While you’re gearing up for back to school, you’re probably considering printing solutions. These days printing has gotten much more convenient and flexible than it ever used to be. One of my favorite trends in home printing is adoption of Apple’s AirPrint and Google’s Cloud Print. Apple’s AirPrint lets you print from any iOS device on the same WiFi network as your printer while Google Cloud Print effectively allows you to print from any internet connected device no matter where they are. A lot of you are still unfamiliar with these so this is a good time to take a closer look.
AirPrint is Apple-specific so if you’re not using an Apple device it can be much more involved to get it working. Frankly if you’re not using both a Mac and an AirPrint compatible printer, or want to print from remote locations, just use Google Cloud Print. It will make your life so much easier. The whole idea is to make printing super easy, letting you take advantage of networked printers and letting you send documents for printing without having to jump through any technical hoops.
To use AirPrint you’ll need an up to date version of iOS on your device as well as an AirPrint enabled printer on the same WiFi network. There are a wide variety of compatible printers at every price range, so keep an eye out for the feature when shopping for one. Once your AirPrint compatible printer is set up on your WiFi network you’re pretty much ready to go. You can just print your document and follow the prompts. It's fairly simple and hassle free. Getting a recipe printed out from your iPhone, or a document printed from your iPad is super easy with little to no setup involved.
With Google Cloud Print you don’t need to be using an iOS device at all. You can print from any physical location be it a library, coffee shop, lecture, or wherever you are. You can do it from all sorts of devices, be it a phone, PC, tablet, or anything in between. You don’t need to be using an iOS device either. Some printers show a “Cloud Ready” feature, making them ideal for Google Cloud Printing. Others just show AirPrint as a feature, which are still generally fairly easy to set up on Google Cloud Print.
One of the nicer features specific to Google Cloud Print is that it will even work with your standard, run of the mill printers not listing any of these as a feature. You’ll have to have Google Chrome installed on a computer connected to the printer, with the Google Cloud Print connector enabled in Chrome. That’s definitely more hassle, but in the end it will do the trick.
Be sure to look for AirPrint or Cloud Ready features when shopping for that new printer so make sure you can use these features with ease. If you have a printer that doesn’t explicitly support them you should still consider setting up Google Cloud Print through the Chrome connector. It changes how you use and think of your printer. It's so much easier when you can print from anywhere, share printer access with friends, and free yourself from the usual printing bottlenecks in your workflow.
Here is a short video from Google to help explain it for you.
Some newer printers also support their own proprietary cloud printing technologies that can work pretty well such as HP's ePrint and Epson Connect. These printers generally work fine with AirPrint and Cloud Print, just giving you a few extra options for printing however is most convenient.
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