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Google Builds a Native PDF Reader Into Chrome

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the hugging-adobe-harder dept.

Google 285

An anonymous reader writes "Google's latest Chrome 6 Developer Update comes with a few subtle GUI changes, but there is also a major update under the hood. As its ties with Adobe quite apparently grow stronger, there is not just an integrated Flash player, but also a native PDF reader in the latest version of Chrome 6. Google says the native reader will allow users to interact with PDF files just like they do with regular HTML pages. The reader is included in Chrome versions (Chromium) 6.0.437.1 and higher, and you can use the feature after you have enabled it manually in the plug-ins menu. That is, of course, if you can keep Chrome 6 alive — Windows users have reported frequent crashes, and Google has temporarily suspended the update progress to find out what is going on." The Register has some more details on the PDF plugin and a link to Google's blog post about it.

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Awesome (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628072)

Let me be the first to say, its absolutely awesome!

PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628080)

The article contains this statement:

PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML

Does this mean that the PDF pages are translated into HTML pages then displayed? I always thought that one of the main strengths of PDF was that the author has 100% control over how it is presented. Or am I misunderstanding that feature?

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628140)

Hopefully it means people can drop this HTML crap and design pages which look how the author intended, always, everywhere, and not only if they have this or that version of a browser.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628324)

Yeah, because a web page should look exactly the same on my smartphone as it does on my 1080p display....

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628352)

Yeah, because a web page should look exactly the same on my smartphone as it does on my 1080p display....

I don't think the OP understands the purpose of a markup language, a browser, or the idea the pages should render gracefully on different devices. And that's okay so long as he's not a Web developer.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

xOneca (1271886) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628358)

I think web pages should adapt to the device, but if the pages comply with HTML standard, then they should render same on both devices, shouldn't them?

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628464)

No, they shouldn't. That's the fundamental idea behind a markup language, separate data from presentation.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628810)

And that idea has remained a pipe dream. You'd be hard pressed to find a website that actually manages to separate presentation and content.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628528)

No

The rendering of a html page depends on all sorts of factors. For starters there is window size, on a html page widths generally determine the flowing of the content unless a moronic web designer forces them to do otherwise. Then there is fonts. Heck there are web browsers that run on text terminals. Fonts are likely to be substituted depening on the platform and the particular install which will also affect the sizing of stuff.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628542)

I would think that the point of HTML compliance would be so that the web page renders correctly for the viewing area used. I mean, I don't really need buttons for "forward" and "backward" to look the same, as long as I get the same functionality, so if someone uses a big honking button on the regular page, if I have a mobile device, it should be able to be dynamically replaced with something that indicates "this does X, this was placed here to improve functionality on this device." As long as a browser can correctly interpret where the headers, body, content, banners, etc. are, I don't know why that would be a bad thing. Well, besides "My artistic vision is RUINED!" cries from designers. (Sorry, I place functionality over pretty, so I'm kinda biased here)

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628514)

perhaps they should. Things aren't the same as when the web was invented - where mostly text and a couple of inline images have been replaced with "content-rich" skillfully-designed layout. Ok, maybe you need to be a graphic design person to feel their pain here, but perhaps that web page *should* render the same on your smartphone as it does on your TV. Naturally, you'll be able to zoom in and out to make it readable (unless they offer 2 versions of the page, like high/low bandwidth versions, or single-column versions with fewer sidebars).

Ask yourself why a webpage should render differently on your phone (using exactly the same source). I could understand the same content being displayed differently using an alternative stylesheet (aka zengarden, which is remendously cool) but not that the same page be displayed completely differently yet still having the same wide sidebars on your phone.

I can't say that PDF is the answer however!

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628562)

> Ask yourself why a webpage should render differently on your phone (using exactly the same source).

Because my phone (N900) has a 3.5 inch 800x480 screen(and that's considered a lot for a phone), my computer has a 1600x1200 20 inch screen I view from about 18 inches away, and my TV has a 52 inch screen I view from ~7 feet away.

Any other questions?

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628664)

Exactly, my phone's got a paltry 480*360 display, trying to display the same presentation on that and a 1080p display is going to be either a complete waste of space on the 1080p or an exercise in frustration on the phone. Luckily we have css and it's a simple matter of using a mobile style sheet to make well designed pages display just fine on the phone. The tv has 12x as much screen realestate so it's pretty much impossible to make a functional design that takes good advantage of both devices unless you separate data and presentation which luckily is exactly what HTML does =)

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628740)

Have you tried to view a regular webpage on a phone? Constant zooming SUCKS!

