back to article After 10 years, Google Cloud Print will finally be out of beta... straight into ad giant's graveyard

Google has announced plans to close down its Cloud Print service over the coming year. The Mountain View goliath today told punters that, effective January 1, 2021, they will no longer be able to use the service to remotely print documents. Netizens are advised to spend the next 12 months finding and setting up a different way …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that big of a loss

    Wireless printer configuration has gotten much, much easier since this was first developed.

    Plus... Who the feck prints anything anymore????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not that big of a loss

      Anyone who flies with Ryanair?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Not that big of a loss

        Anyone who flies with Ryanair?

        On my last flight, I got to the airport and past the first boarding pass check with my phone, but the battery died just before boarding. Always pays to have a backup and a sheet of paper doesn't make much impact on your hand luggage allowance.

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Not that big of a loss

          a sheet of paper doesn't make much impact on your hand luggage allowance

          it probably will by next week now you've said it out loud

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not that big of a loss

          did you have an iphone that was 100% when you left home? LOL

        3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Not that big of a loss

          I hate people who try and scan their phone, oh yes let me get my phone out of my pocket, oh wait my screen is locked, oh wait I have the setting to make the screen dim if its flipped over, oh the app crashed, GAH WHY DO I ALWAYS PICK THE DAMN QUEUE WITH PEOPLE USING THEIR STUPID MOBILE AS THE BOARDING CARD!

          Always try and be one of the last on to.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Not that big of a loss

            "Always try and be one of the last on to."

            I never use the phone for this because I hate it so much when other people do. But I always try to be the last one boarding anyway. In terms of wait times, it doesn't matter if you're at the front or end of the line -- the plane isn't leaving until boarding is completed anyway -- and it's so much nicer to spend that time sitting in the airport lobby rather than on the plane.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Not that big of a loss

              Yes, I never use my phone for this either. Even when people have their phone unlocked and the bar code on the screen, it often (in my experience) takes several tries to get it to scan, while the paper boarding passes generally scan on the first try. It's just obnoxious.

              If I'm in an aisle seat I'll usually wait until the end of the line, or close to it. If I'm in a middle or window I'll board with my group in the hope of not having to make someone else get up to let me by. (I try to never have carry-on luggage that needs to go overhead, because I'll be damned if I'll let the airlines con me into fighting for overhead space. So I don't need to rush on for that.)

            2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              Re: Not that big of a loss

              Yup, I always forget other people will be in the shops until they hear the announcement for their plane, so end up being on in the middle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not that big of a loss

      "Plus... Who the feck prints anything anymore????"

      I get eye strain when reading long documents on LCD screens - I don't get this when reading on paper (or e-ink screens). Sometimes it's nice to print things as aide-memoirs - sometimes the environment they're going into isn't condusive to having electronic devices, and sometimes it's good just to have a folder of stuff to refer to (it's easier to leaf through paper than electronic files, I find). Also, whole branches of officialdom and related services want printed documents, rather than e-mails ...

    3. trolleybus

      Re: Not that big of a loss

      The people who come to the library I volunteered in, for a start. They walk in with their phones, join the free wifi then use Cloud Print to print their boarding pass, job application or whatever.

    4. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Not that big of a loss

      "Plus... Who the feck prints anything anymore????"

      If you saw the amount of print cartridges and toner I have to order at work, then you would ask that question...

    5. dmacleo

      Re: Not that big of a loss

      try following a wiring schematic and circuit logic layout when diagnosing a vehicle with a battery drain in the field and you'll see why paper much better than a small screen.

      especially when talking to someone (you know...using the phone as a phone....) elsewhere as they follow the diagrams with you. hard to talk on the phone and scroll through a 50 page file at the same time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not that big of a loss

        This. A thousand times this.

        Try doing markups on a 65 sheet drawing set that gets literally passed around the entire shop floor, with anything but paper.

        Red pen blue pen green pen black, give me that lovely paper back.

    6. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Not that big of a loss

      "Who the feck prints anything anymore?"

      I have to print things once or twice a month. It's not worth the bother of having my own printer for this, though, so I just use a copy shop to do it.

      Back when I did need a printer, I just ran my own print server, which I could access via my VPN from the internet. Google's print service never offered me anything that I didn't already have. But I confess that I'm abnormal.

  2. Tim99 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    It's what they do

    Why do people expect "free" stuff from Google to have a long life? They have a history of "trying it out" as a beta product and then pulling it when it doesn't produce a sufficient income stream (or no longer allows them to link enough people to the punter).

