For those who haven’t used ChromeOS, or those who have but have never needed to print, printing from Google’s Linux-based OS has always been kind of an issue. If you have a Google Cloud Print compatible Printer or a HP printer that works with their Chrome plugin you were set, otherwise printing was either a mission or outright impossible.
There were ways around this, if you had a computer sitting around doing nothing, you could put your printer on that, and connect it to Google’s Cloud Print to use it via Chrome, but for many, this was just hard, unrewarding work.
If a new Chrome flag found for the Canary build of ChromeOS is any indication, it looks as if full native printing is coming. The Native CUPS flag (Common Unix Printing System) allows Canary users of Chromes OS to install and manage printers from within Chrome OS settings:
CUPS is the defacto standard for printing on Linux and other Unix based systems, and most printers can be made to work with CUPS quite easily; CUPS can be used on other systems as well — Mac can use CUPS drivers — making it a fairly well universal option. That its coming to Chrome OS — an OS based on Linux underneath — really isn’t much of a surprise, but it is definitely a welcome arrival, even if its only in test for now.
There’s no guarantee that this will make it to the stable builds of Chrome OS, but I’d put my money on it doing so; printing is one of the main things that Chrome OS needs to nail to take on more traditional desktop / laptop systems, and in an educational environment, it’s an absolute must for network printing as well as Cloud. Security conscious people won’t want to use Google’s Cloud Print, which requires data to pass through Google’s servers, and local printing (or even local networked printing) via CUPS will be a very welcome arrival.
In the meantime, all you can do is make sure your next printer is Google Cloud Print compatible, which also makes printing from Android easy!