Deploying Google Cloud Print: Setup, Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
on 19 August 2020 11:49 PM
Note: Google announced that Google Cloud Print, their cloud-based printing solution that has been in beta since 2010, will no longer be supported as of December 31, 2020. We recommend you use PaperCut Mobility Print instead. If you’re currently using GCP, there is also a useful article on How to migrate from GCP to Mobility Print.
Google Cloud Print allows you to share specific printers with your users, regardless of what OS, computer, mobile device, or location they’re in. For the modern user, who may have a laptop, tablet, desktop, and smartphone at their disposal Google Cloud Print represents a freedom from tethers like being on your network, accessing printers directly, interacting with drivers — all the things that typically make printing suck for users and administrators alike.
Check out PaperCut Mobility Print which a free option and a simple way to print from your Mobile & BYOD devices like iOS, Android, ChromeOS, Windows and MacOS. You can learn more about migrating from Google Cloud Print to Mobility Print over here
To get started with PaperCut administered Google Cloud Print queues you’ll need the following:
As described in the manual add your designated Cloud Management account into the PaperCut Admin Console in Mobile/BYOD.
Once you’ve connected this account to PaperCut and set up a test print queue in the PaperCut Admin Console go to the Google Cloud Print console and share the test queue with a Google Apps account associated with an existing PaperCut User.
From a Google Apps service send some test jobs from the existing user, and ensure that print jobs are tracked by PaperCut and are printing or being held as should be expected for the test queue.
Please Note: do not sign into Google Chrome with the Cloud Management account on a desktop computer with printers connected to it. This may lead to automatic printer sharing by Google Chrome, which may lead to unexpected behavior, and erroneous printers being created.
Many customers with fleets of Chromebooks want to be able to deploy these print queues to the Chrome devices directly using Google Apps Admin Device controls. Unfortunately when the print queues are deployed this way, then print jobs submitted will arrive from an email address that contains a Device ID instead of a username. This means that PaperCut is unable to determine what user submitted the job.
A feature request has been logged for Chrome to “Include logged in user or session when printing via device credentials”. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=414510.
For the time being, we recommended sharing the print queues with the Google users or groups via the Sharing interface instead.
To ensure that all group members can print there will need to be an Owner of the group, and the Owner account will need to accept the share. Please note, you can create the group with only the owner account present, accept the share, add all other users, and then remove all ability for others to post to the group. For very large sites it may be worth looking into 3rd party Google Apps management software that streamlines group creation.
If you only have a small handful of Chromebooks or don’t mind collecting all of the on device “@chrome-enterprise-devices.gserviceaccount.com” accounts, you can set up a Google Group containing all of these device email addresses. This is especially handy for Chromebook labs where you want to limit sharing to specific devices, and are not concerned with which users are printing, but rather where printing is happening. However, it should be noted that there will need to be PaperCut accounts associated with the “@chrome-enterprise-devices.gserviceaccount.com” device email addresses.
While any sort of Google account can be used to create and set up Google Cloud Print printers, if you are a Google Apps for Business, Education, Government, or Non-Profit customer setting up a dedicated internal Google Apps account for use as your Google Cloud Print management account is a highly advisable solution.
Whatever sort of Google account you decide to use, it should be an account dedicated and expressly for use with Google Cloud Print and should be properly secured to prevent unauthorized access or modification.
As noted earlier, it is a best practice not to sign into Google Chrome with the Cloud Management account on a desktop computer with printers connected to it. When you sign into Google Chrome with a Google Apps account it may lead to the printers on that system being automatically shared out, which can lead to confusion and issues going forward with your deployment.
For organizations that aren’t Google Apps subscribers you can absolutely set up Google Cloud print in an ad-hoc fashion and allow users to connect with their personal Google (Gmail) Accounts.
As with the Google Apps for Business/Education style setup, you’ll need to have everyone’s Google account in PaperCut, and also share the Google Cloud Print queues with the users as well.
For these sorts of ad hoc setups you can either set up and manage a Google Group (groups.google.com) for sharing, or by manually adding additional users to the specific printers from Google Cloud itself.
Like any service, there are occasionally disruptions to Google Cloud Print. If you receive reports of widespread downtime it’s a very good idea to check http://www.google.com/appsstatus to see if either Google Talk or Google Hangouts have been impacted. Google Cloud Print uses the same underpinning services as Talk and Hangouts, and they can serve as canaries for connectivity issues.
As Google notes on the Google Cloud Print site, GCP is still a product in beta. While it is not uncommon for Google Projects to be in beta for extended periods of time (like Gmail being in beta for five years) there are some things that should be considered before making GCP a key part of your printing infrastructure: