As we previously blogged, Thinker is experimenting with Chromebooks, which are streamlined laptops built around the Chrome OS. We’ve discovered how much of our work can be done from just within a browser. However, one common hurdle is difficult to overcome : How can I print my document? Google answers this with “Google Cloud Print”.
Google Cloud Print takes care of the printer connection details. This only works if your printer is “Google Cloud Print” compatible. What about an existing printer?
The quick answer is to share your printer using another computer, which is reasonably easy to setup although we ran into a problem with this. One of our staff has a mac setup as the Cloud Print “Server” at their home. This then serves the printer to two Chromebooks. However, being a macbook, it gets packed up and brought to the office everyday – which means our Chromebook users have to wait until the mac returns home before they receive their printouts. Not an ideal or harmonious solution!
Google does offer a Cloud Print server, which runs on Windows, but our experience shows that this becomes deregistered on a regular basis switching all the printers offline and, again, requires a computer to be on every day. We thought we should come up with a solution!
We discovered a nice little linux utility called cloudprint.py, which we got working on a Raspberry pi mini computer. Additionally, it works without having to use a graphical front end, so less resources are needed on the Pi. However, it’s still a little tricky to setup – once setup though – it works! We are about to deploy these to all our Chromebook sites. If you’re interested in getting printing working, we recommend you look into cloudprint.py from https://github.com/armooo/cloudprint.