Last week, Google released a new beta version of Chrome, version number 8.0.522.28. The big news is that this release has an integrated PDF viewer, allowing users to view PDF files within the browser sans third party applications or plug-ins. According to Google’s John Abd-El-Malek, the Chrome PDF viewer also runs in its own “sandbox,” providing an extra layer of security.
Shockingly, Google went with a clean, minimalistic look for the PDF viewer interface. Check out the screenshot below:
The spartan interface includes a total of four buttons in the form of a floating toolbar on the bottom right hand side of the page. The first two buttons allow the user to toggle between standard and wide-screen viewing, and the second pair of buttons allow zooming in and out. Just like in Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader, hitting CTRL-S lets you save the PDF file to your hard drive, as well.
Loading various PDFs worked well in my testing, and I have no complaints in either the speed or stability departments. I did miss a few of the features included in more full-featured plug-ins, such as the ability to flip from page to page with a single click—browsing PDFs with the Chrome viewer requires a lot of scrolling. For casual, quick-and-dirty PDF browsing, however, it’s hard to beat the convenience Chrome offers in this latest release. Google hasn’t confirmed when this feature will come out of beta, but version 8.0 of Chrome is probably a good guess.