Chrome 6 will have PDF viewing built in

Not content to build Flash into Chrome, Google now intends to make Adobe Reader an unnecessary download, as well. The company says the latest developer version of Chrome features an embedded PDF reader, which can be enabled from the chrome://plugins page.

Bypassing Adobe’s Reader plug-in has several advantages, in Google’s view:

  • PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML web pages, and basic interactions will be no different than the same interactions with web pages (for example, zooming and searching will work as users expect). PDF rendering quality is still a work in progress, and we will improve it substantially before releasing it to the beta and stable channels.
  • To further protect users, PDF functionality will be contained within the security "sandbox" Chrome uses for web page rendering.
  • Users will automatically receive the latest version of Chrome’s PDF support; they won’t have to worry about manually updating any plug-ins or programs.

There’s a caveat right now, however: "we do not support 100% of the advanced PDF features found in Adobe Reader," the company says. Google adds that it wants to work with the Adobe Reader developers on bringing full PDF support via its next-gen browser plug-in interface.

Building Flash into the browser is one thing; coding up an embedded PDF reader seems like a much grander project, one that might bring more users into the Chrome fold. After all, who hasn’t watched their browser bog down or even crash because of the Adobe Reader plug-in? A quick, responsive, and easy-to-use PDF viewing alternative could go a long way.

Comments closed
    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago

    Anyone ever open a -[

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 9 years ago

    Brilliant! Browsers sure are developing into complicated and full featured applications…

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve been using Foxit reader with mozilla for a while now… good enough for me, but i do hope Mozilla will also do the same as Chrome…

    • Peffse
    • 9 years ago

    Ironic that they don’t support 100% PDF features. Isn’t the goal of PDF to be a standard everyone can use? To have everyone see the same thing?

    I don’t know. I hate the PDF standard. I always thought it’s just a scanned picture at best.

    • crabjokeman
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm. I wonder if it’s based on Linux’s libpoppler PDF library?

    • rostam
    • 9 years ago

    this is welcome news. recently i’ve been using the google docs pdf extension which does much the same thing except it renders pages in the cloud rather than locally.

      • dlenmn
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve been using it too. The problem is, while it works alright for rendering publicly accessible PDFs, it doesn’t work at all for gated PDFs (no surprise — if google can’t download it, google can’t render it). Since I spend a fair amount of time accessing science journals, that means I have to fire up firefox a lot.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    This sounds like good news to me.

    Better news would be Adobe going bankrupt, followed by Autodesk.

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 years ago

      Let us all pray for that better news.

    • joselillo_25
    • 9 years ago

    Adobe: best business vision in the industry with laziest programmers ever!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    I do alot of printing to PDF via CutePDF’s free writer. I wonder if I could get Chrome to open those PDFs as well?

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah I don’t use Adobe Reader, I use Sumatra… it is small, fast and easy to use. It doesn’t integrate into the browser, and I honestly don’t miss that feature.

    • Generic
    • 9 years ago

    Would it be wrong to plug Fox-It Reader in the mean time?

    Beats the snot out of Reader in terms of speed in my experience.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, I like Foxit as well. Nice, quick reader.

    • SNM
    • 9 years ago

    Well this is good news. Chrome is pretty bad at dealing with PDFs.

    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    I want a standalone version. Adobe Reader is slow, unstable and has more security holes than Windows itself these days.

    • odizzido
    • 9 years ago

    reader is such a pile. Every time I need to actually read a PDF I thank god I have foxit.

    • Kharnellius
    • 9 years ago

    Yes! This will be awesome!

    • Helmore
    • 9 years ago

    There is an Adobe Reader available for Android, which runs on ARM.

    Sorry, was meant as a reply to comment #1

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Reader is pointless bloatware, whether it crashes or not. Adobe needs to get the message.

      They’re just taking baby steps. If I may make a lame video game analogy, you have to finish the lesser stages before you take on the boss at the end.

    • thecoldanddarkone
    • 9 years ago

    I haven’t had the adobe reader plugin crash my browser in awhile. Flash on the….

    • Shining Arcanine
    • 9 years ago

    This was needed for Google Chrome OS, because Adobe does not support PDFs on all platforms, most notably ARM. Watch Google write its own Flash plugin soon too.

      • sparkman
      • 9 years ago

      Agreed, except that duplicating Flash will be far more difficult for Google than simply displaying PDF’s is.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        the open source community has done a pretty good job, I’m sure with Google’s pockets it wouldn’t be too hard to get them up to snuff.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, and then Apple will make Windows programs work natively in OSX, and also, hell will freeze over. :p

      Google is banking on HTML5. That’s their “Flash plugin.”

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