CRN Printer Week: How To Set Up Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print

Variety might be the spice of life, but it can be a bitter pill for service providers offering technical support. For them, consistency and standardization are the keys to providing fast, high-quality service. But few companies deploy even a single brand of printer, let alone one means of printing from the road.

One way of bridging these disparate gaps is to use Cloud Print, Google's cloud-based infrastructure for outputting to office printers from mobile devices anywhere in the world. The technology can be set up through a PC for virtually any printer, but the increasing number of today's Internet-connected printers are making that process obsolete, and making standardized mobile printing easier by the day. Here's a quick primer on setting up Google Cloud Print as a consistent means of mobile-device printing.

1. Printer Compatibility

If the printer can connect to the Internet on its own -- and virtually all modern networked printers can -- then there's a good chance it's compatible with Cloud Print. Google publishes a list of Cloud-Ready Printers, but it's a safer bet to check the manual or with the manufacturers of the printer(s) involved. Failing all that, the printer itself will (or will not) react accordingly during the setup process, and it takes just a few minutes to find out either way.

2. Manage Cloud Print

From a machine running ChromeOS, Mac OS X or Windows that's on the same LAN as printers to be shared, launch Chrome and open the Settings page. Scroll to the bottom and click Advanced Settings. Scroll down to Google Cloud Print. Checking the box here will display an alert on this machine whenever a new Cloud Print-compatible printer is available. Click the Manage button to set up available printers.

3. Register Printer(s)

Each compatible printer on the network will be listed here with a Register button at its right. To register a printer, click the Register button. A confirmation message will be displayed on the printer being registered. Visit that printer and acknowledge the registration. Note that the process might vary from one manufacturer to another. If all goes well, the printer should appear after a few moments in the "My Devices" list at the bottom of the Devices page.

4. Share Printer(s)

At this point the printer will be available only to the administrator. To share with others in an organization, click the Share button and add email addresses. Google allows device access to be limited to registered users or open to anyone with a link to the printer. The interface for sharing printers is identical to that of sharing Google Docs.

5. Download App(s)

There's one more step required, and that is to Cloud Print-enable the mobile device(s). For Android, it's as simple as installing Google Cloud Print for Android. Once installed, any registered Cloud Printers that are shared with the device's account will be visible when printing (from apps that support printing). For printing from devices running iOS, Google recommends the $4.99 PrintCentral Pro for iPhone and iPod Touch, or PrintCentral Pro for iPad, which costs $7.99.