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Chrome OS gains cloud printing technology

Apr 16, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Google's Chromium project released early open source code and documentation for a new cloud-based printing technology for the Linux-based Chrome OS operating system. Google Cloud Print will ultimately enable local or remote printing without requiring printer drivers, says Google.

Printing was one of the big question marks when Google released early code for Chrome OS in November. Due to ship on selected netbooks in late 2010 (and perhaps on tablets), Chrome OS takes a minimalist approach, loading applications from the web rather than local storage. While cloud-based storage is relatively easy to envision - Chrome OS netbooks won't include hard disk drives — printing is trickier in a cloud-oriented environment.

Google Cloud Print is not limited to Chrome OS, and could be used to enable any web-connected device to print to any printer that is registered with Google's cloud-based printing services, according to a blog entry yesterday by Google Group Product Manager, Mike Jazayeri. Chrome OS applications will be able to submit print jobs to the service via a web-based common print dialog or API offered by the service. Google Cloud Print would then send the print job to any printer that the user had previously registered with the service.

Google Cloud Print conceptual diagram

To be fully realized, this approach will require "a new class of cloud-aware printers" that can bypass drivers to connect directly to the cloud printing service, writes Jazayeri. As for legacy printers, they can connect to the service via a "software proxy" that will be included with Chrome — Windows, Mac, and Linux support is also planned — he says (see diagram above).

Google Cloud Print will be offered as a web-based app that can submit and manage print jobs. The app will send the print job to the appropriate printer with the particular options the user selected, and then return the job status to the app, writes Jazayeri.

The "with the particular options the user selected" part is where the going will likely get tough. It would seem that limitations are inevitable, especially with legacy printers, and of course, users would always need to be connected online in order to print. However, Chrome OS is not targeted at applications such as desktop publishing. While the code is still primitive, Google Cloud Print appears to fill in a key missing piece of the puzzle for basic printing needs on Chrome OS.


The Google Chromium blog on Google Cloud Print may be found here.

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