For comparison, upload some documents and look at these two sites:
docs.google.com [anonymouse.org]
docs.google.com/m [anonymouse.org]

They are a world apart. The first is an example of abject horror on a mobile phone.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628848)

>>>Things aren't the same as when the web was invented - where mostly text and a couple of inline images

And that's a shame. The web was faster then, and cleaner as well. There's no need to fill a browser with a bunch of flashing images, sounds, and videos like a TV. The scifi.com site won an award (circa 1995) for being one of the best-designed websites, and I think it's still a hell of a lot nicer-looking than most of the overloaded BS that exists today.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628826)

>>>Hopefully it means people can drop this HTML crap and design pages which look how the author intended, always, everywhere, and not only if they have this or that version of a browser.

Actually PDF sucks for this purpose. It typically looks like a 8.5 x 11" page, which does properly fit onto a screen. In contrast HTML can "reflow" and display a readable page whether you're using a widescreen LCD, a standard shape CRT, or an old laptop with just 800x600 resolution. That is a strength not a weakness.

If HTML does not display across these three screen shapes I just described, then the web developer is doing a poor job (imho)
.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (4, Informative)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628160)

Or am I misunderstanding that feature?

Saying "PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML" is not the same as "PDF files will render as HTML".

So, yes, I think you misunderstand.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (4, Informative)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628174)

Actually google already has an excellent online PDF viewer, it seems to display PDFs as an image, but still manages selection of words, searching and copying. Here is a sample IRS PDF [google.com] I wouldnt be surprised, if the same code was converted into a chrome plugin.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (2, Informative)

jcwayne (995747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628408)

There is an extension [google.com] that automatically converts links to PDFs into links to the viewer version. It also handles PPT and "other documents".

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628790)

I myself use the FF extension [mozilla.org] . This has been my primary PDF/DOC/PPT viewer for awhile now.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (1)

maird (699535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628458)

There is a pretty big "seam" between clicking on a pdf link to it being usable as a document in Firefox (IE too I imagine). It wouldn't require conversion of the pdf to html to close that, just render it in-place, in-process using native pdf rendering code as is being described. Presumably it will also allow for tidy nested references to pdf documents in html where the pdf is rendered in-place. Heck, if google have form input support in their pdf code and provide some access to the field names and contents from the hosting html document's scripts then it might help with reproducible printed output in web apps without leaving the app, a topic that came up in a previous story today. To preserve the intent of pdf I suppose it would still have to be framed in those scenarios though.

Re:PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML? (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628766)

I always thought that one of the main strengths of PDF was that the author has 100% control over how it is presented. Or am I misunderstanding that feature?

I think you are. PDFs aren't read-only. PDFs aren't secure (well, unless you have some DRM package installed, and even then it's debatable). PDFs will, in the absence of anything else, present like the author wanted. But they are easily edited, modified, redacted, and such. I know people that think "If I send it as a PDF, they won't be able to just copy the text off it, and they can't just change a couple things in it and send it on to someone else like it was mine." Both are incorrect. So yes, you are misunderstanding that feature. It is so that you know they can open it, not that you know they can't modify it. Those are unrelated issues, and it just happens that most people don't bother to get programs that let them modify PDFs and they aren't necessarily easily modified, so they aren't modified regularly in practice.

THIS IS A PROBLEM !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628084)

This is not a good thing for all concerned !!

Chrome, you're losing me! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628086)

I started using Chrome because it was an improvement over the other browsers. It was faster, it used less memory, and it was more crash-resistant. But I have not been impressed with the latest versions.

Everyone knows about them removing http:// from the URL bar already. Their reasoning was, to put it politely, complete horseshit. That was a change they never should have made.

Embedding Flash natively is good for YouTube, no doubt, but bad for everyone who doesn't want to support or use something that is so shitty and proprietary.

One of the last things I ever wanted was native PDF support in my browser. Just like with Flash, I go out of my way to avoid PDFs.

As much as I dislike proprietary software, these recent Chrome developments are driving me to Opera. Opera is faster than Chrome, manages memory better, and never crashes. While their code isn't open source, at least they embrace open and truly free standards. Until the Chrome developers get their acts together, I'm done with it.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (5, Insightful)

asvravi (1236558) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628122)

Whether you like it or not, use it or not, have a choice or not, the fact is both Flash and Adobe Reader will be there anyway on 99% of the PCs. Google is to be appreciated for taking them under its fold so to speak - instead of leaving them as separate addons that never get into the final browser build testing and regression testing. Integrating these and testing and deploying it as a whole package is certainly better for stability as well as security.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628188)

From a security point of view, I'd feel better if Google wrote their own PDF implementation. Far be it for me to read TFA, but I get the impression that this code comes from Adobe, whose software generally makes me nervous.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628370)

From a security point of view, I'd feel better if Google wrote their own PDF implementation. Far be it for me to read TFA, but I get the impression that this code comes from Adobe, whose software generally makes me nervous.

