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Google Chrome adds native PDF support


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 21 Jun 2010 at 11:57

The latest developer version of Google's Chrome browser includes native support for PDFs thanks to a next-generation browser plugin.

The developer release - Chrome, 6.0.437.3 for Linux, Mac, and Windows - debuts integrated support for PDFs using the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface.

The traditional browser plugin model, says Google in The Chromium Blog, needs updating because it brings challenges in terms of security, compatibility and performance.

According to the company, “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."

In a bid to improve security, Google says PDF functionality will be contained within the security “sandbox” Chrome uses for web page rendering.

However, Google admits it doesn’t yet support the whole range of advanced PDF features found in Adobe Reader, such as certain types of embedded media, and consumers seeking these advanced tools will have to launch Reader separately.

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User comments


I've got Preview to look at PDF files, I've gotten used to clicking on a PDF link and it being downloaded into my Downloads folder. I don't want to view it with my web browser...

By forquare1 on 21 Jun 2010

Why not?

Why on earth should I have to download and install plug-ins for different file formats? Surely it makes more sense just to be able to read them? As a Chrome user, almost the only reason I still use explorer is because it renders word and powerpoint documents in the browser rather than my having to download them.
Well done Google.

By widgy2 on 21 Jun 2010

Redesigning the Wheel

The Google PDF viewer is going to be slightly different to Adobe PDF viewer, Foxit PDF viewer, etc and it will require a lot of work to keep it up to date. Why can't they sandbox browser extensions if it is a security issue?

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