Before we read about cloud printing, it is essential to know what exactly is cloud computing. Cloud computing technology enables its users to work independently on computing resources that are available or accessible from a specific location or from a specific device. Computer resource from a centralized location provides accessibility to remote computers at different locations using internet connectivity. Service provides like Google, Apple and Microsoft use centralized resources to store the data of its users which can be accessed by any device with internet connectivity. Cloud computing therefore helps users to access their data from any location at any time.
Cloud printing follows the same concept and enables printing through the web. If a computer or any device has access to internet, it can send print jobs to a printer, irrespective of the location of the printer. The advantage of cloud printing is that it eliminates the need to install print drivers or to check the compatibility of the device with the printer. Cloud already has readily installed drivers required for all printers that are linked with the cloud. Printers that are cloud enabled are able to directly connect to the internet without having any specific set up from a personal computer.
For cloud printing to be enabled, a user has to register the printers to avail this service that allows the servers located at the end of the service provider to send the printing job directly to the printers. It is also possible to make classic printers cloud ready, by connecting it to an internet enabled computer in which a software connector has been already installed. It is this software connector that helps the printer to connect to the cloud. Cloud providers and cloud enabled printer manufacturer's work in the printing industry.
The providers of cloud printing maintain several servers or resources to route request for printing from a user's end to printing enabled printers. The requests may be either redirected to the printer immediately by the service provider or depending on the preference of the user. 'Google Cloud Print', 'HP Mag Cloud' and 'eprint', 'PrintMe' from Xerox, DTP systems etc are some of the major players in the cloud printing service provider's field.
Cloud printing is becoming more and more user-friendly by the day with service providers offering options like uploading or mailing content matter to an Email ID (provided by 'PrintMe') where users can enter 'PrintMe' in order to print the emailed content. Another facility provided by 'Google Print' is a printing service via chrome extension through Google account to both classic printers and cloud enabled printers.
Users have the advantage of getting a printout without depending on any device for data storage or bothering about the printer drivers available and operating system compatibility or without even switching on their personal computers. It is also possible for users to get printable versions of the required content and merchants can commercialize their content without depending on any infrastructure for printing being installed at their site. Eco-friendliness and drastic reduction in printing paper wastage is another advantage of cloud printing.