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: It's what they do

      Generally they seem to discontinue these services when they feel they've scooped enough data from them. They're just harvesting exercises.

      Personally, I'm just as glad they're killing Google Cloud Print; it will be one fewer thing to go in and disable every time my phone updates.

    2. hellwig

      Re: It's what they do

      I bought a home printer that has built-in Google cloud print support. It's getting "locked into" these free services that sucks.

      But it seems like I'm the only one who ever used Google cloud print? Who doesn't love printing from their phone (where I check my email most often) without having to fire-up the old PC?

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    But just because Google is killing the service next year it doesn't mean work has stopped altogether. Before it's shut down, Google will roll out support for external CUPS print servers, including an authentication policy to configure connections to external CUPS print servers, as well as APIs for third parties to access print job metadata, submit print jobs, and add printer management capabilities.

    Why spend resources on a dead project? It's not as if there aren't other Google projects that need a bit of help right now (*cough* Stadia *cough*).

    1. Chris 125

      other Google projects that need a bit of help right now (*cough* Stadia *cough*).

      Are you suggesting Stadia is taking over the print servers to send each frame of the game you're playing to your printer? :D

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "*cough* Stadia *cough*"

      Probably aready making its way to the great code heap in the sky.

    3. Irongut

      Speaking of Stadia and dead products... looking forward to the lamentations and gnashing of teeth when they cancel Stadia and all the customers suckers lose access to the games they paid full price plus a subscription fee to borrow.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just when I had something vaguely resembling a use case…

    Good thing I never looked too deep into it, but having the printer at my parents' place spit out next week's meals-on-wheels menu with as few things they could forget or disable about it as possible would have been nice.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Just when I had something vaguely resembling a use case…

      Bit complex for Joe Public to set up, but with a networked printer and a half-decent router it shouldn't be impossible to enable port forwarding and connect directly to the printer over t'interwebs. I went one step further and have a LAN-LAN VPN between me and the parents, but it's the same principle I think?

      M.

    2. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Just when I had something vaguely resembling a use case…

      Most WiFi enabled printers now have over the interweb printing, with HP you get an email address to send documents that it spits out at the relevant printer, Epson and Canon have something similar

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Just when I had something vaguely resembling a use case…

        >Most WiFi enabled printers now have over the interweb printing...

        Okay for the one off, now try and configure several printers distributed over several sites serving say 30 users...

        Google Cloud print will be missed, but there are other on-the-go cloud print services.

        Query: is the Google Cloud Print source code open source, as given the amount of third-party investment , there would seem to be an opportunity for someone to put up a fully compatible cloud hub and charge a subscription - whilst the revenues probably wont' be in the stratosphere, I'm sure they will be sufficient to keep a small business going.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Just when I had something vaguely resembling a use case…

        Most WiFi enabled printers now have over the interweb printing, with HP you get an email address to send documents that it spits out at the relevant printer, Epson and Canon have something similar

        And as soon as I first heard of that functionality, I was expecting someone to hack the HP server to harvest all those email addresses for spamming purposes (kind of like junk-faxes used to be).

  5. cb7

    Oh no

    Remote workers at small logistics companies for example have to print waybills etc remotely from their central system.

    Windows Remote Desktop sucks for remote printing.

    Google Cloud Print worked flawlessly, even with older non cloud ready printers. And for free.

    Right now I'm at a loss as to what to migrate to.

    I know GoToMyPC works, but it ain't free. And they keep putting their prices up.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Oh no

      As a complete noob on this kind of thing. Can a little server/laptop/solution be setup for email to print? Then just email the account, and it prints the document?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Oh no

        an e-mail based solution is possible to be abused by spammers. just sayin'.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Oh no

          It wouldn't be hard to require a password to be present in the email. If the password is wrong or absent, then the print job doesn't go.

        2. sal II

          Re: Oh no

          Not really if restricted to only print from e-mails from the company domain(s)

      2. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Oh no

        [ As a complete noob on this kind of thing. Can a little server/laptop/solution be setup for email to print? Then just email the account, and it prints the document?

        Yes, absolutely. A server can be set up to handle printing.

        Most of the world is moving away from having on-site email servers.

        And many if not most email-enabled printers can't handle the authentication now required for 'secure' email using gmail, so that's also not going to work for a lot of the users.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Oh no

      If you don't want to use HP Cloud Print or something or the printer is too old:

      Raspberry Pi Print Server: Setup a Network Printer

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Oh no

        always on VPN fixes remote printing easily enough.

