Depending on who you ask, the upcoming Chrome operating system from Google is either reinventing the wheel by structuring an entire UI around the browser and browser apps, or is merely another trivial Linux skin. Regardless of what you think personally, the OS will make some big waves when it launches holiday season 2010, likely on select netbooks and tablets.
Today Google unveiled an impressive cloud printing scheme. The basic idea is that your apps (in Google's case, all internet apps) can remotely print to a printer in your home, all without any wires or direct communication.
It's not the first to dream up such an idea. Hewlett Packard currently offers a technology called "HP Remote Printing" that lets your print to network printers over the internet while on the road.
What makes Google's plan unique is that its a full fledged cloud printing scheme; HP's service only allows you to print JPG images of content.
The Chrome cloud printing will untangle the mess of print drivers that Windows deals with, installing a single stable print infrastructure in the cloud that can communicate with your added devices.
Using the one component all major devices and operating systems have in common-- access to the cloud-- today we're introducing some preliminary designs for a project called Google Cloud Print, a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.
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.
While Microsoft's public beta and release candidate test program for Windows 7 (and extensive dialogue via the Windows Team blog) were a great step forward for the company, Google is offering the public an even closer view of the design process with Chrome.
Chrome is an open source OS and Google is slowly sharing the code with the public. Along with the cloud printing announcement it unveiled design docs and outlines; code; and documentationfor the service.
Initial reaction to the service was mixed, despite its innovative nature. Some mentioned privacy concerns, and others complained that it would be inefficient if print jobs are sent from your computer to the cloud and then back to a network printer on your local LAN.