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Google Drafts Cloud Printing Plan For Chrome OS 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-needs-drivers-anyway dept.
snydeq writes "Google is unveiling early-stage designs, software code, and documentation for a project whose goal is to let users of the company's Chrome OS print documents to any printer from any application. Called Google Cloud Print, the technology would dispense with the need to install printer drivers by routing print jobs from Web, desktop, and mobile applications via a Chrome OS Web-hosted broker. 'Rather than rely on the local operating system — or drivers — to print, apps can use Google Cloud Print to submit and manage print jobs. Google Cloud Print will then be responsible for sending the print job to the appropriate printer with the particular options the user selected, and returning the job status to the app.'"
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Google Drafts Cloud Printing Plan For Chrome OS

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  • by Maniacal (12626) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:26PM (#31876616)

    So Google invented a print server. Brilliant!!! Those guys are AMAZING. What will they do next. :P

    • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:32PM (#31876750)

      make it work when the internet goes out?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by severoon (536737)

        I think perhaps the main point if this is being missed.

        Does anyone remember Jini? It was the technology developed by Sun prior to EJBs that promised to make efficient distributed computing and pervasive connectivity a reality. Except, it never caught on because it required software development organizations to invert their staff profile. Instead of having a few device driver coders and enterprise architects, a few more low-level programmers and architect/designers, and the bulk of the staff in standard sof

    • by suso (153703) *

      A paper mill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So Google invented a print server.

      Indeed they did ...

      What they need to do is not send print jobs to the cloud just so they can come back "down to earth". Get together with the major printer manufactures, develop a common intermediate print-job description language and print all ChromiumOS jobs in that PDL. The manufactures can implement their own drivers in the firmware of their printers. This gives us true plug & play, eliminates the need of installing drivers and lets everyone print on any printer they encounter that supports this

      • by 0racle (667029) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:42PM (#31876894)
        You mean something like Postscript?
        • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:43PM (#31876918)

          You mean something like Postscript?

          I knew there was a word for it ;-)

        • by DerPflanz (525793)

          If only it would be that simple.

          In our company, we have several postscript printers, several OSs, several applications, all with different results. Printing a PDF from evince crashes both evince and printer (postscript colour Dell printer), printing from Foxit, no problems. Printer A accepts letter size postscript and scales it to A4 (because that is what the printer has), printer B doesn't and stalls waiting for paper.

          Printing sucks. Always has, always will. Just don't do it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Daengbo (523424)

            Printing sucks. Always has, always will. Just don't do it.

            It's for this reason that I was a little disappointed about GDocs new "more paper-like" interface. I always figured people would do 95% of the work collaboratively and without real interest in formatting, and have on guy download and do final formatting only if the product needed it.

            It seems that this new interface is going to encourage more time-wasting formatting debates and more useless printing.

          • Printer A accepts letter size postscript and scales it to A4 (because that is what the printer has), printer B doesn't and stalls waiting for paper.

            "PC LOAD LETTER"....what the fuck does that mean ?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Graff (532189)

          It seems like what they have re-invented is the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS [cups.org]). Like the new Google Cloud Print, CUPS encapsulates the drivers for printers, filters and converts jobs based on the type of printing needed, sets classes of printers where the first available will be used, and much more. You can read a summary of some of the top features at its Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org].

          It's also open-source, licensed under the GPL and LGPL, and has been used in Gnome, KDE, Mac OS X, and several Linux variants for year

      • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:43PM (#31876920)

        How are they going to insert ads into your printed documents if you're not sending them to cloud?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Zero conf is the solution. Nearly every networkable printer these days has it.

        I remember when I first got OS X and walked into a random computer lab, I instantly had all the printers available. Truly zeroconf.

        Now my entire home network is zeroconf configured (oxymoron?). I stopped giving devices static IPs. The sheeva plug is plug.local, the mac is mac.local, open solaris is server.local.

        ZeroConf+Postscript should be able to print to anything for sale today.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          While zerconf is nice(and seems to have been made more broadly useful than uPNP, which largely confines itself to reconfiguring NAT routers at the behest of bittorrent clients), it doesn't really match Google's use case all that well. Consider a few points:

          Authentication: zeroconfing stuff works fine in a trusted home environment, or in an .edu lab where they are resigned to rolling the print costs into student fees(or, incidentally, it is totally possible that their crack team of MCSEs connected the pri
          • Zeroconf is the fisrt damn thing i turn off on our network printers, don't want it advertising and publishing info to any idiot who can plug into an outlet. Not to mention the MDNS traffic it generates.

