Chrome OS and Printing with LRS Solutions
Friday, November 27, 2020
by Sébastien Provost
Meet the Chromebook device
In 2011, Google introduced a completely new user workstation concept. Their Chromebook is completely cloud oriented and fully supports Google Web Applications (Google Suite, Google Drive, etc.). This new type of device was quickly adopted by the U.S. education system and other industries needing a versatile computer that is very easy to maintain.
Recently, LRS has heard from more and more enterprises interested by deploying these new devices in an effort to:
- Reduce their on-premise footprint by massively moving services and resources to the cloud.
- Manage the whole computer fleet from a single cloud web facility: Chrome Enterprise Console.
- Initiate a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) strategy: any device bought from retail becomes a fully managed enterprise device after enrolment.
Printing with Chrome OS
Along with the Chromebook device came an innovative way of printing: Google Cloud Print (GCP). This was a new concept of printing over the Internet using Google servers. The solution seemed well adapted for cloud hosted applications, but GCP never progressed beyond beta status and Google has announced plans to deprecate (no longer support) it at the end of December, 2020.
The other printing option offered by Chromebook is the more traditional approach of using operating system components fully managed by the Chrome browser. Like other aspects of the Chromebook ecosystem, configuration of printers can be done through Google Enterprise cloud infrastructure. This enables an administrator to define printers companywide and for users to easily find and deploy printers on their Chromebooks.
This is where the story of collaboration between Google and LRS begins; the context of a Google Cloud Print replacement. Customers who need an option to do Google enterprise printing in a multi-platform and multi-application printing environment can leverage the proven infrastructure that LRS customers have enjoyed for decades.
Chrome OS & printing with LRS
When the end-of-life announcement was made, LRS and Google teams started working on testing and integrating our products to offer customers the best of both worlds. This work covered the following areas:
Secure printing / pull printing: Google developed a new option to securely provide print files and attributes to the LRS server. This allowed the LRS platform to safely deliver print jobs from the Chromebook world (where security relies on Google accounts) to the traditional professional print world where security relies on separate LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory services. The LRS solution allows both the user’s Google and AD credentials to be used at the same time.
Audit and reporting: Thanks to the information provided by the new Chrome OS options, the LRS agent deployed on the printer facilitates accurate, page-level tracing of print activity. This enables a unique aggregation of functional and technical information for Chromebook and non-Chromebook printing activity.
Extensive enterprise integration: This collaboration also allowed us to test Chromebooks with many of the powerful features offered by the LRS output management platform. For example, users can:
- Print with post-processing on the fly (force duplex, add watermark or stamping, force a special output tray, etc...)
- Scan from multi-function printers to a user’s Google Drive
- Print from VDI hosted user sessions (integration with Citrix products)
- Print from Enterprise applications including SAP and other back-end systems
This successful campaign of integration and testing has allowed us to demonstrate the ability of Google and LRS products to work together. It also showed the synergy between the LRS solution and existing Google Enterprise functions, yielding the benefits described in their recent Blog post.
LRS is now referenced in the Chrome Enterprise Recommended Program and can be found on the Google “Migrate from Cloud Print” page. LRS also provides a Chromebook information page entitled “Printing with Google Chromebooks and LRS Enterprise Output Management,” which can be found here.
Together, LRS and Google are working to make desktop computing easier for users and administrators – one Chromebook and one printer at a time.