I tend to agree. Whether or not you like Google's corporate policies, the fact is that most of their software releases are competently executed. The same cannot be said for Adobe. I've had to use their libraries in the past, and had to contact their developer support (I use the term loosely.) The responses I received were usually along the lines of "the function call operates as intended according to the documentation." The fact that it did no such thing didn't seem to make much difference. That was a few years ago though, so possibly they've improved.

But yeah. I'd rather Google had handled it.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628864)

The same cannot be said for Adobe. I've had to use their libraries in the past, and had to contact their developer support (I use the term loosely.) The responses I received were usually along the lines of "the function call operates as intended according to the documentation." The fact that it did no such thing didn't seem to make much difference. That was a few years ago though, so possibly they've improved.

Allow me to dispel your illusions: Adobe's C++ Boost-accepted Generic Image Library (or GIL) [boost.org]

But who knows. I don't. This may be Adobe's only noteworthy library.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628568)

From a security point of view, I'd feel better if Google wrote their own PDF implementation. Far be it for me to read TFA, but I get the impression that this code comes from Adobe, whose software generally makes me nervous.

Bingo! I was about to post the exact same sentiment. I don't get why people are so against PDF... it's a freaking document format, for crying out loud. That said, one of the downsides is that Adobe's implementation is typically bloated and full of bugs. Had Google gone and wrote their own PDF renderer, that would have actually been very cool and likely way more secure.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (5, Informative)

Zarel (900479) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628660)

From a security point of view, I'd feel better if Google wrote their own PDF implementation. Far be it for me to read TFA, but I get the impression that this code comes from Adobe, whose software generally makes me nervous.

I've read it for you. The code doesn't come from Adobe, Google wrote it themselves. It also uses Google's new sandboxed plugin API, so it would be less of a security concern even if it did.

(I'm surprised you got two replies who also didn't RTFA.)

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628804)

Google did write it themselves, but they have shown interest in implementing 'embedded media' supported by Adobe Reader. I DO NOT want a SWF in a PDF, or support for running arbitrary executables (which is part of the official PDF spec). I understand supporting PDF in the browser, but I don't want the features that are just bad practice and have no real world use besides infecting my machine.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628682)

From a vulnerability point of view, this is a non-concern. Just like with Flash before it, the PDF plugin can be disabled in the options menu. "Integration into the browser" is FUD spread by people unfamiliar with Chrome because of their anti-Google and anti-Adobe sentiments.

From a security point of view, this is a step forward. For the last 12 years, 90% of users had Flash and PDF versions that weren't updated, ever. With Google's Flash bundling, this was solved at last -- it now silently updates on its own. Adobe's PDF reader has its own semi-manual (!) updater program, but IME most users don't allow it to run.

I don't think this is Adobe's implementation. If it were, it would be too fucking slow to use. But this is only a guess of mine.

As for Google's new PDF plugin, I'll probably leave it disabled. I don't feel that a PDF has any business being rendered inside a web browser. OTOH, all stand-alone PDF reader products suck. So I will probably use a Google-Docs-convert extension, or a PDF-Block extension with click-to-enable.

(BTW, when will people learn? Google isn't an idealist-run company like some perceive Apple to be. From their Flash promotion, to H264 codec inclusion, to Java Android SDK, and bare-bone web services, it's apparent that Google only cares about the end result, and not about the quality of what sits in-between.)

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628194)

Can you people make up your mind? On one hand, you continually tell us that it's a bad idea to have Seamonkey-style applications that contain all sorts of functionality. You proclaim that it's not modular enough. So we create minimalistic browsers that can be extended via extensions and plugins. But now you're telling us that it's good to include unnecessary functionality within the core browser? Please, just make up your mind. Don't tell us that modularity is essential, only go turn around and advocate absolutely non-modular implementations like this.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (3, Insightful)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628392)

There's more than one person amongst the geek community. People can have differing opinions even when identifying under a common label. Shocking, I know.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628394)

Can you people make up your mind? On one hand, you continually tell us that it's a bad idea to have Seamonkey-style applications that contain all sorts of functionality. You proclaim that it's not modular enough. So we create minimalistic browsers that can be extended via extensions and plugins. But now you're telling us that it's good to include unnecessary functionality within the core browser? Please, just make up your mind. Don't tell us that modularity is essential, only go turn around and advocate absolutely non-modular implementations like this.

Ha ... people's opinions on this subject do seem a bit schizoid at times. The problem is that sometimes you want something to just be there so that it's consistent for everyone, other times you want extensibility and in all cases you want performance and security. It's called "having your cake and eating it too."

