Google Chrome Built-In PDF Viewer
Yeah! Google Chrome is finally getting with the program. Well, part of it anyway.
A blog post announced that Google Chrome beta is getting a built-in PDF reader. That means that I will no longer have to have a temporary directory to download PDF files into manually just so that I can click on the downloaded file to open it up in my PDF viewer. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer have been able to handle this for years via useful, easy to use, extensions and plug-ins.
The developers of Chrome no doubt claim that their browser lacked such basic functionality because of security reasons. I never like this answer. As the user, I should get to make the decisions about how I do or do not want such things implemented. It’s the same reason that I hate how Microsoft IE has no option to automatically re-open the last browsing session for "privacy reasons." But, it is what it is.
Now, Chrome has a PDF viewer installed by default. When I click PDF links, they should just open and display within Chrome instead of having to open them later in Foxit Reader. According to the blog, the PDF files will be sandboxed. That means that today’s run of the mill PDF exploits won’t work when the file is viewed in Chrome. Guess the hackers will have to come up with something new. In the meantime, it would be nice if Adobe could pull their heads out long enough to make their reader more secure. Oh, and lighter and less bloated would be nice too.
With a PDF reader built into Chrome, the last major feature missing that is keeping Chrome from becoming anything more than my "lightweight" browser is a Print Preview function. Nothing prints with less consistency or more waste than webpages, which makes print preview a critical function for anyone who prints anything off of the Internet more than once in a blue moon. As a freelance technology writer, I need to be able to not only find data and information, but to digest it, compare it to other data, and then keep that data should anyone ever raise any questions about it. Something like Zotero, or OneNote, or a bunch of screenshots helps, but nothing makes an editor feel warm and fuzzy like good old paper.
The ongoing irony about Chrome is that as a browser by the techies and for the techies, it has managed to produce some amazing features, functions, and speed, but it has some glaring holes that are very big deals for the average computer user that Google insists should just be fixed by an extension, or when they really don’t like it, that you "don’t really need it anyway."
Here is to the new PDF viewer. May you be as stable and garbage-free as the built-in Flash support. In fact, may Google build in all Adobe products and extensions so that finally someone can do so in a way that isn’t overstuffed, unsecure, and instable.