Google Takes Printing To The Cloud Via Chrome OS

Google on Friday said it is launching the Google Cloud Print project, a group that is working toward the ability to print wirelessly from smartphones, netbooks, tablets or any other mobile devices that runs the free, open source Google Chrome OS, Google’s upcoming cloud computing focused operating system.

Essentially, Google Cloud Print technology would remove the need to install printer drivers and route print jobs from the cloud via the Google Chrome OS.

“Rather than rely on the local operating system – or drivers – to print, apps can use Google Cloud Print to submit and manage print jobs,” Google Product Manager Mike Jazayeri wrote in a blog post on Google’s Chromium Blog. “Google Cloud Print will then be responsible for sending the print job to the appropriate printer with the particular options the user selected, and returning the job status to the app.”

Jazayeri wrote that the advent of cloud computing dramatically changes the way the industry tackles printing, as supporting all device types and drivers is impractical.

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“While the emergence of cloud and mobile computing has provided users with access to information and personal documents from virtually any device, today’s printers still require installing drivers which makes printing impossible from most of these new devices,” he wrote. “Developing and maintaining print subsystems for every combination of hardware and operating system - from desktops to netbooks to mobile devices - simply isn't feasible.”

Though all applications in Chrome OS, which is expected to be released in late 2010, will be Web apps, Jazayeri wrote that Google Cloud Print service will enable Web, desktop or mobile applications on any device to print to any printer.

Google Cloud Print will let users print to any printer from devices using Google Chrome or Google Android. Google noted that Google Cloud Print is still in its early stages, but on Friday the company made the code and documentation public. Google is also working and engaging the community to identify the right set of open standards to make cloud-based printing universally available.

While Google Chrome OS is expected to hit the market on netbooks later this year, developers have had access to the open source operating system since last November.