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628454)

If they "just want it to be there", then why not include it as a bundled extension, so it's there by default, but let those of us who don't want to deal with shit like Flash and PDF disable it easily.

Web browser performance is already a lost cause, by the mere fact that JavaScript is involved. Your system is only as fast as its slowest part, and JavaScript is by far that part. At least Chrome is mostly a native browser, unlike Firefox which uses JavaScript for too much of its UI.

As for security, it'd be best if they did implement it as a sandboxed extension that could be disable. The only way to properly secure this is by disabling it.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628774)

It is a bundled disable-able plugin, you retarded fuck. Ditto with Chrome's included Flash support. Do you idiots read anything beyond the 8-word article title?

Let's see if I can make you feel even more stupid. From TFA:

  • To further protect users, PDF functionality will be contained within the security “sandbox” [stanford.edu] Chrome uses for web page rendering.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628820)

Firefox from 3.6 compiles the chrome's JavaScript to native code if it's used enough, so it shouldn't be a problem, right?

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628744)

>So we create minimalistic browsers that can be extended via extensions and plugins.
Mozilla was extensible via extensions (and plugins, but those don't count, because IE and NN had those a bajillion years ago) before FF was a gleam in what's-his-name's eye

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628482)

So you like the SeaMonkey approach, then? No need for slim browsers with few features (by default)?

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628846)

Actually SeaMonkey is presently slimmer than Firefox, and is modular (at least on Gentoo), so you don't need to install anything but the browser.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (2, Interesting)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628768)

First, this isn't Adobe Reader, thank Zod. It's Google's own implementation.

Second, I have (entirely speculative) doubts that the bundling of Flash is happening on its own merits. I suspect a quid pro quo was agreed, whereby Google bundles Flash and offers moral support against Steve Jobs, and in return Adobe extends Flash to support the new WebM video format. This extends its reach to (most) users of IE and Safari, neither of which will be adding native support.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628824)

Just because it's already there on X% of PCs, does NOT mean it's a "good thing". By the way, UPS is trying to deliver a package to you, but is unable. Please open the attached PDF.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628196)

Until the Chrome developers get their acts together, I'm done with it.

While not in this particular instance, I share your sentiments.

For example, there's a long thread in their issue tracker about proper proxy support, where the developers alternate between telling users it will happen sometime in the far future, when they implement a new http stack, and not going to happen because of their policies. Currently Chrome uses the operating system's proxy settings and there's no way to implement an extension like FoxyProxy.

Another thing that irks me is their inability to implement proper buffering of videos. They claimed it's too hard to know how to convert between bytes downloaded and time buffered. I don't really understand how they can play the video without understanding and demuxing the stream... I hope this gets better now that they got to design their own media container, but somehow I doubt it.

By now I'm anxiously awaiting webkit2 to mature and get picked up by qtwebkit or webkit-gtk so I could write myself a comparable web browser in a couple weeks and stop getting frustrated.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (2, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628368)

I started using Chrome because it was an improvement over the other browsers. It was faster, it used less memory...

Faster perhaps, but less memory? Many tests show it uses more memory than other browsers.
http://lifehacker.com/5457242/browser-speed-tests-firefox-36-chrome-4-opera-105-and-extensions [lifehacker.com] http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory [dotnetperls.com]
http://www.whoisandrewwee.com/browsers/verdict-on-google-chrome-memory-hog/ [whoisandrewwee.com]

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (2, Interesting)

mystik (38627) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628706)

From http://dotnetperls.com/chrome-memory [dotnetperls.com] :

Google Chrome posted the highest maximum memory usage when all chrome.exe processes were summed, reaching 1.18 gigabytes, while Firefox posted the lowest maximum memory levels of 327.65 megabytes. This means Firefox used 73% less memory during peak periods.

Their methodology is flawed. The operating system will share identical unmodified memory pages between processes once in memory. So if they simply summed @ the total memory usage for each process, they could be counting the same piece of memory multiple times.

In Firefox, the single-process model makes it easy to measure the memory use of the process, but brings with it all it's flaws, (much easier to take out the whole session with a bad plugin)

Measuring memory usage of a multi-process application requires figuring out many pages are uniquely mapped amongst all processes, then summing that figure

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628874)

In Firefox, the single-process model makes it easy to measure the memory use of the process, but brings with it all it's flaws, (much easier to take out the whole session with a bad plugin)

I don't find that to be true: when the VLC plugin locks up in Chrome, it locks even other windows (besides tabs).

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

Zarel (900479) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628614)

Everyone knows about them removing http:/// [http] from the URL bar already. Their reasoning was, to put it politely, complete horseshit. That was a change they never should have made.

