Google Cloud Print: The future of printing explored

Published Date
21 - Apr - 2010
| Last Updated
21 - Apr - 2010
 
Google Cloud Print: The future of printing explored

When Google introduced its Chrome OS back in 2009, questions arose about its printing capabilities. Taking a few steps forward, finally Google has unveiled information about their idea of printing support over the cloud. The code and the documentation have already been made public, though the service is still under development process.

Google Cloud Print isn't just meant for Google Chrome OS, it can serve all web-connected platforms - from mobile handsets to netbooks. The goal is to enable a user to print to any printer without requiring them to install printer drivers. Since the printers sends print jobs over the internet, the printer could be anywhere in the world.

What Google envisions is a print service which allows one to register their cloud capable printer. This printer can then be used from any computer anywhere in the world. Google will of course provide their own print service "Google Cloud Print", however since the code and documentation for creating such a service is open, Google expects many more such services to spring up.

A cloud print capable app, whether it be on a desktop, mobile, netbook, or ChromeOS device will be able to submit print jobs to printers registered with it. Managing the print spool and deliver the submitted job to the desired printer, and keeping the end-user informed of the printing progress is something which will be managed by the service. Since the service itself is could-based, cloud applications such as Google Docs, Zoho, Aviary etc could directly print your documents to the printer of your choice with greater fidelity.

With the cloud printing service, Google wants your printer to be as easy to share as a Google Docs file. So you can share your printer with your friends and family. Right now it isn't clear whether you will be able to share a printer registered with Google's print service with someone using another service..

If all goes according to Google's plan, future printers will come cloud-printing enabled, and will work directly with the service. Google is working with manufacturers to enable future printers to be directly connected to the internet, and receive print jobs without being connected to a computer. Great, but what about current generation of printers? With the support of manufacturers many current printers could be made cloud printing aware with the help of a firmware update. For those still out of luck, Google is developing a proxy software which uses the printers installed on your computer as the targets, and makes them cloud-aware through your computer.

For a wide range of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and even web-connected TVs and set-top boxed, this stands to make printing much easier. All will depend of course on how much support this initiative gets from the companies which actually manufacture printers, because while the cloud print proxy seems like a good idea for now, it is quite an inconvenient solution. However printing itself as s concept is starting to become outdated. We would hope that the need to print anything at all should decrease over time. However in the meantime, as we look forward to an increasingly cloud-ier computing world, this initiative brings printing into cloud arena.