Google Cloud Print is a handy feature that can be found in Android and Chrome OS that allows you to quickly and easily print to printers that are configured and enabled to leverage the cloud-based printing solution. The vast majority of printers on the market today will work with Cloud Print but, if you haven’t invited users to use your printers at home or in your small office, they won’t see them as a printing option.
This seems to be the most common problem I find for users who are trying to get a printer configured to work with their Chromebook or phone.
This tutorial is aimed at those who have Android, Chrome OS and a compatible Google Cloud Print printer at their home or small office. Most enterprise Android & Chrome OS users will not have to worry about this as printers are managed through your G Suite administrator.
What is Google Cloud Print and How Do You Add a Printer?
Let me first explain what Google Cloud Print is for those who may be new to it. Cloud Print is a service that is free from Google that allows you to print to a printer from anywhere. Leveraging Google Cloud, the service queues up print jobs from web enabled devices in the cloud then sends them to your printer. It is, in my opinion, brilliant. It solves so many challenges with getting printers configured on home networks and it works flawlessly. You can get an overview of it here.
In order to use Cloud Print, you have to enable a compatible printer. Google has a comprehensive list of printers that are compatible and generally speaking, if your printer is from the last couple of years, you should be good-to-go. Still, check this list to make sure it is compatible. If it is not compatible (or cloud ready), there is a manual process that you can go through to add it.
Assuming your printer is compatible, you will need to add it to your Google Cloud Print service. This is tied, like everything, to your Google ID (usually your Gmail account). Once you add the printer to your network, go to chrome://devices on your Chromebook or Chrome browser. On this page, in the New Printer section, you should see the new printer on your network. Click on the Add button and it will be added to your account. There may be some registration processes required for some printer models so be aware. In my case, I have an HP Office Jet Pro 8620 and it just automatically added to my account.
Sharing Your Google Cloud Print Printer
Now that you have the printer added to your Cloud Print account, you are the manager of it. That means you can control the access to the printer so if you have others in your house or small office that want to leverage the printer from Google Cloud Print, you have to invite them to use it.
To do this, click on the Manage button for the printer you want to share in your Google Cloud Print page. You’ll be brought to the details page of your printer and at the top, you will see a Share button. Click it and you’ll be brought to the sharing page.
There are two ways you can share a printer in Cloud Print. You can either make it available to anyone with a link to that printer or you can make it invitation only. Which one you want to do is up to you but personally, I keep mine private and do invite only.
Assuming you want to do Invite only, on the Share page, you will see a dialog box at the bottom where you can add users by email address. These addresses have to be either associated with a Gmail address or a G Suite account. Once you enter in the email address of the contact, you can select if they can manage the printer or simply print to it. Once you are done, tap Share and they will get an email inviting them to use the printer. In order for others to use your printer, they must accept the invitation.
Printing to Google Cloud Print Printers
Printing to a Cloud Print printer is exactly the same as it would be for a local printer when you are in your Chrome browser, Android or Chrome OS device. In Chrome, tap CTRL+P to open up the print queue. Next, go to the Change button on the printer list. This will open up a dialog box where you will see Google Cloud Print enabled printers. Select the printer that you just shared and then click Print. Your print job will be sent to the Google Cloud Print service and will print to the printer a few moments later.
The handy part of this service is that you do not have to be in the same room, building or even country as the printer. I’ve had situations where I needed to get something printed for my wife while I was out of the country. I’m able to get that printed via the service and it is waiting for her on the printer the next morning.
On Android, printing is done in a similar way. If you are in an app, like Gmail, which has the ability to print, you can choose that option then select your Cloud Print enabled printer from the list.
Printing to Google Cloud Print enabled printers is easy and they are easy to share with others. All you need is their Gmail address and they can leverage your printer for their printing needs.