Erm... why not? Please, enlighten us. Personally, I find it great. If I'm at the Google.com homepage, I should see "google.com" in the address bar; everything else is just unnecessary and distracting. I don't really need "http://" there to remember that it's a web site; the fact that I'm using a web browser is kind of enough.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628844)

Go to about:plugins, click "Disable" twice, and you are done.

Re:Chrome, you're losing me! (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628876)

While I agree I do not care about native PDF support in my browser, if you are a scientist, just about all the papers you need to obtain to learn what others are discovering will be in PDF. Those, I can download, I need them rather in soft searchable content. Failing that, I'll take them as images. I think that is the proper use of PDF for scientists. I occasionally find a reference within a PDF as a hotlink useful. However, with adequate references, I can track it down myself. I also find that manufacturers' documentation on their widgets is useful in PDF. I do not want to rely on the cloud, i.e., I am supposed to rely on it being accessible now and in years time when I find a use for it, any more than is absolutely necessary. The cloud will be controlled by Business School Product. They have no use for utility unless it contributes to their progression up the corporate ladder.

Yay? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628098)

PDF is actually a useful standard when it comes to reproducing printed or printable documents. The worst thing about PDF is Adobe's Reader implementation. Hopefully, this is a clean implementation, not based on Adobe's lousy, slow, insecure Reader code. I know they say its sandboxed, but still.

Anyone using Safari or Firefox (extension here [mozilla.org] ) on the Mac has been able to do this for some time; PDFs are a lot better without the Adobe plugin.

Re:Yay? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628884)

In Linux, I used Mozplugger to embed evince, but now I just open them externally.

PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (1, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628102)

I'm not fully qualified to comment on this since I will never be a Chrome user until someone forks off a "stainless steel" release where a group of people have poured over the source code to ensure there is no Google data collecting going on and then compiles it themselves for distribution.

But when I hear someone teaming up with Adobe and inserting Adobe's PDF reader directly into a browser, I sense that nothing good can come of this. Adobe has exceeded the purpose of PDF by adding scripting language code into it. It was supposed to be a portable document format... says so right in the name. Now it's grown well beyond that and it's not a good thing... it's a horribly exploitable thing and the user has a lot less control and, unfortunately, a lot more trust of PDF than other document formats.

If it was a Google implementation of PDF that removed potentially harmful content? I'd be apt to believe in that, but this is something else and it's guaranteed to be bloated as hell. Has anyone happened to notice how HUGE Adobe Acrobat reader is?

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628150)

I'm not fully qualified to comment on this since I will never be a Chrome user until someone forks off a "stainless steel" release where a group of people have poured over the source code to ensure there is no Google data collecting going on and then compiles it themselves for distribution.

No, I think what you want is the "tinfoil hat" release.

But seriously, it's called Chromium. It's the fully open source project that feeds into Chrome, and it's free of all Google branding and such. For what it's worth though, there's nothing in Chrome that does anything remotely close to what you're afraid of. Feel free to run it for a couple of weeks through a debugging proxy to watch what it does (I have).

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628162)

I haven't noticed the size of Acrobat in a long time. I switched to foxit reader so that the reader opens and I can view the PDF before I die.

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628178)

I'm not fully qualified to comment on this

but I will anyway.

Fixed that for you.

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (1)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628198)

I will never be a Chrome user until someone forks off a "stainless steel" release where a group of people have poured over the source code to ensure there is no Google data collecting going on and then compiles it themselves for distribution.

Ever try Iron [srware.net] ? There's also a Chromium-based browser actually called Stainless, as you suggest, but I believe it's Mac OS X only. Iron is Windows only.

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628312)

Oh that's a shame because I'm totally using Iron here in Arch Linux.

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628320)

The Iron that doesn't actually change anything, just rebrands the browser and reaps ad revenue?

http://chromium.hybridsource.org/the-iron-scam [hybridsource.org]

While I have an instant dislike for the author of the article, because he appears to be a massive douche, that's the only independent audit of Iron's source I could find.

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628438)

If you don't trust Google, why would you trust the makers of Iron?

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628490)

Ever try Iron [srware.net]?

Iron!! LOL!! Take Chromium source code Change all instances of "Chromium" to "Iron" Disable three user-configurable options and remove from the Options menu Modify source code comments (to try and hide how little was changed) PROFIT!!

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628586)

[...] where a group of people have poured over the source code...

FYI:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pore_over [wiktionary.org]
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pore#Verb [wiktionary.org]

Re:PDF plugin, OK. PDF built-in? Not so sure... (0)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628868)

Tip: Poster is probably Canadian or speaks UK English. Poured over is a common phrase in both countries.

Jews for Nerds! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628110)

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.

Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

PDF is fat (0)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628152)

We'll never be able to interact with PDF like any other web page, not when it takes so much more space. Strikes me as an appallingly inefficient format. I don't know exactly why PDF is so bloated-- it does have the actual text embedded in the format. I know PDF has embedded fonts, but that shouldn't take much room, should it? What are they doing that converts something that would be a 10K ASCII file into a 500K PDF monstrosity? Mere appearances shouldn't take up 90%+ of the bits. Can't LaTeX handle it?

About the only thing worse than PDFs are raster scans of documents, and those typically aren't served, they're used as an intermediate step towards porting to a more useful format. OCR isn't done just because it's fun. It's done because it's a lot easier for computers to search text documents. And it saves lots of space.

Re:PDF is fat (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628212)

Clearly, you have no clue.

Re:PDF is fat (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628274)

The problems with PDF started for the same reasons that DOC problems started. The party responsible for the format decided that hey, wouldn't it be cool if... And after that you got document formats with embedded programming features. No good will ever come of doing such a thing. If you need to do more than just display, then there are ways of handling that. Allowing such things to be embedded in every document without providing a sane way of determining which do and which don't prior to opening causes tons of trouble.

Re:PDF is fat (5, Interesting)

abulafia (7826) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628294)

PDFs tend to bloat for at least two reasons - one is the inclusion of tons of rasters and other embedded objects, and that's a problem between chair and keyboard - the resultant documents are just was was asked for. The other is that PDF is (a superset of) a subset of Postscript. Some combinations of software and the drivers that generate PDFs, can do insanely redundant things that cause massive documents. One neat workflow I saw several years ago was placing raster images into Illustrator objects, then through a DTP program to be rendered to PDF. That particular software stack/combination of transformations managed add something like 400x bloat compared to the same document produced in a different way.

Generating non-insane Postscript used to be a solved problem, but it appears to come back every so often.

Also, changes in the PDF happened some time back that had big size advantages. Documents generated by old PDF renderers are going to tend to be larger than those generated by newer ones. (I don't really recall the details, but some of it was how embedded objects are stored.)

Re:PDF is fat (3, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628582)

PDF viewing is very fast on OS X, and Safari has natively displayed PDFs for a long time. I blame Adobe's reader.

Re:PDF is fat (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628764)

I know PDF has embedded fonts, but that shouldn't take much room, should it?
Embedded fonts can get pretty big if the software doesn't subset them or a lot of glyphs are used. DeJavu sans for example is over half a megabyte! Some fonts are much bigger (pan-unicode fonts and CJK fonts for example)

What are they doing that converts something that would be a 10K ASCII file into a 500K PDF monstrosity?
PDFs will always be a bit bigger than plain text because they control the positioning of stuff exactly and that takes information. It shouldn't be a factor of 50 though unless images are involved.

Once images are involved the sky's the limit, a single large image can make a pdf huge (and remember images can be inserted at any resoloution so a huge image can display small!)

One of the things about pdfs is always embeds images and usually embeds fonts. This is a mixed blessing, on the one hand it makes the file far more portable than something like html but on the other hand it means you re-download stuff like logos with every pdf you grab.

Can't LaTeX handle it?
LaTeX has it's place but afiact it was never designed to be a distrubution format. A typical LaTeX document involves a load of files that become figures in the document and many use LaTeX add-on packages that may or may not be installed.

About the only thing worse than PDFs are raster scans of documents, and those typically aren't served, they're used as an intermediate step towards porting to a more useful format.
That has not been my experiance with large digitisation projects i've seen the output of (e.g. http://ethos.bl.ac.uk/ [bl.ac.uk] ). In my experiance they do OCR for searchability but the accuracy isn't good enough to do a full conversion so they produce pdfs with the image visible but OCR text for copy/paste/search.

It's done because it's a lot easier for computers to search text documents.
Afaict this is the main reason for doing OCR at least in large digitisation projects.

And it saves lots of space.
It does if you throw the originals away. But only an idiot would do that without careful proofreading of the OCRed text and careful proofreading costs a LOT more than storing the original images does.

Old technology (1)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628208)

For years, GMail or Google Documents have been able to render PDF documents in HTML.

Maybe Google simply took this server-based code and put it into Chrome...

Re:Old technology (3, Insightful)

iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628250)

But Chrome is not converting anything. It's more like a plug-in that's native. This is the same way Chrome reads HTML5 natively... it doesn't first convert it to HTML4. It won't look any different than the Adobe's plug-in or FoxIt's plug-in, but you don't have to install it separately. And most awesomely, you won't have to update it separately. Of course this makes Chrome natively a little more vulnerable too... but oodles more secure than Adobe's plug-in.

Re:Old technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628818)

Only if for some odd reason you allow PDFs to be automatically rendered by Chrome. Why the fuck would you do that? Anyone with half a clue will be installing the first PDFBlock extension.

