Feeds

Google sees printing in the cloud

Every cloud should have a smudgy black lining

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

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. ®

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?