One of the biggest obstacles desktop Linux has faced over the years is the fact that no one can guarantee that every peripheral you plug into your computer will work with Ubuntu, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, or your Linux distribution of choice. Sure, your keyboard, mouse, and monitor will probably work. But what about your printer, which may require special drivers? Good luck with that.
Most hardware vendors release Windows drivers. Some even make Linux drivers available. But plugging a printer into a computer that’s not running Windows is still a bit of a crap shoot.
But Google thinks it may have found a solution — at least for its upcoming Chrome operating system. Google Chrome is basically an operating system built around the web browser. Instead of running desktop apps, all of the apps you run in Chrome will be web-based. And it turns out even the printing infrastructure will be cloud-based.
Here’s how it works. Google is launching a new project called Google Cloud Print. When you’re using a web app in Google Chrome (say, Gmail, Picnik, or Zoho Office), you can hit the print button to send a print job to Google Cloud Print – which will then send the job to your printer.
What this means is that your mobile device won’t actually have to be plugged into a printer in order to print. If you’ve got an old fashioned printer that’s hooked up to a PC, Google Cloud Print will tell your PC to send the print job to the printer. If you have a newfangled printer that can connect directly to the internet, Google Cloud Print will send the task directly to the printer.
It sounds like Google is also hoping to bring cloud-based printing to mobile devices.
This means that you’ll be able to hit the print button on your Android smartphone or any netbook or other PC running the Google Chrome operating system or Google Chrome browser to send a print job to any printer linked to your account. If you’re on the road and want to scan a receipt with your cellphone camera and have it print back at your office, or if you’re just sitting a few feet away from your cloud-aware printer, you should be all set.