    • by Jazz-Masta (240659) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:41PM (#31876886)

      Ah yes, why print locally when you can send it to Google and have them send it back to you. Instead of a print driver...those nasty inefficient things (no really, anyone use HP drivers?), we'll install some software, send it to...THE CLOUD!!!...and have it sent back to us to print.

      And, in the meantime, if someone or something happens to "grab" that confidential document you are trying to print, no problem. What's that? government documents you are trying to print? Send 'em to the cloud, China can't get them there...oh wait.

      • by e2d2 (115622)

        In fairness this will most likely benefit developers who integrate with the Google App Engine already and other applications that rely on it, such as GMail. It also works well with their ChromeOS "vision" where the underlying OS is a black box, the ChromeOS is a software stack on top of that, and the network is where software resides. Also, it's important to note that this is not the Chrome browser like some of the comments here have assumed.

      • by Xarius (691264)

        Yet oddly we can still bank online securely...

      • by Daengbo (523424)

        Since this is for Chrome and everything is going to be in a web browser, anyway, I think it'll just be a one-way trip from the GOOG servers to the printer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by J'raxis (248192)

        And, in the meantime, if someone or something happens to "grab" that confidential document you are trying to print, no problem. What's that? government documents you are trying to print? Send 'em to the cloud, China can't get them there...oh wait.

        Hear, hear. It never ceases to amaze me how virtually every new Google "service" further erodes people's concept of privacy. And people just eat it up. If someone ever wanted to intentionally socially engineer away the concept of "privacy" to begin with, this is ho

        • by Fastolfe (1470) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @10:03AM (#31881746)

          Hear, hear. It never ceases to amaze me how virtually every new Google "service" further erodes people's concept of privacy. And people just eat it up. If someone ever wanted to intentionally socially engineer away the concept of "privacy" to begin with, this is how to do it. Makes you wonder...

          Presumably, every document being printed on Chrome OS already exists in "the cloud". What additional erosion of privacy is created by adding the ability to take those documents and send them to a printer? If you're using Google's cloud, they already have the data. If you're using someone else's "cloud", I think the idea is that they'd implement their own printing service. None of your data should be shuttled around the Internet promiscuously except to your printer. Am I missing something?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fastolfe (1470)

        Your concerns have nothing to do with the Cloud Print service and everything to do with storing your data in the cloud. If you don't want to store your data in the cloud, neither Chrome OS nor the services associated with it are for you.

        For those that are OK adopting this model, your data already exists in the cloud, so adding the ability to send that data to a printer doesn't do anything to reduce your privacy.

    • by bill_kress (99356)

      It makes me wonder if you realize that what they did had nothing to do with creating a print server--it was genericising the print drivers which can still be a royal pain in the ass on windows. It also takes care of hooking you up to local print servers--also pretty cool.

      I mean, I realize you were being sarcastic, but that should have SOME relation to the article.

      What they did is actually amazingly useful.

    • You mean they invented a printing gateway that translates between their own protocol and a variety of proprietary ones.

    • by xQx (5744)
      Just because a master made it look easy, don't go thinking it is...

      I bet the guys at Citrix who've been working on this problem for fifteen years and STILL HAVEN'T WORKED IT OUT will be pleased that it took some smart-arse at Google 15 minutes make it work.
    • by MikeFM (12491)
      All because printer manufacturers are to stubborn and stupid to implement a standard print interface. Why doesn't Google just buy them out and make printers that don't suck.
  • I think I'll just stick to lpr...
  • Yes, I want spam coming in on my printer with it's outward facing IP. Not to mention Google data sniffing every document I print.

    Worst. Idea. Ever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GIL_Dude (850471)
      Not just google sniffing the document. Having the government subpoena the document from Google (as it will be somewhere in their huge data store). Of course, my printer (and yours too) don't have an outward facing IP and we don't port forward our routers to it either for exactly the reason you mention. Spam, or just some jack nut deciding to waste all your paper and toner.

      I guess I would have more faith in it if it does the equivalent of creating the print file, sending that back to your Chrome device, th
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jimicus (737525)

        Of course, my printer (and yours too) don't have an outward facing IP and we don't port forward our routers to it either for exactly the reason you mention.

        This wouldn't necessarily pose a problem.

        Google for Domains customers can install a small app to go on a Linux server which communicates with them and allows you to integrate your systems with theirs. It gets around the firewall by the simple expedient of establishing the connection from the inside out. If you were to integrate that with Zeroconf - abracadabra! Any Google user can indeed print directly to all your printers.

        I wouldn't be too surprised to see something like that built into Chrome OS.

