Smartphones are cool, but they do have a couple of serious limitations. For one, they can’t go out in the morning and pick up your newspaper from the porch, and for another, they’re pretty useless when it comes to printing out information. Sure you can move the files/data from the phone to the PC and then print, but what if you want to print directly from the phone?
Cloud Print is a free Android app which uses Google’s Cloud Print service to let you print directly from your phone to any printer. It’s free, easy to set up and works with both older legacy printers and more modern ones. You will need to have a Google account and use the chrome browser to set it all up (see our video walk-through below), but once it’s done you can do all your printing from the phone app.
The system works best with more modern ‘cloud ready‘ printers, because they connect directly to the web via WiFi and so you won’t need your home PC running in order to print, but in our tests our ancient and much loved HP Laserjet which is connected to the USB port on our PC worked a treat. In all the setup took around 4 minutes, and we were printing from our Samsung Note with not a care in the world. Nice!
The whole thing works by using your home network to send the print job to a Google server (hence cloud, geddit?) on the Internet, which then acts as a global, universal spooler and transfers the print job to the printer you specified. It’s clever, and just the sort of tech that Google loves playing with. And yes, of course, there’s yet again another instance where you’re trusting your data to the mighty G. machine, so you should remember that and probably not trust the service to print out anything that is of a sensitive, private or excruciatingly embarrassing nature.