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Easy printer sharing using the Internet

Printing is one of those technologies that never seems to improve with time. Printing a document still requires dealing with hardware in the real world -- including ink or toner, cables, and paper jams. Sharing a printer? That's even worse; networking printing is one of the last of the Black Magics of the IT world.

That's why it's seemingly miraculous that you can now share a printer with anyone, anywhere, using nothing more than a Web browser.

Google's Cloud Print is a snap to set up and use. The only downside is that it requires you to use Google's Chrome browser. If you already use Chrome, great. If you're an Internet Explorer or Firefox user, though, switching to Chrome might be a bridge too far. Nonetheless, here's how it works:

You need to start by connecting your printer to Cloud Print. Open Google Chrome and choose Tools, Options, and then click Under the Hood. Then sign in to Cloud Print. Finally, register your printers.

Once that's done, you need to share the printer with anyone else who might need to print. This can be anyone, anywhere, on or off your local network. Click Manage your printers and then click Printers. Choose a printer that you want to share, click Share, and enter the email address for someone who you would like to have access. You only need to do that once; now you've made the printer accessible.

Finally, your co-workers need only log on and accept the shared printer. To do that, visit Google Cloud Print. Now, they can print using the Print button on the Cloud Print site -- just click it and upload the document or file they want to print.

More on MoneyWatch:

3 Tactics for Weaning Your Office off of Printers
2 Simple Ways to Lower Your Printing Costs
Print Anywhere: Tap into Local Printers When You're on the Road

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