Raspberry Pi Can Act as a Google Cloud Print Server
July 07, 2014
One major feature of Google (News - Alert)'s Chromebook is its ability to use the Google Cloud Print Server to communicate with cloud-aware printers. Some users view this feature as a leap forward in printing technology. Other, though, see it as a problem that could force them to purchase a new printer.
For all the naysayers in the crowd, there may be a home-built solution to their dissatisfaction. The Raspberry Pi platform can act as a print server which can allow Chromebook users to print from their laptops to any standard USB printer. Gigaom provides a simple set of instructions in a recent post on its site.
First off, when first using a new Pi, users must either download the basic firmware for the device and install it from an SD card or use firmware provided on a "NOOBS" SD card -- one that comes with the firmware pre-installed. An SD card will also act as the hard drive for the Pi, and a user's Linux distribution will reside on that card as well.
Once the firmware and distribution are installed, users can continue the installation by installing the Common Unix Printing System and making sure the Linux user has permission to access printers. All of this comes as per the instructions Gigaom provides either itself or through a link to a "how to" article at How To Geek.
The final step is for users to download the Chromium browser onto the Pi and configure Google Cloud Print by using a Google-provided Python script. Settings are managed through the script or through Chromium.
This demonstration not only provides an easy way for users to create their own print servers and make use of Google Cloud Print without a cloud-aware printer; it describes the flexibility of devices within the Internet of things (IoT) and the capability of small devices to connect larger devices on their opposite ends.
The Pi is not alone in devices of its type. Many technologies are popping up that revolve around connecting units or large collections of small units. The Gigaom article points out that the Pi can act as a personal server or work as a stand-alone headless computer. Although the IoT is often viewed with a wide lens, the devices that ensure proper connectivity of that type are often small units that make broad tasks possible by providing linking functionality.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson