How to replace Google Cloud Print for your LAN-based mobile device printing needs

Google Cloud Print is no more. Jack Wallen is here to introduce you to PaperCut Mobility Print to take the place of Google's deprecated service.

Businessman analyzing investment charts and business plan with printer. Accounting,Business People Planning Strategy Analysis Office print concept,vintage color

Image: iStockphoto/Asawin_Klabma

Google Cloud Print is gone. If you're a Chromebook user without a network-ready printer, you've been left in the dark as to how you can get that mobile device sending documents  to print. What makes matters worse is that Google Cloud Print was really easy to use and even share printers with other Chromebook users.

Fortunately, there are options. You could purchase a network-ready printer and connect your Chromebook to that printer (read how in How to connect a Chromebook to a network printer) or you could opt to use one of the many Google Cloud Print replacements.

One such replacement is PaperCut Mobility Print. With this free tool you can do remote printing from your Chromebook (from your LAN or even the cloud). The company responsible for PaperCut Mobility Print does have commercial options available with expanded features, but for those just needing to enable their mobile devices for basic printing needs, Mobility Print is what you need.

Let me show you how to get this printing system up and running.

What you'll need

  • A desktop or server computer with a working printer attached

  • A Chromebook

  • For Linux, you'll need a user with sudo privileges

I'll demonstrate this process on Linux (Pop!_OS), but the software is supported on macOS and Windows as well.

How to install PaperCut Mobility Print

The first thing you must do is download and install PaperCut Mobility Print. Head over to the PaperCut downloads page and download the installer for your platform. For the Linux installation, the file is an .sh shell script. Download that file into your ~/Downloads directory and open a terminal window.

Give the file executable permission with the command:

chmod u+x pc-mobility-print-XXX.sh

Where XXX is the release number.

Before you run the script, you must create a new user, named papercut, with the command:

sudo adduser papercut

Add Papercut to the sudo user group with the command:

sudo usermod -aG sudo papercut

Change to the user with the command:

su papercut

Run the installer script with the command:

bash pc-mobility-print-XXX.sh

Where XXX is the release number.

Scroll through the license agreement and type yes to continue. When prompted, select the option you'll use for root task access (either su or sudo) (Figure A).

Figure A

papercut-sudo.jpg

Choose your root access wisely.

How to access the web-based configuration tool

With the base installation complete, open a web browser and point it to http://SERVER:9163 (where SERVER is either the IP address or hostname of the machine hosting PaperCut Mobile Print). In the resulting window, give the admin username a password and create an organization name. When finished, click Create (Figure B).

Figure B

papercutweba.jpg

The PaperCut web-based installer.

PaperCut will automatically detect your attached printer and make it available to all devices on your network that run the Papercut Mobile Print app (Figure C).

Figure C

papercutwebb.jpg

The PaperCut main interface is ready for action.

At this point, you can click the link associated for each platform to find out how to setup printing for each. For example, when using a Chromebook you install the Mobility Print app. After installation, you'll then need to select the printer on your Chromebook to use. To do that, go to print a document and click See More from the Destination drop-down. In the Destination popup, make sure to select the correct printer with Mobility Print and the Papercut icon in the right column (Figure D).

Figure D

papercutlisting.jpg

Selecting the Papercut Mobility Print-shared printer in ChromeOS.

And that's all there is to setting up PaperCut Mobility Print. This new solution does a great job of replacing Google Cloud Print. For those who need the ability to print outside their LAN, you can always enable cloud print for free from within the PaperCut Mobility Print server web-based admin tool.

Subscribe to TechRepublic's How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.

Also see

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....