Thursday, January 26, 2012

Productivity on the Road: Google Cloud Print

As a comic artist, I do the vast majority of my work at home. When I do venture out into the sunlight, I find it frustrating that I can't instantly access the comforts of home, and I quickly develop artist-desk withdrawls. My smartphone does a little to alleviate the symptoms- I can pretend to be productive by inundating my Twitter with by the moment tweets or spam my Facebook with cellphone quality photos of doodles, but I'm not ACTUALLY producing anything. If you're anything like me, the thought makes you a little nervous, so hopefully this new feature will help us both with our jitters. Productivity on the Road focuses on web apps an artist can utilize to increase productivity while away from the safety of the home computer.

I'm a pretty big fan of Google, but then, I've already accepted our fate as a race and welcome our robot overlords. There are even rumors that I'm dating a robot, which I can neither confirm nor deny, but the majority of my tech gadgets always work and my computer is generally virus free, so there must be some validity to that claim. Lately Google's been winning some major points with me, partially due to their stance on SOPA and mostly because they're just generally awesome. An example of this awesomeness is Google's Cloud Print, which allows you to print to your home or work computer from anywhere there's a wifi signal (unless you have an iPhone. Doesn't seem to be an iStore app for that yet, but there is one for Android). You merely need to install Google Chrome, sign in to your Google account, and begin setup.

I went with "Add a Classic Printer".  My Brother printer has been set up to work on my wifi network already.



At this point, my usual printer has yet to be added to the queue.

But after some clicking around, I find that it's in my list of options.


After hitting print, I went to check, and lo and behold, it worked.  I'll have to try this the next time I'm at a coffee shop.
So why is this fantastic?  Let's say that you're like me, the only time you get out of the house besides attending class is to get coffee at the local coffee shop.  The only reason you buy this overpriced coffee is because it gets you out of the house for a good hour or so, and lets you work around non-comic making humans, which gives you a little perspective.  But hey, you really oughta print this webpage, or this paper for your thesis, or a mockup of your mini comic, or the bluelines for that new comic, and you don't really want to wait til you get home to print it.  As long as your printer is set up with the right paper and is set to your wifi network at home (or to a computer that's on and connected to the internet) you can print from wherever you are.   This might seem like a minor nicety, and maybe it is, but don't we DESERVE minor nice things in life like magical printers that print your work while you're not even there to make sure it happens? 

I'm currently researching iPhone options for printing on the go, and when I find a solution that works (and is free), I'll let you guys know.