In fact, now I wonder if this plugin will work for embedded PDFs at all. Is there any reason, at all, for embedded PDF support?

Why? (0, Flamebait)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628236)

From the article:

"The plug-in doesn't do everything that the Adobe Reader does."

"Google says the PDF rendering quality needs some improving,"

So Google has written their own PDF plugin that's even crappier than Adobe's. What exactly is the point of this?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

siride (974284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628258)

It's the first pass at it. You expect it to be perfect? This is still the development version. Will you freetards get over yourselves for $DEITY's sake?

Re:Why? (0, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628290)

That Google wrote it and not Adobe. Adobe either doesn't hire qualified programmers or somehow manages to thwart any from getting work done properly. I'm not sure what exactly the problem is, whether there's too much interference from people without foundation or perhaps they just don't provide the resources to do it correctly in the first place.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628428)

Adobe either doesn't hire qualified programmers or somehow manages to thwart any from getting work done properly. I'm not sure what exactly the problem is, whether there's too much interference from people without foundation or perhaps they just don't provide the resources to do it correctly in the first place.

Adobe's big applications (Photoshop, Premier, etc) are quite good. The problem with Adobe PDF is not a lack of resources, skill or competence on the part of Adobe programmers. The problem is that a PDF reader/creator should be a small simple program, but some pointy haired boss somewhere constantly demands the addition of more and more "features" that are inappropriate, make the program ridiculously bloated and frequently lead to numerous sercurity flaws.

Re:Why? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628780)

The reason they add new features to the free reader is to drive sales of the paid creator client, must give the customers a justification for upgrading. Most of it is bloated crud that noone really uses, but some of it is really cool like collections that they added with version 9. Collections enable you to export a folder structure and keep all the relevant metadata intact, we used them with the built-in functionality to have people archive their Lotus Notes email and then had legal redact the results using existing tools and workflows. It saved us almost $500k on a separate archiving product and drastically reduced the workload for our legal department probably resulting in as much or more savings.

Re:Why? (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628516)

What exactly is the point of this?

#1 An open source PDF plugin implementation (with all the benefits that entails) #2 You don't need to install Adobe's plugin #3 Seriously who marked you up?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628832)

Have you used Google Search/Docs PDF-to-HTML converting ability? It's similarly limited. And yet it's 500000x better than Adobe's shit.

Re:Why? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628840)

Less features doesn't necessarily mean crappy. Most PDF readers do less than Adobe Reader, but the subset they use covers virtually all sane, practical usage.

A look inside chrome://plugins/ reveals: (0, Flamebait)

v1x (528604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628298)

Google's PDF plugin:
C:\Users\#########\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\6.0.437.3\pdf.dll (MIME type: application/pdf)

Adobe's PDF plugin:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Browser\nppdf32.dll (MIME types: application/pdf, application/vnd.adobe.pdfxml, application/vnd.adobe.x-mars, application/vnd.fdf, application/vnd.adobe.xfdf, application/vnd.adobe.xdp+xml, application/vnd.adobe.xfd+xml)

The files themselves appear to be quite different, and handle different MIME types, so hopefully this is not simply Adobe's stuff packaged within Chrome.

Re:A look inside chrome://plugins/ reveals: (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628506)

I don't think the filename and MIME types are enough information to tell you that the files are "quite different".

Chrome is not an application, it's a widget. (1, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628402)

Let me known when they figure out how to add a menu bar. Until then, I'll be sticking with Firefox.

LK

Re:Chrome is not an application, it's a widget. (2, Interesting)

Again (1351325) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628476)

Let me known when they figure out how to add a menu bar. Until then, I'll be sticking with Firefox.

LK

This. I moved from Firefox to Chrome for speed and from Chrome to Ephiphany for a menu bar. I've lost a lot of features in the moves but now I have a fast, stable broswer with a menu bar.

Re:Chrome is not an application, it's a widget. (1)

siride (974284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628534)

What do you need the menu bar for that the two menu icons in Chrome can't provide?

Re:Chrome is not an application, it's a widget. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628546)

Are you one of those ultra orthodox special people who can't operate software unless it meets deprecated UI standards?

Re:Chrome is not an application, it's a widget. (0, Flamebait)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628592)

Do you want me to let you know when you gain the ability to match words to pictures like 6 month old toddlers can as well?

Google Policy on Automatic Updates (5, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628452)

> if you can keep Chrome 6 alive — Windows users have reported frequent crashes, and Google has temporarily suspended the update progress to find out what is going on.

