Google wants to clean up printer drivers, offers unified cloud-based printing architecture
One of the only evergreen, recurring nightmares of being a computer user is printer drivers. It's even worse for the network administrator, or hapless grandparent. A lot of peripherals are now plug-and-play -- they have been for years, even -- but printers have somehow continued to side-step end-user convenience and remain a real pain in the ass to install and use. BUT NOT FOR LONG!
As part of the Chromium project -- the root of both Google's Chrome OS and Chrome browser -- Google is now looking to move printing, and the associated management overhead, to the cloud. Rather than trying to print from your computer, you'll send the document to the cloud and Google will then communicate with your printer. This isn't such a massive deal for installed desktop PCs, but think about handheld devices: imagine being able to print a document from your mobile phone without having to worry about printer drivers or third-party applications. Very cool.
How does it work? Well it's still early days -- the code only appeared on the Chromium Project site a few hours ago -- but it looks like it could work with both network-attached printers and local (USB) printers using some kind of 'print proxy'. The app would send the document and details of the printer into the cloud -- Google Cloud Print (or another cloud service) would then send back a correctly-formatted request to the printer, via the proxy.
Very smart, and not all that difficult to deploy. We might see this one ready for testing sooner rather than later.