Feeds

Google sees printing in the cloud

Every cloud should have a smudgy black lining

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

While demonstrating Chrome OS, Google also slipped out its cloud printing solution, which might be the future, though for the moment you can't print anything other than a test page.

google cloud printing

Google Cloud Print is the chocolate factory's answer to the lack of printer drivers in Chrome OS, but should provide a printing solution for Android too, even if it means passing everything through Google's hands and waiting a while too.

The idea is to have printers regularly polling Google HQ to see if there are any print jobs waiting for them (thus pushing though firewalls and such like). A Google identity would then be linked to one or more registered printers and any application (Google-branded or not) would be free to channel its printing through the Google cloud with open and published APIs.

Google is optimistic that printers will soon come with hard-coded links to its cloud, but accepts that right now there is some legacy kit around: "Every printer in existence today falls into this category" the FAQ explains. But then it goes on to say: "This situation will change, of course, when someone (perhaps you?) updates the firmware to make the printer cloud-aware." Yes! You can play your part in enacting the Google master plan.

Not that cloud printing is a bad idea, it's just that for years printers, particularly consumer printers, have become very stupid things with little interest in networking or the internet. Cloud-enabling intelligent printers is easy, though if they're hidden behind a firewall then you still need a server somewhere for them to poll. But stupid means cheap, so printer manufacturers have steadily migrated the intelligence into the PC, which is why the latest version of the Google Chrome web browser includes a Google Cloud Printer proxy – attaching your cheapo ink-jet printer to Google's cloud for as long as your desktop computer is switched on.

Not that you can print anything just yet - besides a demo page to tell you everything is working. We're promised that Android and Google Docs will support printing through Google's cloud really soon, and that it will be the only way to print from Chrome OS. The APIs are already available, so developers could already be creating suitable applications.

Google says it only keeps copies of printed documents while they're in the queue, and promises to delete them immediately afterwards – but on the question of whether it analyses the contents of those documents to better profile its users, the FAQ is typically unclear:

"Does Google look at the contents of the documents I send to print? Are they kept confidential?

Documents you send to print are your personal information and are kept strictly confidential"

...which doesn't really answer the question (we've asked Google for clarification, and will let you know when we hear). But if you're already using GMail and Google Docs, then it's really a small thing to let the Googleplex know what you're printing too, and a small price to enable printing from from all your new toys without all that mucking about with drivers and local connections. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.