Google’s vision of your future home printer is one where you can skip not just the part where you directly connect your computer, but avoid installing print drivers altogether, and put it to work whether you’re home or not. Dubbed Google Cloud Print, the Chromium OS-based technology (read: headed for Chrome OS) is still in its early stages but looks promising already.
So here’s the skinny: You get your Internet-connected printer set up and talking to your home network. Then you tell Chrome/Chromium-OS/Google where it is. From there, it will locate the driver and keep the info stored on the cloud. When you want to print a job, you simply log in to your Google account on any Internet device, select the document you want to print, and voila–cloud printing made easy.
Google points out that it’s impossible to write drivers that are compatible with every different platform and device. So by allowing the printer to be managed by a cloud service, any piece of hardware with access to a Web browser can easily print documents. What this technology does not account for, however, are older printers. But don’t fret! Google has you covered! See, they plan to release a little desktop client that will allow you to plug old printers into your computer, and that client will function as a proxy so that Google can access the locally installed drivers.
While the Google Cloud Print service will be focused around the Chrome OS platform, it sounds like various Google services will be able to make use of it. So hypothetically, it should be as easy as logging in to your Gmail or Docs account and selecting “print.” The early code is actually available now, if any developers interested in tinkering with it. As for the rest of us, looks like we’ll have to wait until Chrome OS comes out later this year.