Google Cloud Print Could Cut The Printer Cord Forever

A lot of things have changed in technology over the past decade. Broadband has replaced dial-up. 1GHz now seems slow. Netbooks are now a reality. Tablets are coming back. Change is everywhere, but some things have sadly remained the same. Printers are still stuck in the stone-age, and ink still costs far more than it reasonably should. Leave it to Google to take a hard look at a technology that hasn't really changed much and, well, change it.

Google's latest attempt to innovate where others have simply overlooked is in printing, and interestingly, this attempt is being tied to the forthcoming Chrome OS. There's no denying that Google thinks that the future is in the cloud. Google Cal, Google Docs and almost everything Google does is cloud-based, enabling users to see and access the same information regardless of where they log-in at. Chrome OS is slated to be the first real operating system that's primarily sourced from the cloud, with web apps replacing physical apps. What else could head to the cloud? You guessed it: printing.

Google has this week revealed "a new approach to printing." By designing a printing experience that relies on the cloud, the company hopes that Google Cloud Print will enable any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer. It's network printing taken to an entirely new level, and it's so crazy that it just might work. 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.

The project is still early in development, but both the code and documentation has already been made public. Does the USB printer have a chance at survival? Probably not in Google's world.