ready.” That means that once you have them turned on and connected to a network, you can share them through Google Cloud Print quickly and easily. If you don’t have a “Google Cloud Print Ready” printer, don’t worry! You can still use what Google calls “classic printers” with Cloud Print, with the only extra requirement being that the printer must be hooked up to a computer with Google Chrome installed on it.

Open up the settings in Google Chrome on that computer, search for “cloud printer”, and you’ll see options to add your printer to Cloud Print. Once your printer is connected, it’s simple to print from Google Docs, your Chrome browser, or from a Google app.

Yes, you read that correctly: you can print from Google apps. Most Google apps on iOS and Android let you use Cloud Print by default. For example, you could open the Gmail app, tap print and print away! For other apps on iOS, you can download the PrintCentral Pro app to connect your device to Google Cloud Print (this app costs $4.99 for iPhone, and $7.99 for iPad). Many apps on Android have this function built in.

So, Parker, try out Google Cloud Print, and see how it works for you. That way if you’re ever in that predicament again, you can simply share your printer without all of the extra work.

For more great tech advice, listen to Deemable Tech's hour-long show on Deemable.com.