Google starts the countdown clock on Cloud Print, gives users a year to find an alternative

Another one bites the dust.

Credit: Google

In a year that’s seen the death of Inbox, Google+, and the goo.gl URL shortener, not to mention the loss of free original quality photo storage with every Pixel phone purchase, Google isn’t putting its knives away just yet. Next to go is Google Cloud Print.

Cloud Print has been around since 2010, but despite a fancy website and deep Android and Chrome OS integration, it never actually made it out of beta. And now it never will. Google has quietly announced that users have until December 31, 2020, to enjoy Cloud Print. When the calendar changes to 2021, “devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print.”

That’s 12 months away, so it’s giving users lots of time to find something new, but it’s unlikely that they’ll find anything as easy and effortless as Cloud Print. When you connected a Wi-Fi printer to your Google Account, you’re able to print from anywhere regardless of your location. It was especially useful in the early days of Chrome OS, when it was nearly impossible to connect a printer any other way.

However, with native print management on Chromebooks, Google feels like it’s time to put Cloud Print out to pasture. In a support document, it outlines several features that are (or will be) available in Chrome OS, including a few that are still in development:

  • Support for external CUPS print servers, including authentication
  • Policy to configure connections to external CUPS print servers 
  • APIs for third-parties to access print job metadata, submit print jobs and printer management capabilities

It’s unclear if Google plans on building any of these features into Android 11. So take this as your warning to find a different workflow for your Wi-Fi printing needs as well as another reasons to not depend on Google services.

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Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
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