    • Yes, I want spam coming in on my printer with it's outward facing IP.

      Spammers wouldn't have your Google account's password. Without authenticating, they aren't authorized to use your IPP server or the printer behind it.

      • by coolgeek (140561)

        Yeah, tell me how it works for you once some asshats from 4chan hack your printer and burn up all your paper and ink printing kiddie porn.

    • by rinoid (451982)

      But come on dude, Google will translate this into 60 languages, add it as a doc in your account, email it to you, send it to every chrome/android device registered with your account, share it with all of your contacts via buzz, bookmark it, add it as a gadget to your home page, subscribe to changes inmyour Reader account, scan it from faces and plop photos of in your picasa account, and serve it all back to you in ads based on a natural language index algorithm of keywords in your work.

      What's not to love?

      (g

  • ahahahaha (Score:1, Insightful)

    How can anyone take Google seriously outside the search engine market? What won't it do to convince you that you need to do something half way across the world using systems under their control, what you once did perfectly in your office? "We know what you search for, we must see what you print too!" Stop allowing the creation of the next Microsoft, guys. Especially one with far more control and access to your stuff than MS planned for.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      convenience? And i dont think its aimed at office use.

    • by yuhong (1378501)

      Stop allowing the creation of the next Microsoft, guys.

      Ha? MS tried to abuse their monopoly to illegally kill competition, for one thing.

    • You are right. I searched for "tinfoil hat" the other day, Google said "Nothing found. Tinfoil hats are permanently unavailable. Get Used."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stephanruby (542433)

      What won't it do to convince you that you need to do something half way across the world using systems under their control, what you once did perfectly in your office?

      You've obviously never printed something remotely to Kinkos. That feature is convenient and can be a life-saver sometimes.

      This doesn't mean that everyone will start printing remotely 100% of the time, but personally, I'd be glad to have this feature -- even if I only very rarely use it. If Google made it easy enough, I could see myself printing from my phone, from my television set up box, and whenever I'm away from my home or office, or my printer is broken, or my printer doesn't support the colors I wan

      • never printed something remotely to Kinkos. That feature is convenient and can be a life-saver

        You're correct - if I want to print something at a random retail outlet, I'll just bring in media and/or laptop. If things don't look quite right, I'm then more likely to be able to fix it.

        If Google made it easy enough, I could see myself...

        ...setting up a printer business by taking a couple of minutes to enable Internet Printing Protocol on Windows 2000 or later, CUPS or Netware?

        I'm not sure what Google still need to do to make it easier, though... adverts on your printouts? A Print2.0 marketing moniker?

  • So, what is next? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smith6174 (986645)
    I didn't think of this one. Google now wants to see everything you print too? George Carlin was right when he said we would eventually trade all of our freedom in exchange for new toys.
    • Carlin is awesome and I do believe people will hand over their rights but I think it will be for some supposed safety but I don't see why people get so upset about this. The whole premise around the OS is everything is in the cloud. Your mind should be made up already whether or not you'll use it. How they allow you to print is irrelevant to your privacy.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:32PM (#31876754) Journal

    let users of the company's Chrome OS print documents to any printer from any application.

    Lets see here...

    www.goatse.cx

    File -- Print -- Select Printer: CEOOFFICEPRINTER.Apple.Com

    Pages: 200

    PRINT

  • by cybrthng (22291)

    Now i can google those documents i printed! I trust when i print those health care receipts for my HSA that have my social security, HSA account numbers and my direct deposit info google will keep it nice and secure for eternity! wow, thanks google! Your never delete policy is awesome!

  • a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.

    Oh good, so now instead of just Fax spam, we can get Printer spam.

    --
    BMO

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by toastar (573882)

      a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.

      Oh good, so now instead of just Fax spam, we can get Printer spam.

      --
      BMO

      funny

  • Fine! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hyfe (641811) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:37PM (#31876820)
    Fine, alot of you don't see the need for this. Don't use it, and more importantly, don't complain about it.

    I work as teacher, mostly for fun, and got suckered into supposedly being admin for the school network. In reality I'm a general janitor / IT-support though. I have next to no time to spend on actually setting infrastructure. If anybody gives me a simple solution for printing any document, from any operating system on any computer easily to our public printers I'd give them a big, wet kiss. I certainly don't know any easy way of doing it now, because adding printers to students laptops is a f***king bother, and there's always some weird problem.

    I'm certainly sure there's lots of other uses for this, aswell as lots of places it won't be usefull.

    • by aicrules (819392)
      Yeah you just have to learn how to add your printers to the google cloud and then how to add printers to each computer FROM the google cloud. Easy right???
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vbraga (228124)

      Doesn't Bonjour [wikipedia.org] solves your problem?