I've experienced Chrome crashes too - more frequently than IE or Firefox. And that's a big problem with Chrome: You can't turn off Automatic updates(*). You will find several hundred meg vanishing from your download quota. I guess the Google developers with their top-of-the-line hardware forget that us regular folks care about things like bandwidth, disk space (it leaves the downloaded files sitting on your hard drive - multiple versions) and quotas (because I don't want to go over my peak quota because some punk program won't take directions). It also jumps up and starts downloading and installing even if you're in the middle of something.

I'd rather schedule my own updates to fit my own schedule - I don't want some program stuffing up when I'm in the middle of something. Chrome has some nice features - it's fast and it doesn't waste the screen space or have the memory bloat that Firefox or IE do, but Chrome crashes a lot and in the end I figured Firefox was best because it at least gives you some control over your PC. Chrome doesn't.

* = Google do provide a way for Enterprise users to modify the groups policy because (as described in their faq) 'enterprises should be able to schedule their own updates'. But Joe Public doesn't get that luxury, and there's no checkbox to turn it up like every other software is decent enough to provide. BTW don't try the REGEDITS; they don't work. Google know about all this because there are many posts complaining about it (search for 'disable chrome automatic updates'), but in the usual corporate arrogance won't even acknowledge the problem: pesky customers! Google think they know what's best.

http://www.google.com/search?q=disable+chrome+automatic+updates [google.com]

Re:Google Policy on Automatic Updates (1)

Webz (210489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628518)

Where are you that you need to keep an eye on your bandwidth?

Re:Google Policy on Automatic Updates (3, Interesting)

bertok (226922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628622)

Where are you that you need to keep an eye on your bandwidth?

Where the hell are you that you can't even imaging having to worry about bandwith? Can I move there?

Over here in Australia, internet connections with 1GB quotas per month are not unusual, and most mobile 3G accounts are even more restricted.

Re:Google Policy on Automatic Updates (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628698)

1GB per MONTH?! I use 1GB on a good evening.
My weekly backup over the net is 4GB.

Re:Google Policy on Automatic Updates (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628828)

I agree with GP, in what places on earth, apart from what I assume is a farm in the middle of the desert in Australia, is quotas an issue ? :) I've seen 10 GiB qoutas on 3G here (Denmark)... But who would survive on 3G only, I'd admit I haven't tried it, but I can't imagine that it's stable or fast (yes, it might give you 5Mb/s on a sunny day, but what about ping times...
I have 5Mb/s down for about 25 USD/month no quotas... Looking a gnome-system-monitor I downloaded 2.1 GiB over the past two hours or so... Internet radio/last.fm, youtube and random stuff...
If I look at my provider I can get 50Mb/s for about 80 USD/month, still no quotas... However, my ISP doesn't give me much up-speed... But my parents have fiber in their door, they can get 100Mb/s up and down for a quite reasonable price...

This is Denmark, and no you can probably not move here :(
- Sorry...
But since some idiots voted for the Danish Public Party (National Socialist) immigration have become very hard... Maybe, if you marry someone older than 24, or find a job, have a good education and is willing to learn Danish...
Otherwise, try Sweden their immigration policy is not as hard, and their internet connections are better... Plus their privacy is better protected against organizations such as **AA...
Hmm... I supposed the only thing wrong with Sweden is their alcohol taxes, so remember to bring you own beer :)

Re:Google Policy on Automatic Updates (1)

ihavenospine (541249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628696)

These Crashes are in the developement version which is completely opt in. Just like the beta. I don't see a major issue there. But I agree at least on the bandwith part. I like to turn off automatic updates for everythin when I'm using the laptop with my 3G connection. A notification about avalaible updates would be good and let choose the user when to update.

Re:Google Policy on Automatic Updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628702)

That's because your operating system doesn't have a built-in app store, and frankly, I enjoy watching you suffer.

Flamebait article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628640)

The news here is that google adds pdf support and that's about it. I thought I was bleeding age using Chromium 6.0.417.0 (Fedora), but the article is complaining about a development version just few days old. The summary is so inflammatory, I have no ideea what's doing on slashdot in the first place. Next thing I'll be reading about kernel regressions in RCs on a daily basis.

Weird chrome problem (0, Offtopic)

British (51765) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628708)

Any reason why Chrome for Linux has so many problems reaching Gmail? I have to try over & over again to reach it, yet it works just fine everywhere(OS & browser-wise) else.

Re:Weird chrome problem (1)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628880)

Are you using a beta version? There was a bug like that a while back, but it's been fixed for a while now. I have no problems with 5.0.375.70

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32628742)

Hopefully it's not like the Chrome plugin that lets you use Google Docs to view them. Because that plugin sucks. You can't rotate or zoom or use the hand tool.

6 already? (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628798)

Geez, it seems like I was just upgraded to 5 last week.

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