UPDATED 11:02 EDT / APRIL 16 2010

Printing Is Changing According To Google. Say Hello Cloud, Printing, but Where is HP?

image Google put out a blog post talking about a new approach to printing.  Google is now pushing printing into their internet operating system. It’s not clear the role Google intends to play here.  Outside of the obvious role of Google being one big print server in the sky no specific partnerships are being talked about.

I wonder what HP thinks about all of this.  Heck HP invented computing printing and is already doing cloud printing – CloudPrint.

Back in the old days HP’s PCL drivers were standard in all Microsoft products – mainly windows.  That eliminated the hassles for end users.  Fast forward today and we have nascent cloud market developing where the consumer experience just isn’t up to par.  So any news of innovation on the printing front it good news.

HP has been talking about cloud printing and other innovations for sometime.  I particularly like the Magcloud product for printing publications.

Just recently HP and FedEx announced a direction and sets of solutions that redefine retail printing.  Specifically FedEx has formed an alliance with Canon (NYSE: CAJ) and HP (NYSE: HPQ) to create an unmatched network of printing and imaging capabilities, giving customers access to leading-edge technologies and a state-of-the-art machine fleet.  These new solutions enable FedEx Office to offer individuals and business customers a better, faster, more flexible and environmentally smarter way of creating, customizing, printing and distributing their materials – transforming the retail printing experience.

Google’s recent push is trying to win the mindshare of developers to enable a cloud operating system of which having native print services is critical.  Like I pointed out above HP has been doing this for a long time and has solutions in market.

My Angle On Future Of Printing

One thing for certain the notion of printing is changing with the cloud from disrupting the media business with Magcloud to personalization for consumers like photoalbums, social network sharing, among tons of other use cases.  It’s not about printing documents anymore.  Printing is a universal service and Google is smart to get into “spooling” print jobs for consumers.

Just another step of Google innovating and stealing the business from HP.  HP needs to be on notice that Google taking a stealth approach to encroach into HP consumers space both software, on demand, enterprise, and hardware.

Google has shown it can do any of those things.  HP is the kinpin in printing and it’s interesting to see Google’s moves here.

Here is HP’s vision of the future of printing part of their “consumer” campaign.

Here is the news from Google on their vision on a New Approach to Printing:

Google demonstrated Google Chrome OS last Fall, a few folks asked how it would handle printing. Today Google is giving developers a little more insight into their approach for printing from Chrome OS and other web-connected platforms.

While the emergence of cloud and mobile computing has provided users with access to information and personal documents from virtually any device, today’s printers still require installing drivers which makes printing impossible from most of these new devices. Developing and maintaining print subsystems for every combination of hardware and operating system– from desktops to netbooks to mobile devices — simply isn’t feasible.

Since in Google Chrome OS all applications are web apps, we wanted to design a printing experience that would enable web apps to give users the full printing capabilities that native apps have today. 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.

Google Cloud Print is still under development, but today we are making code and documentation public as part of the open-source Chromium and Chromium OS projects. While we are still in the early days of this project, we want to be as transparent as possible about all aspects of our design and engage the community in identifying the right set of open standards to make cloud-based printing ubiquitous. You can view our design docs and outlines here and we hope you stay tuned for updates in the coming months.


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