There two ways to print from a Chromebook:
1. The first way is the easiest, but is only available to HP printer owners. If you own an HP printer, add this Chrome app from HP to your Chromebook, and you should be able to print to your printer wirelessly, or via USB.
2. HP so far is the only printer manufacturer to develop such a printing app. This means that if you don’t own an HP printer, you will need to utilize Google’s cloud printing service, called Google Cloud Print.
Before we get started, it’s important to understand, that just because your printer says it is a “Wireless Printer” does not mean that it is Google Cloud Print capable. Google Cloud Print is a specific wireless solution that a printer manufacturer must choose to support. Look for the Google Cloud Print logo on the box. If your printer has this logo on the box, it is a Google Cloud Print Ready printer. If it does not have this logo, it does not support Google Cloud Print and is known as a “Classic” printer (these can still be set up to use Google Cloud Print. More on that later).
Pretty much every major Printer manufacturer has a few Google Cloud Print ready models. HP, Samsung, Epson, Brother, Canon, Kodak, all these manufacturers have Google Cloud Print ready printers available.
Let’s talk a little bit about how Google Cloud Print works, then we’ll talk about setup:
Google Cloud Print works basically the same way, whether you have a Google Cloud Print ready printer, or a classic printer. After we take a quick look at how the printing process works, I’ll point you towards some official resources from specific manufacturers that will show you how to get your Chromebook and printer setup to print.
How does printing from a Chromebook with a Google Cloud Print ready printer work?:
By far the best method for printing from your Chromebook is using a Google Cloud Print ready printer. If your printer is a Google Cloud Print ready printer, (click here for a list of some known GCP ready printers) there are 3 parties involved: your Chromebook, Google’s servers, and your printer. When you print a document, your Chromebook sends the print job to Google’s Cloud Print servers, and then Google sends the print job to your printer. You can see this is a little different from the typical method of printing, where the computer sends the print job directly to the printer.
If your printer is turned off, or not connected to the internet, the print job will remain in your Google Cloud Print queue until the printer comes back online, then it will print automatically.
How does printing from a Chromebook with a Classic printer work?:
If you have a Classic printer, you can still print to it from your Chromebook using Google Cloud Print. But since your printer does not support Google Cloud Print, and is therefore unable to connect to Google’s Cloud Print server on its own, you will need another computer that can connect to Google’s Cloud Print servers on your printer’s behalf.
If your printer is not a Google Cloud Print ready printer, (classic printer) there are 4 parties involved when printing: your Chromebook, Google’s servers, a Windows PC or Mac, and your printer. The Windows/Mac machine is communicating with Google’s Cloud Print servers on your printer’s behalf, since your printer is not capable of doing it on it’s own. Your Chromebook sends the print job to Google’s Cloud Print servers, Google then sends the print job to your Windows/Mac machine, which sends it to your printer.
If your Windows/Mac machine, or your printer are offline, the print job will remain in your GCP queue until the printer/Windows/Mac machine comes back online, then it will print automatically.
Now that we know how Google Cloud Print works, let’s talk about setting up your printer.