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Print from your Smart Phone or iPad

Do you find yourself reading your email on your smart phone and need to print something out? Unless you have an app that you paid for, you usually had to wait until you were at a computer. Now there are a few free solutions that are showing promise.

The first is Google’s Cloud Printing. Before you can use this, you need to A) be using a Chrome Notebook, or B) have the Chrome web browser on your computer. Next, you need to turn on Cloud Printing and “register” your printers. In the preferences for Chrome you need to enable Cloud Printing. You do need to have a Google Account – which if you are using Chrome, you probably do! If you have more than one account, it will ask you which account you are assigning the cloud printing to. If you are able to assign this to more than one account, I have not found how to do this yet!

Once you have enabled it, on your smart phone you need to download the Cloud Printing app. After accepting the policies and setting up the Google account, you are almost ready to print! You are limited to what you can print. From the Cloud Printing app, you can select what you want to print. If you select “Texts”, it will open your various text threads. Select the contact that you want to print, and it will print the entire thread.

If you want to print an email from an Android phone, you will need to download another app ,- K-9 Mail. This app will access your email account (you do need to set it up). From the email, select “Share” and cloud print will be one of the options. From other apps as well, select “Share” and Cloud Print will be there.

If this seem a bit cumbersome – it is! I am sure that as technology progresses, it will become more seamless! Oh, yes, there is one more hurdle. The computer with Chrome needs to be ON for this to work. Otherwise, the printing job will be put in a cue to be printed later. You do not need to be on the same network as the printer. As of this writing, I have not checked this out. With the HP e-printers, however, you do not need your computer to be on. Cloud Printing can connect directly with the computer.

Apple has created Airprint for the iPads and iPhones. It is on the newer operating systems, so you need to make sure your devices have the newest operating system. To do this, you do need to connect your iPod or iPad to your computer, and through iTunes you can update the OS. With Airprint, you DO need to be on the same network as the printer, and not all printers are supported - check the list here. Check out Apple’s web page for more details.

These are good steps, but it needs to be made easier for the average person!