Printing on the Cloud with Google Cloud Print

Google has just announced that Google Cloud Print will be rolling out to users starting today. Imagine printing documents or even emails to your home printer using only your mobile phone while on the road. Google Cloud Print has been on beta since it was first announced. A public beta test was even given to the few select people who acquired the Google Netbook Cr-48. As of now, the current limitation is that you must be using a Beta Release (Canary and Dev Builds are also supported) of Google Chrome for Windows. The beta-builds of Chrome must act as a print server that connects from your PC to the Google Cloud Print servers where your print jobs are sent. Apparently, Cloud Print will not function if your Windows PC is turned off or logged off and Google Chrome is not started. And since Chrome acts like a print server, your PC must also be connected to the internet. In the near future, this limitations will be overcomed when new printers that will be manufactured will be cloud-aware.

As of now, this service will only be rolled out to English-speaking users in the US that are using Android 2.1+ and iOS 3+ only. But some people report that they have the Cloud Print option even if they don't live in the US, and it works. But for those people who doesn't own an Android phone, iPhone or iPad can try Google Cloud Print by changing Google Chrome's User Agent String into an Android User Agent. Here are the steps:

  1. Set up your Windows PC to Google Cloud Print. Just go to using a Beta build of Google Chrome and follow the instructions until you've set it up. After that, you may print a test page to verify that it is working.
  2. Start Google Chrome using an Android User Agent. Locate the installation path of your Google Chrome Beta/Dev/Canary. It is usually located at [code]C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe[/code] where <username> is your Windows user name. Just add a command-line parameter "–user-agent" with the value of the user agent string that we would be using. The Android User Agent string that we would be using is [code]Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.1; en-us; Nexus One Build/FRG83) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1[/code] which is the user-agent string of a Nexus One phone. So basically, we would type this in our command-line:
    [code]"C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome SxS\Application\chrome.exe" –user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.1; en-us; Nexus One Build/FRG83) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1"[/code] But for those who are lazy to type to the console,

    1. Just go to your desktop
    2. Right-click your Google Chrome shortcut
    3. Then select Properties.
    4. Append to the target the command-line parameter:[code]–user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.1; en-us; Nexus One Build/FRG83) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1"[/code]
    5. Press OK.
    6. Double-click the shortcut.

  3. Go to Gmail and select a message. You will notice that the mobile version of Gmail will be used instead of the usual Desktop version. After successfully logging in, select a message from your inbox then click the button on the right-most side of the floating bar. It will then show a drop-down menu, select Print.
  4. Select a printer from Google Cloud Print. After clicking Print, Google Cloud Print will appear waiting for you to select a printer. Select an available printer then choose Print 
    On the example above, I selected Adobe PDF printer that is installed on my computer so that I could save ink for demonstration purposes.
  5. Wait for a while. Usually, printing through the cloud takes a bit longer than printing locally, so be patient. Cloud Print will do the printing on the local machine and after that, it's done!