Google Chrome adds native PDF support

Browser enhancement to boost performance and security

Stewart Mitchell
21 Jun 2010

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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