Using Google’s Cloud Print Service

On our home network we have a Windows PC (with printer attached), a Chromebook, a Linux netbook used as a media centre, and, intermittently, an Android phone. Visitors often bring their own devices too. The idea of configuring the network and all of these clients to be able to print to the Windows PC’s printer sounds pretty terrifying and, even were I to achieve it, printing would only be possible from within the local network.

Instead I use Google Cloud Print. Google Cloud Print makes it possible to print to any authorised, internet-connected printer from a Chrome browser (or other compatible application, see the current list here) in any location. Not only can we easily print from within the home network, we can print to the home printer while travelling elsewhere, too.

To set up Google Cloud Print, simply navigate to

chrome://settings

Click Show advanced settings, and look for the Google Cloud Print option, then follow the instructions (it’s pretty quick and simple).

With Google Cloud Print configured, open up Chrome and open the printing dialog (from the menu, or use Ctrl + P).

In the Destination section of the print dialog, you should now be able to find printers available via Google Cloud Print:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Select your desired device and it appears in Destination, and will be remembered for future print sessions too.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

The system works very well, but with one or two caveats:

  • You need to be internet connected (as does the printer or its host computer)
  • You must be signed into Google
  • Not all applications are yet supported (see previous link) but the list is growing

If, like me, you do a lot of work with Chrome in the Google Drive environment, it’s a great solution.