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Print from Your Phone, Other Computers with Google Cloud Print

It has been said that printers -- archaic devices that appear to have changed little in the last 20 years -- are proof that there's pure evil in the world. Even if you discount paper jams, empty toner cartridges, and the myriad other problems you encounter just trying to print, you have to install the right drivers on your PC before you even get the privilege of trying. Suppose you're in a hurry to print a document on your new laptop and discover that you don't have the driver installed for your printer? Well, if you try out Google Cloud Print, it wouldn't be a problem. You can print from any device -- including your smartphone -- without ever worrying about a printer driver again.

Google Cloud Print is a feature in the latest version of Google Chrome, so even if you have no interest in Google's browser, this might be a good reason to install it. After you configure Google Cloud Print in Chrome on a computer that's connected to your printer, you can print Gmail from any other Internet-connected device. That might sound limiting -- you can only print Gmail -- but when you realize that means you can print Gmail attachments, it's pretty powerful.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Install Chrome.
  2. Click the wrench icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Click the Under the Hood tab.
  4. Scroll down to Google Cloud Print and sign in.
That's it -- you're now configured for Google Cloud Print. Now go to another device, like a laptop or your iPhone and open Gmail. Select a message and choose to print it. On the iPhone, for example, you ned to click the reply icon in the bottom bar, and then choose Print. Choose your printer and tap Print. Your message should come rolling off the printer.

That's pretty powerful -- you can now print without printer drivers, and you can send print jobs to your printer even before you enter the building, so it'll be waiting for you when you arrive.

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