Google Cloud Print is the next Google service to go away. After a decade in beta, Google announced Cloud Print “will no longer be supported” after 2020. Google says it’s time to migrate away from Cloud Print.
Google’s cloud printing service lets you print from anywhere—even over the internet. When you printed to a Cloud Print printer, the print jobs are stored in a queue in your Google account. They’re then sent to a printer connected to your account. Some printers had native Cloud Print support, but Google also made Cloud Print available in Google Chrome. You could install Google Chrome on a PC, enable Cloud Print in its settings, and then print to a printer connected to that PC over the internet.
Cloud Print was once crucial for Google because Chromebooks didn’t have native printing support—they needed Cloud Print to print. Times have changed, and Chrome OS now has native printing support. Google Cloud Print is no longer crucial for Chrome OS. It seems it’s no longer crucial for Google as a company, either.
This announcement was buried in a Google support document:
Cloud Print, Google’s cloud-based printing solution that has been in beta since 2010, will no longer be supported as of December 31, 2020. Beginning January 1, 2021, devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print. We recommend that over the next year, you identify an alternative solution and execute a migration strategy.
Google’s alternative recommendations here are intended for enterprise users with Chrome OS devices. Administrators can use Chrome Enterprise‘s admin console to manage thousands of printers in an organization. Administrators will also be able to configure external CUPS print servers, so organizations that need to route print jobs from Chromebooks have options.
But what about devices that aren’t Chromebooks? Google’s recommendations aren’t much help:
For environments besides Chrome OS, or in multi-OS scenarios, we encourage you to use the respective platform’s native printing infrastructure and/or partner with a print solutions provider.
For home users, Google provides no real recommendations here. If you use Google Cloud Print to print over the internet—well, maybe you’ll be able to find a replacement in the next year. For printing within your home, there’s a good chance your Cloud Print-enabled printer can function as a standard network printer.
Either way, both organizations and home users have another year to go. Cloud Print is sticking around until the end of 2020. Come January 1, 2021, however, Cloud Print will stop working.