Over the past few days, I’ve addressed the difficult topic of Google Cloud Print’s untimely demise. We’ve already put out a guide for those who are looking to transition from it on their personal Chromebooks and another for teachers and business owners to get their students and employees switched over to standard wireless printing. While GCP is less necessary nowadays as printer manufacturers have done a better job at supporting Chrome OS, for the most part, a lot of people still use it out of desire -not necessity. With that being said, it’s a shame to see Google pull the plug on it.
Moving right along, the picture wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t also take some time to discuss Google Cloud Print alternatives as well. Some users absolutely must have a secure and convenient way to send print jobs to their home or office over the internet from locations far outside of their home Wi-Fi connection. To be thorough, I’ll first cover three GCP alternative methods of printing before I dive into the 9 services that may offer you a viable means of printing over the web. The nine alternatives we’ll cover today are considered printing partners to Google and are directly recommended by the company as a replacement for GCP – that’s why they’ve all been given the Chrome Enterprise Recommended certification, which means they’ve worked closely with Google to ensure solid and native printing experience for Chrome OS.
Wireless Printing (CUPS)
Many individuals (consumers) who are using Google Cloud Print are doing so because it was easy to set up or because someone in their family set it up for them. Regardless, this smaller subset of individuals consider GCP to be the only way that they can print from their Chromebooks and I want to say here and now that that’s not the case. While you may think you’re doing standard wireless printing from your laptop because it seems to be set up that way, you may not be. That’s okay though – most people can follow this wireless printing guide to have a document coming out of their printer in no time!
While we recognize that it may not be possible for everyone to go paperless, at least not without a large chunk of time and effort to digitize years of documents, it can be a freeing and efficient way to manage and access your data. There’s no shame in embracing the digital age, so long as you have several backups. We recommend using Google Drive’s document scanner if you just have a handful of files to digitize. It allows you to quickly capture multiple pages and stitch them into one PDF and upload them to Drive. It’s always a great idea to keep a local copy on an external hard drive or thumb drive using Google Takeout every 6 months and maybe even placing one in a weatherproof safe.
Staples, FedEx, UPS, or the local library
Whether you’re traveling (though you’re probably not at this time), or if you just have a Staples, FedEx, UPS, or library branch down the street from you, taking your documents to a public space to print them can be a great service for those who don’t have a home printer. This one probably doesn’t seem like it should have made the list, but in an effort to be thorough, we wanted to cover it. Some users may be able to use the Wi-Fi where they’re at, but their printer may have restrictions. Perhaps a school or workplace Admin hasn’t yet set up wireless printing and is dragging their feet with their end of the GCP transition. Public printers can be an option for a quick print here or there, especially if you’re under a deadline.
Directprint.io is a full-stack print driver for Chrome, Chromebooks, Windows, and macOS. It has no dependency on Cloud Printing or printer manufacturer drivers, thereby giving you a consistent print experience across all platforms. It works by replacing your built-in CUPS print system and offers loads of advanced features. For those looking for rapid deployment as GCP comes to an end in a few weeks, we would probably recommend you check this one out first!
LRS Enterprise Output Management is used by a large number of enterprise-level customers around the world and provides unrivaled management and control of print and digital documents for all platforms and applications. Native Chromebook printing using LRS® software was developed through a direct partnership with Google. LRS software allows Chromebook print jobs to be centrally managed using your Chrome Enterprise Console, printed to any type of output device or output channel, secured using pull-print and end-to-end encryption, and fully audited to ensure compliance with corporate policies. There’s also nothing to manage or install on managed Chromebooks.
uniFLOW enables users to use Chrome OS devices’ native printing system without any extensions. uniFLOW creates an optimized, secure printing experience for all Chromebook users, maximizing the benefits in enterprise and educational environments. Print jobs are stored in a user’s secure and personal printing queue until they release it. All printing and copying costs can be tracked and managed and preset budgets ensure that users and students only print what they are allowed. Integrating uniFLOW into the IT infrastructure increases document security, allocates costs to projects and departments while minimizing system maintenance. This service also tightly integrates with several other Google services!
We first heard of Papercut from our Chromie Homie, John Sowash! Papercut has a free service called Mobility Print that may be one of the most attractive and simple alternatives to Google Cloud Print for the new year! You can also watch their video on setting it up for Chromebooks.
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. Not bad for something that’s 100% free.
Plus, thanks to our innovative Cloud Print tech, Chromebook and Windows users can now print remotely and outside the network by sending print jobs over the internet (Mac support coming soon).Papercut – Mobility Print
Pharos Chrome Print is a lightweight extension that makes it easy for Chromebook users to submit print jobs into any Pharos print management solution. You can add it from the Chrome Web Store. This tool is especially useful for K-12 schools, colleges, and companies who manage their Chromebooks. It allows you to park documents in your organization’s system until you walk up to your preferred printer and use your phone or ID card to log in and release your documents. Check out this video to see a demonstration.
PrinterLogic touts itself as a highly scalable SaaS print management solution for your organization. In addition to being a Chrome Enterprise Recommended printing partner, they’re also a Google for Education partner. Eliminate print servers, and centrally manage printing with Direct IP printing. You can install their extension to easily manage printers and jobs with the service.
ezeep offers a central print management system for organizations via an intuitive web interface as well as mobile printing from Android and iOS. They’re powered by ThinPrint, a company with decades of expertise in print management and with projects of up to 250,000 users. They also wrote a blog post and a whitepaper about why they’re the best alternative to Google Cloud Print – are you allowed to say you’re the best or are other people supposed to endorse you? hrmm.
ezeep stands for “easy printing” – and our name is our mission. We’ve moved the entire printing process to the cloud so that organizations no longer have to worry about drivers, operating systems, and end devices while users just print.
Using their YSoft SAFEQ Google Chrome Print extension and a few clicks, you can migrate from Google Cloud Print with ease. As with many of the companies above, prints are sent from the Chrome browser to a backend server and then back to the extension to print locally once they’ve been authorized to be released. Ysoft’s website doesn’t do a great job at showing why they’re different or better than the rest, but they look like they can get the job done and we wanted to include them on the list since they’re one of Google’s printing partners!
Printix gives users a Single Sign-On (SSO to their service with their Google Workspace account. You can use Google Groups to deploy and control access to printers based on a user’s group membership (or you can just utilize organizational units in your Admin console).