      • by jimicus (737525)

        Not if the OP has older printers, which is very likely in a school.

        • by jrumney (197329)
          That can be solved by installing CUPS on a server and using it as an intermediary between the clients and the printers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      Someone mentioned "postscript" a while back.

      This is all you really need.

      Set a language standard for the printing and have the network & print queue sort it all out.

      All Google is doing is dressing up an ancient Unix idea and giving it a lot of unecessary added complexity.

  • Sure it will allow you to print to any printer...that can be accessed via the internet. I'd wager that's a step a large number of people haven't taken when it comes to their home networks.

  • I think we have this already. It's called efax.
  • Google had a cloud printing [google.com] service set up ages ago, so how's this new?

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      Either you're quite the joker or that April Fool's joke went over very very well.

  • This is supposed to be for devices that don't have ports (small netbooks running ChromeOS or something) and/or use web apps. Google wants everyone to easily be able to print from Google Docs or some other web based software and not have to think about the hardware involved.

    There are definitely privacy concerns, but it's not supposed to be like lpr or Samba sharing.
  • alpha (Score:3, Funny)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:51PM (#31877056)
    I'm trying out the alpha, and the printer has an undecipherable message.

    PC_LOAD_GOOGLE

    What does that even mean?
    • Actually, there's a way to change that message to whatever you want. That's how Google plans to pay for this.

      While your document prints, ads will show up on the display for the printer: Print Documents/At Staples/No Job is Too Big/or Too Small!

  • by Seor Jojoba (519752) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:52PM (#31877084) Homepage

    I always thought it was a terrible design to require installation of hardware-specific drivers for a remote printer. You know how you get some crummy nonstandard print status window popping up when you print? Like it will be this hyperbranded thing with a zazzy, colorful diagram of your printer and "buy toner online now" button on it. Almost indistinguishable from a pop-up advertisement except that there is a progress bar showing your print job going through. As far as I can tell, that is the only reason for there to be local drivers for remote printers--so manufacturers can bring up their fancy nonstandard dialogs out of some paranoid necessity to convince you your printer is not a commodity item. In fact, they would probably prefer you called it something other than a "printer", i.e. your "HP-SmartPaperDuplicator TM".

    So, yes, this is one thing Google seems to be getting right--a standard print dialog with no local drivers for remote printers.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      I always thought it was a terrible design to require installation of hardware-specific drivers for a remote printer.

      Good thing they don't then. At least, all the decent ones don't.

    • by pclminion (145572)

      I always thought it was a terrible design to require installation of hardware-specific drivers for a remote printer.

      Uh, you don't have to. On Windows, when you print a document to a remote printer, it is converted locally to EMF format (a beefed up version of WMF) and transmitted to the remote print server, where the EMF is spooled just as if it was a local job, picked up by the print processor, passed through the driver, and sent to the printer. No driver need be installed locally.

      If you WANT, you can ha

  • Yes and No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 16, 2010 @03:54PM (#31877108) Journal
    Frankly, I have zero interest in sending my printed documents through Google's grubby hands. However, I think that their implementation shows real promise and(as is even mentioned in their documents) it would not be difficult for 3rd parties to run their own "cloud" print servers.

    Even for comparatively small organizations, being able to ditch the ghastly nuisance of driver-shuffling and the more-or-less-strictly-LAN-bound world of SMB printer sharing, for a system that will work on any device with internet access to the organization's print host and the ability to spit out a PDF would be great. Google's approach may or may not be the best approach to the reinvention of the print server; but it has strong potential to be good enough quite easily amenable to 3rd-party implementation, build largely on standardized components(HTTP, PDF, PPD, bit of XMPP, etc.) and Google's support might help it reach critical mass.
  • it's printing.

    Seriously, the cloud is not the solution to poorly-supported printers and difficult to find drivers. The solution is to demand, simple, consistent network interfaces for printers from the manufacturers.

    • Seriously, the cloud is not the solution to poorly-supported printers and difficult to find drivers. The solution is to demand, simple, consistent network interfaces for printers from the manufacturers.

      We've already got that, and we've had it for years.

      It's called "don't buy the cheapest shittiest printer with an RJ45 port that you can find". Do that properly, and the thing should support IPP, Zeroconf and Postscript at a bare minimum.

