I’m always intrigued by new browsers, and Google is always intriguing anyway due to the company’s strategic heft. Of course I had to look at their just-announced browser, Chrome.
I’m going to try to live with this browser for a while and will report my views in greater detail, but I’m still getting used to the new Firefox, so don’t expect it soon. I do have, however, some immediate impressions about how Chrome works with PDF.
I had wondered if Google was going to (try to) write their own PDF viewer for Chrome. Not this time; the installer seems to find and use the Acrobat/Reader plugin, assuming it’s already installed into Firefox or (presumably) IE. That’s a good start.
Then I hit the skids.
My first stop in testing Chrome with PDFs was to check out performance with a large PDF file. In Microsoft’s Explorer or Mozilla’s Firefox, properly-configured PDF files are “Fast Web View” enabled, and display the first-requested page while continuing to download the rest of the file in the background.
This single feature makes even very large PDF files readily workable on the web, even in low-bandwidth settings, and is one of the key factors in the success of the PDF format.
Under IE and FireFox, the Acrobat/Reader browser plugin works as intended, and Fast Web View PDFs appear quickly. Chrome, however, seems to block Fast Web View in the same browser plugin. I could find no way to turn this block off in Chrome’s options – please let me know if I’m missing something!
Google’s going to have to rectify this situation before Chrome has a prayer of becoming a mainstream browser.
By Duff Johnson