Lose Your Desktop and Print From the Cloud

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Having a paperless office does not mean we do not use printers. In fact, I probably print as much as the next guy. With everything else moving towards the cloud, it appears printers are next. HP is introducing printers that can interact directly with the cloud, eliminating the desktop as a middle-man.

How it works

HP is introducing web-connected printers that will talk directly to your Google Apps account. This means that you can print straight from the cloud using the touchscreen interface on the new printers. You can also upload directly to the cloud using the scanner on the devices.

You can also access your printer from the web, meaning you can be sitting in traffic, and sending a document to the printer from your smart phone, so the document is waiting for you at the office.

From an efficiency standpoint, this type of printer could save you time, especially when you are running late, or running into the office on your way to court. Of course, you could also just plan ahead and print things in advance.

Is it secure?

Like all cloud based programs, this is my main concern. While you may be able to setup password protection on the printer, you still have another device that can access potentially client-sensitive data. Most documents printed, however, end up being served and/or filed, making them generally not confidential.

On the other hand, your printer can presumably access everything in your cloud, confidential or otherwise. I would be leery about granting access to a printer that is presumably is not considered a highly secure device.

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  • charles jannace

    I’m very interested in this type of printing, however, I hope that it will be possible to web print to pdf in addition to paper. It shouldn’t be too difficult to print to pdf either in the printer’s memory for retrieval later or, as the printer will be in a network environment, to the PC of your choice.

  • Occasionally, when my laptop is being sluggish, I wish I could print a doc via my Droid. I’d never get another HP printer, though. Mine (wireless, AIO) went through three color cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow) per month even though 95% of my printing was “black cartridge only.” HP says all of their printers use the color cartridges for “finishing” even if you use the black-ink setting. Spending $45/mo on color ink didn’t fly for long. I switched to a wireless laser printer and have been so much happier. If cloud-based printing catches on, hopefully its devotees can use a non-HP unit.

  • HP printers are great. The problem is that you got an inkjet for a document-intensive line of work. Inkjets really have no place in a law office. Spend a little bit more and get a laser.