        1. cb7

          Re: Oh no

          Any recommended VPNs? I tried the Draytek built in one with Windows 10's built in IPSEC support but it kept dropping out. Admittedly that may be down to the flaky BT broadband, but remote users prefer not to have to reconnect the VPN umpteen times a day.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Oh no

      VNC viewer, maybe? It's been around for EVAR. And it's still supported, last i checked.

      I use VNC servers on headless Linux boxen sometimes. Tiger VNC is probably the easiest to set up.

      You should probably NOT expose VNC's port to the outside world as-is, though. Instead you should use a VPN or ssh tunnel to access it from teh intarwebs.

      (but yeah that's not as convenient as using some monolithic 'google print' thing or remote PC service)

      /me points out that, with a little configguring, you can easily set up an Xorg desktop to do these things. you can even run X11 applications remotely though performance across 'teh intarwebs' is a bit pathetic sometimes. Still POSSIBLE though, as I've done this before, mostly for the lulz. Through ssh tunnels, of course.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Oh no

      Windows Remote Desktop sucks for remote printing

      Why would anyone use RDP for printing?

      I mean, SMB sucks too - axiomatically - but it does remote printing, and has since, what, the late 1980s?1 And it's built into every version of Windows.

      If you're going to do Windows-to-Windows remote printing, SMB printer sharing is by far the simplest solution.

      You can also do it with non-Windows clients and servers using Samba. Of course, if you have a pure-UNIXy environment, lpd or CUPS would probably make more sense.

      (Ah, lpd. I remember when that was the new kid. Hell, it wasn't even standardized until RFC 1179 in 1990!)

      1That would be LAN Manager 1.x. IBM actually introduced SMB in '83, but I don't remember if it supported printer sharing for those first few years. And it turns out the oldest version of the SMB spec I have to hand is relatively recent; it's revision 6.0, from 1996.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh no

      >Google Cloud Print worked flawlessly, even with older non cloud ready printers. And for free.

      About that free thing, you do know that there's always a price for something even if it's free.

    6. Michael Kean

      Re: Oh no

      AnyDesk has remote printing options, although I'm not sure how useful that would be.

      I'm currently using a paid addon for Microsoft Outlook which auto-prints emails sent to a specific address for our community radio station. That email address isn't publicised anywhere. We have the HP E-print option too, but it doesn't handle image attachments nicely compared to the outlook one, and I often email Facebook screenshots to it. (Community announcements etc.)

  6. pmsrodrigues

    Tested beginning of this year Google Cloud Print to be able to print from Android tablets running our hospital management system. Installed the server part, the printer drivers, everything by the book. Didn't work well. Issues with not showing the proper paper sizes, general unreliability of the service, and all that jazz. Reported it as an issue on their github page, but their developers were silent.Others reported the same issues, or even worse. It quickly became obvious we were milking a dead cow. At least it's official now.

    /Pedro

  7. D@v3

    Printing from Android tablets

    I guess we will have to find another way to do that, perhaps using the inbuilt printing services.....

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Printing from Android tablets

      Is it possible to get AirPrint to work on Android? It works really well, and it seems stupid to have two different standards for wireless printing.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Printing from Android tablets

        Airprint is a proprietary technology belonging to Apple, so unlikely.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Printing from Android tablets

          wow, downvotes for telling the truth. Thanks!

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Printing from Android tablets

        Android is going to support WiFI direct printing. You can also download plug-ins for your printers brand, which could improve (hopefully...) printing or add more features.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Printing from Android tablets

          But the nice thing about AirPrint is that you don't need drivers. If you are on the same LAN as the printer, it will show up, and you can print to it.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Printing from Android tablets

            AFAIK since version 8 Android can print without drivers to Mopria certified printers:

            https://mopria.org/print-from-android

            WiFi Direct is supported only from 9 onward.

            You may need to enable it from Connections under Options, there should be a sub-menu advanced (or others) network settings, and inside it a print sub menu.

            Mopria is a business alliance among major scanner/printer vendors to develop a standard to scan/print without installing specific drivers. It's something alike a non-Apple controlled version of AirPrint, I guess.

            It is true, that unlike Cloud Print, you can print only on supported printers.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "WiFi Direct is supported only from 9 onward."

              It looks you can get it on Android 8 too installing the Mopria Print Service plug-in

          2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

            Re: Printing from Android tablets

            > If you are on the same LAN as the printer, it will show up, and you can print to it.

            Unless you bought an ethernet switch that has a slightly wrong set of address ranges for multicast built in, so the mDNS broadcasts disappear. Took me ridiculously long to debug that. No firmware update for the switch - they did fix it, but the hardware had changed internally (same model number!) and the fixed firmware wouldn’t run on my device.

