Google’s Chrome OS offshoot for easier corporate deployment and management, Chrome Enterprise, now has native managed printing functionality. What this means, in the simplest possible terms, is that the admin of a given group of Chrome Enterprise devices can now add, remove, and change print settings on networked printers on a deployment-wide basis directly through the Google admin console, with no need for third-party software of any sort. Naturally, things are easier for employees, too; all they have to do is pick an admin-added printer or add an admin-enabled printer, and they’re in business. Printing directly via USB on printers with that functionality can also be natively managed.
Chrome Enterprise, like any other version of Chrome OS, required third-party print management up until now. This change implements native functionality within the OS, using Common UNIX Printing System as a backend. This uses the commonly used Internet Printing Protocol, which makes the system easily extensible. Giving employees privileges beyond simply printing, or working with printers that may have an oddball setup or extra capabilities like faxing can all be done with the same code that could be used in a UNIX-compatible program, in any compatible language. The native functionality means that no extra work is required at deployment, and management is done as easily as any other component of a Chrome OS deployment.
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Chrome Enterprise was first announced back in August, and brings a wide range of extra features over the normal version of Chrome OS. The new features, naturally, are aimed at administrating, deploying, and managing Chrome OS systems more easily in an enterprise environment, and extending their capabilities to make the devices more useful to employees. Features like managed Google Play, Microsoft Active Directory integration, kiosk mode, theft protection, and managed updates are all baked right in. Vanilla Chrome OS was already a fairly management-friendly system, but was somewhat lacking in enterprise features that bring its usefulness and extensibility in range of a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. Chrome Enterprise was Google’s answer to that, and is now starting to pick up new features that will put it even further above the normal version of Chrome OS for enterprise deployment going forward.