After a decade in beta, Google Cloud Print is being laid to rest. In November of last year, Google announced that their cloud-printing based solution will no longer be supported as of December 31, 2020.
Oh, you didn’t know? Well, not surprising as Google made the announcement quite inconspicuously in this Google Chrome Enterprise Help support post:
“Beginning January 1, 2021, devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print. We recommend that over the next year, you identify an alternative solution and execute a migration strategy.”
Well, that’s got to be one of the most helpful recommendations I’ve ever come across – how about you?
In fairness, Google has provided a bit more guidance for enterprise users with Chrome environments (we’ll get into that in a bit). But what about those of us who operate on other OS devices? Hint: keep reading!
Wait, What’s Google Cloud Print?
Most of us have used or have at least become aware of Google Cloud Print over the last ten years. However, in case anyone has been living under a rock during that time, let me fill you in quickly.
Google Cloud Print is (or was) a mobile printing platform that enables users to print from any device to any cloud-connected printer. Basically, you connect your printer to your Google Account and when you go to print something, your print jobs are stored in a queue in your account and then sent to the printer. You could install Google Chrome on a PC, enable Cloud Print in its settings, and then print to a printer connected to that PC over the internet. All of your printers and print jobs could be managed and shared directly from your Google account.
Google Cloud Print was once crucial for Google because Chromebooks didn’t have native printing support—they needed the Cloud Print platform to print. However, you didn’t have to be a Chrome environment to use it – any OS user could utilize Cloud Print. Hence, Google had given people a mobile printing platform, for free! Yes, that’s right, free. I don’t know about you, but free is my favorite number.
So, why is Google Cloud Print retiring?
While there hasn’t been any concrete reason given, it could have something to do with the fact that Google Chrome print is no longer crucial for Chrome OS as it now has native printing support.
Migrating from Google Cloud Print for Chrome OS Environments
This leads us to alternatives to Google Cloud Print. For environments that are a 100% Chromebook environment, you can use your Admin console to set up CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) for printing to local and network printers.
Similar to Cloud Print, you can manage printers for your users. This includes:
- User-printing defaults for 2-sided and color printing.
- User account and file name in the IPP header of print job included over a secure IPPS connection. This enables third-party printing features, such as secure printing and print-usage tracking.
- Set-up of advanced printing attributes (stapling, paper trays, pin printing).
- PIN-code printing management. This allows users to enter a PIN when sending a print job and release the print job for printing when they enter a PIN on the printer.
- Extension APIs for third-parties to access print job metadata and submit print jobs.
Migrating from Google Cloud Print for Non-Chrome and Multi-OS Environments
As previously mentioned, Google’s recommendation to non-Chrome users or multi-OS scenarios for migrating away from Cloud Print is “using the respective platform’s printing infrastructure or working with a printing partner.”
Not exactly helpful. Luckily, there is a free alternative to Google Cloud Print.
Introducing Mobility Print! Mobility Print lets you print from Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, Macs, Windows, and Android devices in a cinch. It’s compatible with every printer brand, too – and setting it up is simple for even the most novice user. And oh yeah, it’s free!
Do More with Print Management
While mobile printing for free is great, it doesn’t enable you to track and control any costs associated with printing. Let me ask you the following questions:
- How many printed pages do you think you generated last week?
- Do you know what was printed?
- Which printer do you think was used the most?
- Which employee do you think printed the most?
- Was everything they printed work related?
- Did they print anything in color that shouldn’t have been printed in color?
- Do you know how much that is costing you per week, per month, per year?
Uncontrolled and unmonitored printing can really cost your organization. But with a complete print management solution, you can get full control and visibility to complement unmatched mobile printing:
- Get full visibility on who’s printing what, where, and when across all BYOD devices.
- Cut costs with detailed reports, allocated quotas, and print policies like B&W and duplex.
- Boost security by requiring secure authentication or a simple ID/badge swipe to release every print job.
Time to Move on from 2020 and Google Cloud Print
While 2020 hasn’t been kind to us all, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Whether you’re a completely Chrome environment, or another OS or multi-OS environment, the good news is everyone has a fantastic alternative to Google Cloud Print. We can leave Cloud Print in 2020 and start fresh in 2021!