Cloud Print is more than just a printing system for Chrome OS. "Our goal is to build a printing experience that enables any app (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer anywhere in the world," said Google officials.
With widespread support, this development could significantly simplify printing. Not only would it remove the need to install drivers (or PostScript configuration files) for almost every new printer, it would also allow a common print dialog across hardware and operating systems, and potentially extend that standardisation to devices such as the iPad.
It might not make much sense to route a print job from your desktop computer to a printer in the same room (or even elsewhere in the same building) via a server that might be on a different continent, but an in-house Cloud Server would keep the traffic local. And you'd still be able to print a document while you're on the on the road and have it waiting in the tray when you return.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Cloud Print is the potential reduction in the development and administration effort surrounding print drivers. If we get to the stage where cloud-aware printers are the norm, vendors will be freed of the need to develop or source print drivers for multiple operating systems. Or, for that matter, to rewrite the drivers each time a major operating system changes.
The corollary is that printer support wouldn't be an Achilles' heel for a hypothetical new operating system: Cloud Print support would provide compatibility with all those printers, as well as legacy printers that are accessible through proxies.
Furthermore, system administrators wouldn't need to configure computers and other devices with particular print drivers, nor have to update them at intervals. It might be necessary to update the printer firmware from time to time, but that will be a lesser effort - especially if vendors design their cloud-aware printers with remote management in mind.