      3. David Austin

        Re: Printing from Android tablets

        Credit where credit's due: Airprint nails LAN mobile printing. Quick, simple... and nowhere near common knowledge. I've blown several people's minds by showing them they had an airprint capable printer, and throwing a document out from their iPad.

        Android printing is better nowerdays, but still requires plugin apps and a lot more faff.

        Universal standard would be nice, but I won't hold my breath.

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Printing from Android tablets

        >Is it possible to get AirPrint to work on Android?

        Yes and for free!

        https://mopria.org/print-from-android

        App works happily on Android 5+

        In general if the printer supports AirPrint then Mopria will be able to print to it.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Printing from Android tablets

      You can install an app like PrinterShare instead.

      It's just GCP that's going, Android print services are still staying (hopefully).

  8. Liam Proven

    You missed the reason *why*

    Word is, Cloud Print sets up the print jobs using XMPP calls -- which go through the old Jabber servers on talk.google.com. So when they shut down Hangouts, then Cloud Print goes with it.

    1. Stryker007

      Re: You missed the reason *why*

      wait... google is shutting down hangouts?????

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: You missed the reason *why*

        Yes, Google began shutting down hangouts last October -- they're doing this in stages, and I think that their plan is that it will be completely shut down by the end of 2020. They're migrating Hangouts users to Hangouts Chat and Meet.

    2. hellwig
      Paris Hilton

      Re: You missed the reason *why*

      What do I do with the Hangouts app I can't uninstall off my old phones? This is terrible. And I was THIS CLOSE to giving it a try. Oh well.

  9. Timo

    Of course they'd kill it

    It seems that they just made some improvements and it's working great. Time to end it.

    I've been using it at home to put an old "classic" printer online, I can print to it from anywhere, and the assorted family machines of tablets and laptops just work. I use it to send myself reminders so when I get home there are receipts and notices waiting on the printer. Dammit.

  10. Is It Me Bronze badge

    I have found it useful to be able to print to my home printer from Chrome on my work PC and from my phone anywhere.

    This is a shame as it can be genuinely useful

    1. hellwig

      I check most of my email on my phone, so when I get an attachment I need to print out, Google cloud print was perfect for that. My printer has built-in support, so I didn't even need to leave a PC on.

      I will miss this feature.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What ?

    "The service was particularly useful for offices, small businesses, and schools, as it provided an easy way to print without faffing around too much with configurations and setup."

    Oh really ? I never found any valid use case for Cloud printing ... Whenever I need to print something, I am near the printer ...

  12. FBee
    Headmaster

    NO-O-O-O-O Think about the Children's...Chromebooks in Classrooms...

    In the US, at least, where many school districts L-O-V-E cheap-as-dirt Chromebooks, kids need to print their homework, eh?

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: NO-O-O-O-O Think about the Children's...Chromebooks in Classrooms...

      In the US, at least, where many school districts L-O-V-E cheap-as-dirt Chromebooks, kids need to print their homework, eh?

      I know at our school, they discourage printing, and want to see student work online.

      Hence the *new* (and probably more believable) excuse, "The internet ate my homework".

  13. NanoMeter

    Nothing run by Google will last more than a few years

    For most part it lasts 2-3 years.

    The last thing they will bury will be their search engine.

  14. steviebuk Silver badge

    The problems with cloud

    "We've decided not enough of you use our service so we're canning it. Fuck you that do." At least with my copy of A-Train from the 90s (loved, loved, loved that game) I can still run it in DosBox as it doesn't require any bullshit cloud services or server.

    Its why Google Stadia is such a shit idea. Once the service becomes old hat, you'll loose all those games. At least I can still hook my old Mega Drive up and play those old 90s classics and the Mega CD

  15. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Killing The Competition

    The trouble with Google abandoning their [ once gloriously hailed ] projects every now and then * is that they may have prevented better things that would have lasted.

    I'm not in the least suggesting Google is as vile as Microsoft sought to be, but it reeks of the old concept of 'Vaporware', which meant wherever there was competition or a new idea, especially by small entities, Microsoft would announce their own version to kill the buzz and then not bring it to permanent fruition.

    In article but deserves to be repeated:

    https://killedbygoogle.com/

    1. Snowy Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Killing The Competition

      May be a nice website but as it needs scripts to display anything I see nothing on it :/

  16. Zarno

    Well cashews.

    One of the few things I use regularly, and allows me to print things to my grandparents when their computer is off.

    Guess I need to see of I can set something up that uses HP E-print as easily...

  17. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Straight from beta to obsolete

    Yep, it's Google.

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