      • by Fastolfe (1470)

        How does one take those technologies and use them to print on a home or office printer while on the road? Set up a VPN? Call an "IT guy" to make sure your DSL router has all of the firewall holes it needs to allow printing over the Internet, and then have someone at home try to discover the IP address of the printer and program that into your device? What do you do about authentication/authorization? I think you're still thinking in terms of a complex, general-purpose, ultra-capable personal computing d

        • by jimicus (737525)

          Actually, it's not as difficult as you make out and 80% of the building blocks are already in place.

          You'd have a small print server at home. This print server would establish a connection to Google's system (they've already got a small application that Google for Domains users can install inside their firewall to integrate with Google for Domains, I don't see why you couldn't add local printer support to that enabling integration of your local printers with GfD) from inside the firewall, eliminating all th

  • Being able to print from Google Docs to my local printer would be dope. Make it happen.
    • Um... you can? It's built into the Google Docs printer... it creates a PDF, which opens on your local machine for previewing, and then you can click print.
  • Hah! I've been doing this for years, I have a centralized CUPS server, and all the workstation clients use it to send jobs to any of the printers in the lab.

    Phear me, for I am become THE CLOUD!!one!!!eleven!

  • All this concern people have about sending your document to Google so they can send it back to your printer is silly.

    If you are using Google Chrome OS, your document already exists in the cloud. To print it, you will need a way to get it from the cloud to your printer.

    • Nobody uses Google Chrome OS. Storing your document in 'the cloud' is silly. Even if they pretend to take privacy and openness seriously for now you know that once they get more leverage they won't. Also governments love being able to get at any document in existence without the owner even knowing about it
      • by Fastolfe (1470)

        I don't think you understand what people are saying when they say "the cloud". This isn't something new that will appear only when people start using Google Chrome OS. Anything stored in Google Docs, or in Gmail, today, is considered "in the cloud". Plenty of people use these applications. If you think the cloud is evil and dangerous, feel free to hold and spread that opinion, but I think that attitude sort of precludes you from even using Chrome OS, right? Which precludes you from using any cloud prin

  • This is not about taking a local document, sending it to the cloud, and then having that routed to the printer. These documents are already in the cloud, residing on Google's servers in applications such as GMail or Google Docs. So sending them to your printer from Chrome OS can be accomplished without requiring printer driver support.

    Not sure why they chose that route, just wanted to straighten up some apparent confusion here. I think some people assume it will be a "internet printer drivers" for your flav

  • This isn't going to work with any of my home or office printers unless I (at home) or the IT department (at the office) do a lot of "behind the scenes" configuration and setup to make this work. If I'm going to do all of that work to provide the ability to print from anywhere, why wouldn't I just us up the VPN to provide access to ALL network resources? And do it without sending potentially confidential data through some Magic Box controlled by a third party.

    • The only thing I can see is being able to log into Google Docs from anywhere in the world and have it print to your home network—regardless of machine you are printing from. I could see this being valuable.
    • by Fastolfe (1470)

      This isn't going to work with any of my home or office printers unless I (at home) or the IT department (at the office) do a lot of "behind the scenes" configuration and setup to make this work.

      I think the idea is that if this printing standard catches on, printers will be updated or will ship with this functionality, so that little configuration/setup should be necessary. In the mean time, a proxy can be installed on any machines that act as print servers. But you're right: this means extra setup for now (just like zeroconf/Bonjour did before it gained traction).

      If I'm going to do all of that work to provide the ability to print from anywhere, why wouldn't I just us up the VPN to provide access to ALL network resources?

      I think one of the ideas is to eliminate the need to use VPN. If your data is stored on "the cloud", why not have "the cloud" initiat

  • ummm.... this was done 40 years ago. Why can't we do new?
  • Along with everything I don't get about cloud computing, one thing I *did* believe i got right about it is that you don't need to know where it happens. This is hardly compatible with the very idea of printing a hardcopy of your document, is it?
  • Why are printer drivers even required anymore? Mice and keyboards and USB flash drives and cameras can all be connected to computers and not require driver installation on any OS I've tried over the past 5 years. USB printers have been around for almost 10 years, why don't they all just support a basic, standard printer API? printMonochrome() and printColor()? Heck, even with an IP-based printer you still need drivers. Pretty stupid at this point, imo.

  • If Google wants to be really clever, they could make sure there is support for scanning in the exact same specification. Historically there has been a huge imbalance between paper sources (printers) and paper sinks (scanners), so it's no surprise that ideas like the paperless office never took off. However, in the last five years, fantastic scanning equipment has reached consumer availability; for example the Fujitsu Scanscap S1500 has an automated document feeder and has dual sensor bars, which allows dupl

  • DAMN, I accidentally printed my plans to take over the world in the Pentagon!!!

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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