Feeds

Google hugs Adobe harder with Chrome-PDF merge

'Long live the plug-in!'

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

After announcing plans to integrate Adobe Flash with its Chrome browser, Google is now integrating a PDF reader as well.

On Friday, Mountain View rolled out Chrome developer builds for Windows and Mac that include a PDF viewer based on NPAPI Pepper, the revamped plug-in model Google originally developed for use with its Native Client setup. Native Client, a plug-in that runs native code inside the browser, will play an "important role" (Google's words) in the company's Chrome OS, due on netbooks this fall.

NPAPI Pepper is an update to the Netscape Plug-in Application Programming Interface (NPAPI), and though Google says Mozilla is supporting the effort, it's not yet available with Firefox or any other non-Google browser. The new model is also used by the Flash plug-in that was integrated with Chrome dev-channel builds in late March.

"As we’ve previously mentioned, the traditional browser plug-in model, though powerful, presents challenges in compatibility, performance, and security. To overcome this, we’ve been working with the web community to help define a next generation browser plug-in API," Google engineering director Marc Pawlige says in a blog post.

"We have begun using this API to improve the experience of viewing and interacting with PDF files in Google Chrome. This mirrors our efforts to optimize the Adobe Flash Player experience in Chrome."

Yes, part of Google wants you to believe that it's pushing the world towards the standard web stack, but other parts are doing their best to keep plug-ins alive. Particularly Adobe plug-ins. Following Steve Jobs' fatwa on Adobe, Google has taken pity on the company.

Google's PDF viewer is not on by default. To activate it, you must visit "chrome://plugins". In the "coming weeks," however, with a future dev build, Google will flip the default switch. The company is also working on a Linux dev build with built-in PDF support.

The plug-in doesn't do everything that the Adobe Reader does. It can't handle, for instance, certain embedded media — but at some point Google will allow users to install the full Adobe Reader separately, and the company says it would "like to" work with Adobe to integrate all Reader tools with Chrome.

Yes, the PDF plug-in is contained in a security sandbox, and though Google says the PDF rendering quality needs some improving, it claims that "PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML web pages" and that "basic interactions will be no different than the same interactions with web pages." This includes zooming and searching.

You can find the new builds here. The builds also offer extension-syncing, faster scrolling on Mac OS 10.6, and various big fixes for Mac and Linux. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.