It looks like Google is hard at work developing improved printing and scanning software for Chrome OS.
9to5Google uncovered a wealth of new tweaks and code submitted by Chrome developers to the Chromium Gerrit, an online collaboration tool for sharing and merging code into Chromium. Chromium is the open-source foundation for Google’s Chrome browser, as well as other browsers like Opera and Microsoft’s new Edge.
Printing on Chrome OS has been a bit of a difficult task for the last few years. First, there was Google Cloud Print — which is shutting down at the end of 2020. Android app-based printing solutions followed that, and now there is a solution based on the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS).
However, Google began work on a new ‘Print Management app’ last month, which is hidden behind a Chrome OS-specific flag. Chrome flags are semi-hidden settings options used by developers to enable and test some features and are accessible by typing ‘chrome://flags’ into your address bar.
9to5 notes that Print Management is still in the early stages of development. Based on information gleaned from the Chromium Gerrit, it appears the app will be a web-based System Web App (SWA). Users will be able to launch Print Management from the Settings app and can use it to view recent print attempts with useful information like the name of the print job, the start time, whether it succeeded and which printer it was sent to. These are all things that were previously difficult or impossible to find with current Chrome OS printing solutions.
New scanning UI in the works as well
Along with the new Print Management app, it looks like Google is developing a user interface (UI) for interacting with scanners. As is, it can be difficult to scan paper documents with Chrome OS, so this is definitely a welcome change.
9to5 notes that the new UI will be included in the Print Management app, but at the moment is hidden behind a different Chrome OS flag.
Since work on these features is only just getting started, don’t expect them to arrive on your Chromebook anytime soon. At best, we can expect these features to arrive with Chrome OS 82 or 83 due out later this year.
Wait time aside, it’s good to see Google working on better printing and scanning solutions for Chrome OS. Considering the operating system is often used in education or business environments, having access to reliable, functioning print and scan systems is crucial.