Printing to the Cloud …

Posted on August 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm by Donna Warren

As the cloud is becoming more of a reality, the question arises, “How can we print if we are using the cloud?”

Conventional printers need to be connected to either a computer or a network print server to allow you to print to them. Now a new kind of ePrint printer has been developed by HP. These ePrint devices have built in support for Google’s Cloud Print. Basically that means they do not need to be connected to either a computer or a network print server.

Cloud print is a service that lets you print from almost any device, from any operating system, from any browser to any printer without needing specific drivers or a PC connection. Google launched this new service last year but it only seems to be catching on recently. There is also an API (application programming interface) that you can build into the apps you create.

The new printers connect directly to the internet and register themselves with the cloud print service. Then you can add the ePrint enabled printer to your Google account with a unique email address assigned to the printer. After that you can just send jobs to the printer’s email address.

The biggest advantage that I see is being able to print from my smartphone or netbook.

You can also use cloud print with what Google calls a “classic” printer. All you need is the latest version of Chrome. Sign into your Google account, add the printer to your account, then add the chrome cloud print connector… voila! You can now print from a limited number of applications.

Currently you can only use a single Google account and cannot share your printer.

Google is not the only player in the cloud print field, Android has an app that lets you print text messages, email and web pages. Firefox has an app that lets you print web pages.

We will just have to wait and see how this new capability shakes itself out in the future.

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