Back in March, we discovered that Chrome OS developers were working on a project that would finally bring printing on Chromebooks into the 21st century. The updates included a new Print Jobs system app that will allow users to monitor active printers and view completed print jobs. The Print Jobs app, fingers crossed, should eventually give users the ability to see printing errors and the status of connected printers to view things such as ink levels, paper jams and what have you.
In the mix of all the printer updates, we also unearthed a “Scan” app for Chrome OS. I presumed that this would be a tool for scanning documents from printers connected to the same network. That presumption was correct. A recent update to the Canary channel of Chrome OS brought forth the flag for the Scan app and just this past week, opening the app actually allowed me to access the flatbed scanner of the HP Envy Pro 6400 printer we have here in the office. Sadly, that was all that I could do. The button that you would push to initiate the scan was simply not there. I saw a commit last week adding the “scan” button. So, I have been waiting impatiently with each Canary update for the feature to arrive. Yesterday, my impatience was rewarded.
The UI for the Scan tool is completely lacking any styling at the moment but much to my surprise, it actually works just as it should. With the flag enabled, the Scap app appears in the app launcher along with all my other applications and launching it brings up a simple web app that shows available printers/scanners and a scan button. I was also presented with the option to switch from the flatbed of the HP to the document feeder. That, of course, will vary depending on your printer. Still, it worked and I successfully scanned the document that was on the flatbed.
As I mentioned, the interface is still unfinished. I don’t think developers need to make it very fancy but I’m sure that we will see some styling adding and a more Material Design look will be applied in future updates. My scanned image was saved to the My Files folder instead of the default downloads folder and the image was a bit grainy. I would bet that developers are exploring the option of adding the ability to select the desired DPI to create sharper images when needed. For text, the scanner would probably be fine in its current state but images are going to need to be much sharper for this to be useful. Anyway, it’s awesome to see this actually working. I hope that developers will get this polished up and moving to Stable very soon. It will be a very useful tool for countless users and will mark one more item off of the shrinking list of things you “can’t do” with your Chromebook.