Printing has always been a thorn in the side of the Chromebook Movement. In order to achieve the amount of security and speed that Chromebooks boast, sacrifices needed to be made. One such sacrifice is the ability to install software/drivers. This means that you can’t print from a Chromebook using the traditional method, because traditionally printing requires installing the printer’s drivers onto your computer so that they can communicate.
So how does one print from a Chromebook? The answer is, Google Cloud Print, a cloud based printing solution from Google. GCP is not only for Chromebooks, and in fact was introduced before Chromebooks existed. It allows you to print to your printer from any device, anywhere in the world, so long as you have an internet connection.
With GCP, your computer sends the print job to Google’s server, and then Google sends the job to your printer. Rather than sending it directly from your computer to your printer like you’re used to. (For more information about Google Cloud Print, checkout www.chromebook.guide)
This is a neat service, as it allows you to easily print from any device, from anywhere. You can be at work, or on the road, and print something from your phone or work computer, and it’ll be waiting for you when you get home. You can easily share your printer with other people who can then print to your printer, essentially turning your printer into a free fax machine.
As great as Google Cloud Print is, it can sometimes be a pain to setup. This is because printer manufacturers haven’t really taken the technology seriously. Printers either don’t natively support GCP, or they do but setup is confusing and documentation is…lacking. Many people (Usually owners of Canon printers) often complain about their printer showing as “offline” even tho it’s plugged in, and connected to the internet.
The good news is, there is one printer manufacturer out there who is taking the issue of printing from a Chromebook seriously. This is probably because they’re one of the largest manufacturers of Chromebooks themselves. That manufacturer is Hewlett Packard.
HP has developed a simple, and free Chrome app called HP Print for Chrome, that allows you to print from your Chromebook (or any computer with Chrome installed) to your printer directly. No need for GCP. Your Chromebook connects to your printer via your homes WiFi network.
In the beginning, I hesitated to recommend the app because early reviews were pretty hit and miss. But I’ve since decided that there’s no reason not to recommend it. Reviews are getting better (3.5 stars as of this writing) and there’s no risk involved. Add the app, and try printing. If it doesn’t work, then use Google Cloud Print. If it does work, rejoice!
So if you own an HP printer, and a Chromebook, I think you better head on over to the Chrome Web Store and download the app. Might make your life a little easier.
It should be noted that if you do use this app, you can still use Google Cloud Print and take advantage of the ability to print from anywhere on any device (like your phone), and share your printer with others. But using the HP Print for Chrome app might just make printing from home quicker and easier.
If you have an HP printer, try the app out and let us know how it goes!