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 user 2010-04-26 at 10:05:04 am Views: 45
  • #23797
    One of the major problems Google is facing with its Chrome OS
    is printer support. It was reported earlier that Google is working with
    manufacturers on making printers act similar to for instance digital
    cameras, so you won’t need to fiddle with drivers any longer. It turns
    out Google has indeed been working on this, but I don’t think the
    solution they unveiled today is what everyone had in mind – despite
    that, I’m seeing the value here.

    My understanding was that Google
    would work with manufacturers to eliminate the need for special purpose
    drivers, instead opting for an open standards-based approach, which has
    worked wonders for the world of digital cameras. This would give all
    platforms the opportunity to work with printers without having the need
    to download drivers, thereby eliminating one of the many reasons why I
    believe printers are from hell.

    Google is indeed aiming for
    something like that, but being Google, they had to cram the internet in
    somewhere, and Google Cloud Print, as the name suggests, is no
    exception. Basically, Google is aiming to put the printer stack on the
    internet, so that not each and every platform has to create its own
    print stack and print drivers.

    “With the proliferation of
    web-connected mobile devices such as those running Google Chrome OS and
    other mobile operating systems, we don’t believe it is feasible to build
    and maintain complex print subsystems and print drivers for each
    platform,” Google writes, “In fact, even the print subsystems and
    drivers on existing PC operating systems leave a lot of room for

    “Our goal is to build a printing experience that
    enables any app (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any
    printer anywhere in the world,” Google continues, “This goal is
    accomplished through the use of a cloud print service. Apps no longer
    rely on the local operating system (and drivers) to print. Instead, apps
    (whether they be a native desktop/mobile app or a web app) use Google
    Cloud Print to submit and manage print jobs. Google Cloud Print is then
    responsible for sending the print job to the appropriate printer, with
    the particular options the user selected, and providing job status to
    the app.”

    And here come the problems. While Google is working to
    get manufacturers to support Google Cloud Print out of the box (i.e.,
    the printer is Google Cloud Print-aware), legacy printers will continue
    to rely on the native print stack and drivers. In other words, this is a
    future-oriented solution, and doesn’t do anything to address the
    problem of printer makers being wholly and utterly incompetent morons
    who couldn’t create a desirable product if their life depended on it
    missing printer drivers for non-Windows platforms (my Lexmark printer
    has no Linux-drivers).

    Another possible issue here is, of course,
    the whole internet-based thing. How will this work if you don’t have an
    internet connection up? The internet shits itself every now and then,
    and then needs to clean its trousers – will I still be able to print if
    that happens?

    Whatever the answer, Google Cloud Print needs to
    fart shards of poisoned glass in my face before it can be classified as
    worse than printing today. The project’s code is not yet released, as it
    is not ready yet, but I’m happy Google is trying to move the world of
    printing forward after decades of incompetence from the likes of
    Lexmark, Canon, and HP.