Google's Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices could soon have a dedicated app for print job management. That's based on recently spotted commit in the Chromium Gerrit code repository. Details about what might be included in the app are still somewhat slim since work on the feature is just getting started. But the commit does introduce a "feature flag for the print job management app" to the underlying code.
If the app works anything like how these utilities do on other platforms, it won't necessarily be too groundbreaking. Instead, it will mostly be used as these features on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS do. That would mean the addition of a user interface for notifying users of print problems and progress. Diagnostics for problems may also be included in that.
Following on the death of Google Cloud Print for Chromebooks
Google could take its print job management quite a bit further on Chromebooks too. As things currently stand, the print interface in Chrome OS isn't great. It's predominantly tied in with the same interface used on other platforms in the Chrome browser itself. That means it's sparse and missing plenty of features.
That's because printing in Chrome OS is still evolving. Announced last year, users won't be able to use the initially-launched print service — Google Cloud Print — in the very near future. The company unveiled in November that support for the feature would be dropped in December of 2020.
That move followed the addition of traditional local printing on Chromebooks in 2017, which has since been iterated on. But printing in Chrome OS never really stopped being convoluted or difficult. And there has been no real way for users to go about managing ongoing print jobs on Chromebooks. That's a problem in both education and enterprise but also for the average user since it means printing multiple jobs is effectively done blind.
The addition of print job management brings things a step closer toward more localized printing. It wouldn't be surprising to see Google continue in that direction.
This isn't just about printing but it probably won't come soon either
The timing of the appearance of the new feature in the Chromium Gerrit is hardly surprising. As noted above, it's still in its early stages but the company may ultimately decide to release print job management alongside the official death of Google Cloud Print for Chromebooks. That would place its release around December, although Google could also hold off releasing it until later on.
Supporting that, the source also spotted hints that the new print job management app will go beyond standard notifications. Namely, work appears to be underway to add in an interface associated with document scanning. That's a huge step forward in terms of taking full advantage of modern printer technology.
In the interim, the feature will be experimental in Chrome OS. That means it will need to be turned on manually by users in developer and beta channels if they want early access. The feature will, initially, be tucked behind the "#print-job-management-app" flag at the hidden "chrome://flags" menu.