Native PDF rendering coming to Google Chrome

In line with getting the Chrome OS ready for shipment in the last quarter of this year, Google has been adding more features to Chrome, its base browser for the Chrome OS. Tonight on the Chromium blog, a new feature addition is the ability to render PDF files directly in the browser like any other webpage.

“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).”

This and other developments on the Chrome browser makes me rethink my earlier views of what the Chrome OS is. More importantly, functions and features like this seem small, but added up, they become great factors in wooing people away from other browsers and winning Chrome more market share. Not to mention being a big threat to the now obese Firefox.
They warn however, that advanced PDF features will still require a separate launch of Adobe Reader.

“Currently, we do not support 100% of the advanced PDF features found in Adobe Reader, such as certain types of embedded media. However, for those users who rely on advanced features, we plan to give them the ability to launch Adobe Reader separately.”

They are however working with the Adobe Reader team to get all those features to work natively in the browser via the “next generation browser plugin.

3 Replies to “Native PDF rendering coming to Google Chrome”

  1. This is cool and all, but PDF faces the same problem as HTML. It is a presentation format. I.e. it is made with focus on how things look. This is fine as long as the content is created for humans intended for human eyes only.

    However, the data on the web can be used in (often entirely unexpected) ways (just look at all the Twitter, Google Maps, etc. spinoffs/mash-ups). The reason these things are possible is because the data is structured and easily accessible. This is not the case with PDF. PDF (and to a lesser extent HTML) hide that actual data in tons of markup and formatting which is completely irrelevant to the actual data.

    In conclusion, to me this is a step in the wrong direction. We should rather be working at decoupling data from presentation.

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