We’re starting to field more and more questions about Google Cloud Print as the technology is adopted by more and more organizations. Here is a collection of the most often asked questions:
Q What is Google Cloud Print (GCP)?
Google Cloud Print (GCP) is a web based cloud service that manages the delivery of print jobs from an application to a printer. In overly simple terms, you could think of it as a big print server in the sky! GCP is a technology built and designed for an environment where devices are no longer exclusively connected to a local private network, but now roam. GCP assists with:
- Printer discovery - allowing applications/users to find available/shared printers.
- Application print services - GCP makes services available to applications (mobile, desktop or web) so they can offer printing.
- Print job delivery - GCP acts as a print queue and connects with printer hardware, print servers, or PaperCut, to arrange delivery of print jobs.
- Printer authentication management - GCP handles print authentication and ensures only approved users can print to specific printers.
Also check out the Google Cloud Print website for more of a general overview.
Q How does Google Cloud Print fit within an Enterprise?
Traditionally enterprise print management has been facilitated via Windows Print Servers. The increased popularity of mobile devices and other non-windows systems (e.g. Chrome Books) have created a new set of challenges for printing. This is where technology like Google Cloud Print have come in. GCP helps bridge the gap across to these devices. Like other consumer-lead technologies, enterprise applications often follow second as the technology matures. One of the current challenges is how to manage a large and diverse set of existing devices and users under GCP. This is where 3rd party solutions like PaperCut come in. For more information, see the PaperCut Google Cloud Print Tour.
Q How do I share my server print queues to Google Cloud Print?
Google makes some tools available within the Chrome web browser to share print queues and this is a good solution for desktop users. PaperCut, being a print server resident application, is able to automatically share existing enterprise print queues to Google Cloud Print.
Q Does PaperCut require a “Google Cloud Print ready” printer?
No. As long as the device has drivers for your PaperCut print server OS, it can be published in Google Cloud Print.
Q How do I limit/control printing via Google Cloud Print?
This is where PaperCut comes in. PaperCut works by sitting between your physical print devices and the cloud. It vets, monitors and records all printing before it’s delivered to the printer. This allows PaperCut to apply rules and conditions to the user’s print job. Typical controls include:
- Applying or enforcing a print quota
- Controlling the use of color or duplex
- Enforcing print policies such as discouraging email printing or excessive use of color.
Q How do my users allocate their printing costs via Google Cloud Print to a department/faculty account?
Users access PaperCut’s functionality through a web client (
http://my-papercut-server:9191/client ). Services available include:
- allocating print costs to shared accounts (e.g. faculty , department, or cost centers)
- viewing job status (e.g. was it denied because the user was low on credit/funds?)
Q Can you outline some tips for managing a large number of printers/users in Google Cloud Print?
This is one of the largest differences between a consumer application like GCP and applications in Enterprise (business, schools, colleges, etc.) networks. You’ve already probably solved most of these management challenges in your existing environment. The key with adopting GCP is to leverage your infrastructure and the lessons already learned. The article 5 Top Tips when using Google Cloud Print in Education is a good place to start to get a feel for GCP roll-out.
Q How do I stop users from accidentally printing from home?!
Google Cloud Print makes printing easy… sometimes too easy! Because it’s cloud based, you can print from anywhere, even when you’re not on-sight to collect your job. This is a waste of paper and also potentially a security or privacy issue. The best way to address this is to implement PaperCut’s hold release queues - using secure mobile print release.
Q What applications and operating systems can print via PaperCut’s Google Cloud Print solution?
As a new rapidly evolving technology, GCP is changing by the month. At the time of writing, PaperCut has been tested with the following environments:
- Android Mobiles and Android Tablets - KitKat has Google Cloud Print as a standard in-built native capability.
- Selected iOS Applications - Google applications such as Drive, Gmail, Chrome now include GCP as a core feature.
- Chrome Books - Like Android, Chrome OS has in-built native GCP capabilities.
Q I use a proxy in my network, will GCP work through this?
Our GCP functionality historically required a direct connection through to the Google Cloud Print infrastructure provided by Google. This means that if you have a “transparent” proxy, e.g. your router/firewall redirects TCP ports 80 / 443 to a proxy server, then this should work without further configuration. If you’re having GCP issues despite using a “transparent” proxy, you may also need to setup an exception or whitelisting in your firewall or proxy for the relevant Google servers. The ports which may need to be opened are listed in detail in the Firewall Configuration - Ports Used by PaperCut NG and PaperCut MF Knowledge Base article, under the Google Cloud Print heading.
Prior to version 17.3, proxies that were not inline or transparent, or required a username and password through either forms or SSO-based authentication, were not supported. For instructions to configure version 17.3 or later of PaperCut NG or PaperCut MF to use such a proxy server, please check the following section of the User Manual.
Q How do I troubleshoot GCP issues?
Take a look at some of the articles available online for more help!
Also See: PaperCut Google Cloud Print Tour
Categories: Printers, Google Cloud Print Articles
Keywords: GCP, Android, google printer hosting, spooler service, windows queue, chromebook, byod