Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why Does My Google Cloud Print Printer Keep Going Offline?

When we got a Chromebook for the house I had no idea what "Google cloud print" even was.  It's turned out to be more of a pain in the neck than anything else and I'd gladly go back to the old way if I could. I've never had to temporarily share a printer with my neighbor, or print something at home when I was at work, or any of the other situations it is supposed to make easier.

Worst of all, the printer regularly goes "offline".  This is the most frustrating error message in the world, because your printer is on, it is connected, it prints test sheets fine, you may even  have some real computers available that do it the old fashioned way, and those can print fine. But cloud print says it's offline and offers no suggestions for how to fix it, other than to go messing with your firewall  - something that no doubt most of the folks opting for Chromebooks know exactly how to do, right?  This became such a problem that we bought a new, "cloud print ready" printer thinking that it was our old "classic" printer's problem.  Wasn't.

Here's a solution to the problem that may work for you. When you initially register printers with the cloud print service, they are associated with a device. That device has to be online to see the printer!  I learned this the hard way when my daughter got a Chromebook and I registered it using my laptop, which only made sense because that's where I do 99% of my computer work.  The problem was that whenever I closed the laptop and went off to work?  Printer stopped working.

After figuring that out we re-registered the printers using our server (a Mac mini) which is up all the time, and the problem basically went away.

In fact, it went away so well and for so long that when my brand new printer went offline this week (and claimed it had been offline for days) I was furious.  I started the whole process all over again.

Then I remembered that over the weekend my son had friends over and one of them had accidentally unplugged the server.  Even though I'd plugged it back in I had not powered it back up.

Went downstairs, powered it up, and look at that, my printer's back online.