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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cloud Printing....?

Good old What They Think has sends me an email about Google "Cloud Printing"...
What is that, you might ask?  Well, according to Google, its this (from Google):

Cloud-aware Printer

"The ideal experience is for your printer to have native support for connecting to cloud print services. Under this model, the printer has no need for a PC connection of any kind or for a print driver. The printer is simply registered with one or more cloud print services and awaits print jobs. Cloud-aware printers don't exist yet, but one of our main goals in publishing this information at an early stage is to begin engaging industry leaders and the community in developing cloud-aware printers and the necessary open protocols for these printers to communicate with cloud print services. We believe cloud printing has tremendous benefits for end users and for the industry and is essential, given the rapid shift toward cloud-based applications and data storage. We also believe that the only way that the benefits of cloud printing can be realized is if the protocols are open, freely implementable, and, when possible, based on existing industry standards. We expect there to be multiple cloud print services, and users should have a choice in which services they use and which printers they can connect to a service. Stay tuned for more details. We are confident that cloud-aware printers will soon be a reality   "

Where to begin with all this...

Let's start with "no need for a PC connection".  About 10 years ago I bought a little Xerox printer called the N40.  It produces (to this day) 40 pages a minute B/W.  Remarkably this little guy sports an internal FTP server, a web print server and support for various IP-based printing protocols.  The later meaning that, if I opened up my fire wall, I could print to it from anywhere in the world.  Now, there are a lot of reasons why opening up my firewall might be a bad idea, but I could do it.  So cross off "no need for a PC connection"

So let's think for a minute about the context in which one might say what they are saying.  First, you'd have to be so stupid as to not have used (in the technical "read the manual to see what it does" sense) a modern office printer because clearly all this fancy networking capability is at least a decade old.  I never had much respect for the people that work at Google but this really takes the cake.  I suppose that something like causing a piece of bleached white paper to have toxic chemicals melted onto it by a power hungry, un-green, naked electrical heating element is probably not what goes on in their company offices - but, perhaps after a decade or so of operation, the need has finally arisen

Now let's think about "awaits print jobs".  In today's world about the first thing you will find when you get a new email address, web site, etc. is that spam and hackery from all over the planet will immediately arrive unsolicited.  So my guess is that every Russian wanna-be-your-wife (sorry to be sexist but, presuming the web to be gender neutral, at least so far no Russian men have been soliciting me) on the planet will now be able to cause her no-doubt flawlessly beautiful image to print in your office without your permission.  I imagine that Google will have to invent a new protocol to ensure that these images all involve only "fully clothed" potential brides.  (Imagine the office fun when the purveyors of "porn spam" or ex-significant other web sites find these printers.)

Now let's think about cost.  Good old B/W is very cheap - so I suppose I really won't mind when a potential Russian bride sends my printer tens of thousands of pictures of her very best friends to print.  No where do I see discussion of how those who on the printers get paid for the expense of operating them - no tracking of resources used, nothing.  So I suppose that when little highschool Johnny sexts a naked picture of his under-age girl friend to mom or dad's office printer not only will there be hell to pay with the authorities but mom or dad's boss will be forced to eat the cost of the printing fun.
Looking over their site listed above we also see that Google will support PDF and PPD's.

I haven't run across PPD's in many years but its good to see clueless fools resurrect a complete disaster in the name of "open, freely implementable" protocols. 

I think PPDs' will have to have their own post...

Its bad enough Google owns you email, your pictures, and everything else you wantonly stuff into its awaiting maw.  So now we can add "print jobs" to the mix.

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