By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm
This is very simple and very useful: Google is now using the Web-based PDF viewer that I’ve been enjoying in Gmail to make it easier to view PDFs that you happen upon on the Web. You know it’s available when you see a PDF in Google Search results with a “Quick View” link:
Click it, and you get a nice view of the PDF that retains formatting and doesn’t require you to download the PDF (or even to have a PDF viewer installed on your computer):
Google says that more than half of the PDFs it’s indexed now offer Quick View, with more to come; others still provide only the not-very-useful, plaint-text HTML view. And I see some PDFs that offer neither Quick View nor HTML and must be downloaded and opened in a PDF application. Even in incomplete form, it’s awfully handy when you want to peek inside a PDF before you go through the bother of downloading it–or when you don’t have any desire to download it at all.