How to share your printer with anyone, over the internet

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It’s pretty common now for a house to have several computers and one printer.  Our house has been that way for a while – we all share the one printer, and most of the time it works out fine.  Sometimes, however, it would be nice to share the printer with someone else – maybe someone visiting with a laptop that needs to print something.  With this new service from Google, you can share your printer with someone in the next room, or someone on the other side of the world.

share your printer

(Like last week’s post on skipping the ads on YouTube, you will need to have the Google Chrome web browser installed.  It’s a good browser, so you should have it installed anyway.)

Here’s how to share your printer over the internet:

1. Open Google Chrome, click on the wrench icon in the upper right corner, and in the new menu, choose “Options”

2. On the left side, click “Under the Hood”

3. Scroll down to near the bottom of this page to where you see “Google Cloud Print” and click on “Sign in to Google Cloud Print”.  If you are not already signed in to your Google account, do so now.

4. Click “Finish printer registration”:

share your printer

5. Now, click on “Manage your printers”, then on the left side of the page, click on “Printers”

6. Now you will see a list of the printers that are currently active on your computer.  Click once on the printer you want to share (to highlight it), and click the green “Share” button at the top:

share your printer

7. You should now see a window with your own name and email listed at the top, as the owner of the printer.  In the field just above the “Share” button, you can enter the Gmail email address of anyone with whom you want to share your printer.

share your printer

It’s important to note that in order for someone to use your printer,  your computer must be on and Google Chrome must be open.  However, if someone sends something to the printer and Chrome is not running, the document will be stored until you run Chrome – then it will print.

So that’s how you share your printer over the internet – but how does your friend go about accessing your shared printer?  Here’s what your friend needs to do:

1. Sign into his Google/Gmail account

2. Go to the Google Cloud Print site: www.Google.com/cloudprint

3. He’ll see that he has a new printer listed.  He needs to accept the printer invitation by clicking on the printer, then clicking the Accept button.  Now the printer will be listed as one of his printers on this page.

4. In order to print a document, he just needs to click on the “Print” button, then “Upload file to print”:

print with a shared printer

5. He then navigates to the file that he wants to print and chooses it.  Next thing you know, the printed page is coming right up!

Currently, the only file types that can be printed this way are Word documents or PDF documents.  But there will probably be more added in the near future, because Google is constantly expanding its “Cloud” services.

This is not just a way for you to share your printer with your friends – you can also use this service for yourself.  If you are away from your printer and need to print something, just log in to the Google Cloud site and print away.

 

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Ken Leatherman
February 13th, 2012

Hey Scott,

I love learning something new the first thing in the morning. I actually had no idea you could share your printer with folks around the world. Technology never ceases to amaze me.

Thanks for letting us know about it.

Now I’m off for another cup of coffee.

Ken