Printing while on the go used to be somewhat of a nightmare. You never knew where to print, if your document would print, and what system(s) to install to get your device to print. Google has gone to great lengths to make this task as simple as possible. Thanks to Google Cloud Print, your Android printing woes are a thing of the past.
This app doesn't actually set up your printers... you still need to do that. If you have a cloud-ready printer or even a Classic printer connect to your Google-connected desktop, this app will make sending a print job to a specific location even easier. With Google Cloud Print you can:
- print to your cloud-connected printer;
- print to file on your Google Drive account; and
- save as a PDF.
SEE: Power checklist: Managing and troubleshooting mobile devices (Tech Pro Research download)
Installing Google Cloud Print
Once you have your printer connected, install the Google Cloud Print app. When you go to install it, you may find that it's already installed — some devices with later iterations of Android come with it pre-installed.
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for google cloud print.
- Locate and tap the entry by Google.
- Tap Install.
- Read the permissions listing carefully.
- If the permissions listings are acceptable, tap Accept.
- Allow the installation to complete.
You now have to switch the Google Cloud Print service on. (If you go to install the app and find that it's already installed, you may only have to switch the service on.) Follow these steps.
- Open Settings.
- Locate Printing.
- Tap the Cloud Print option.
- Switch the slider to the On position (Figure A).
Turning on Google Cloud Print on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.
Using Google Cloud Print
Now you're ready to see just how easy printing can be from Android. When you find something you want to print, tap the menu button and then tap Print. (Note: If you're in the Google Drive app, you cannot print from an open document; you long press the document icon, tap the Menu button, and then tap the Print button.)
When you tap Print, you will see a new drop-down at the top of the window. Tap that drop-down and select where you want to print the document (Figure B). The file will print or be saved as a PDF or to your Google Drive.
Printing from within Google Drive, via Google Cloud Print.
Why it's worth installing
Even if you don't have a cloud-ready printer attached to your Google Account, the ability to print a file (such as a TechRepublic article from your web browser) to your Drive cloud makes this service worth installing.
How do you print from a mobile device? Let us know in the comments.
- Five applications to expedite your printing tasks (TechRepublic)
- Pro tip: Add a printing service to your Android device in a flash (TechRepublic)
- Pro tip: Sharing Google cloud print printers (TechRepublic)
- Pro tip: Limit Drive-enabled apps to Wi-Fi sync only (TechRepublic)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.