Google Cloud Print's lofty goals

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Who in the IT world hasn't heard the name Google? Google search engine, Google Docs/Drive, Google Apps. Chromebooks, Chrome Bowser, Chrome OS, Google Mail (Gmail), maybe your company or school's email is currently hosted by Google. I recently returned from the NTware Forum in Las Vegas where I was privileged to hear C. Andrew Warren, the product manager for Google Cloud Print (GCP), speak. I was impressed with what he had to say regarding GCP, especially their goals. In a nut shell, it's to improve the end users printing experience. Because printer setup is painful, printer requirements and sharing is complex, too complex for the average end user. Ask yourself how much time does the average IT Department spend on deploying, configuring, and troubleshooting printer problems. Add to this the new realities of BYOD (bring your own device), and network managers are spending way more time on printing than they want to. But printing is not going anywhere anytime soon. Top management is demanding the ability to print from their smart phone and tablets because to be truly productive, the document must flow freely from digital to paper and back to digital.

Enter Google Cloud Print. GCP seeks to simplify the process with no cables, no drivers, simple sharing, easy access to services and above all the same printing options and experience from anywhere. "From anywhere" means from Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, etc. You may say that there is no way that my organization will ever outsource their printing to the cloud. Did you say the same about your organization's email? Are you now using, or, at least, discussing having Google host your email? I don't say the word "never" (at least very often) now a days because what can't or won't happen today is too often tomorrow's reality. Andrew provided some good info on GCPs security.

What is Google Cloud Print?

Andrew defined GCP as an API, literally 9 lines of code that can be added to a diverse group of web apps, like the following supported Cloud Print Platforms:

● Chrome
● Chrome OS
● Some Google Apps
● Mac OS X
● Linux
● Android
● iOS
● Web
● AS/400 / IBM iSeries

The GCP team developed the first three, third party developers developed the rest, a GCP Ecosystem if you will. Admittedly, the GCP team has predominately focused on the consumer space. I saw a list of 150 or so printers that are GCP enabled. But what about "The Enterprise"? Fortunately that is why Andrew Warren was at the NTware forum. Uniflow 5.2 is Google Cloud Print enabled! UniFLOW is not a printer, but an enterprise print management platform that gives an end user multiple ways to get jobs into their Secure Print Queue. Additionally, it also allows the user to print directly to non GCP enabled printers while authenticating the individual and leveraging UniFLOW's reporting, allocation, and chargeback function. This takes the cool features of GCP into the enterprise, giving Network managers the best of both worlds, GCP access without surreding control.

I will say that I wasn't able to get anyone at the NTware forum to say that UniFLOW is the only GCP enabled enterprise print management system. But I also couldn't get anyone to provide the name of another enterprise printing system that is GCP enabled. Maybe there are others out there, maybe there are others coming. NTware's UniFLOW can do it now! I think that is pretty cool for a company that wants or needs to use Google Cloud Print. GCP may not solve all your printing challenges, at least not yet. But with a company like Google behind it, with their ability to attract third party developers like NTware they don't have to do it all on there own.

That's my $0.02
Vince McHugh

PS: If you have or are planning to buy or use a Chromebook you will have to use Google Cloud Print to print from the Chrome OS. If you are using Chrome OS in a business or school UniFLOW can integrate GCP with an enterprise printing system.

Updated 05-28-2013 at 10:49 AM by Editor