Friday, 05 November 2010 08:18

Google adds PDF support to Chrome

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Support for PDF documents is coming to Google's Chrome browser.


Integrated support for PDF document display has been added to the latest beta release of Google's Chrome browser.

PDF files abound on the web, and are most commonly used for documents that were designed to be printed (scoot over to the Australian Taxation Office site for some examples if you've never come across this practice) and sometimes for scanned copies of paper documents.

Historically, PDF files were downloaded and opened in an appropriate application, or a browser plug-in was used to display them. More recently, browsers such as Safari have provided integrated PDF support, and that's the direction Chrome is taking.

According to John Abd-El-Malek, a software engineer at Google, "we've built in an additional layer of security called the 'sandbox' around the Chrome PDF viewer to help protect you from malware and security attacks that are targeted at PDF files."

It's not surprising that Google has chosen to sandbox PDFs - PDf and other media files have been under heavy scrutiny by those looking for vulnerabilities in popular software. And a malicious PDF file was part of the late-2009 'Operation Aurora' attacks on Google and other US companies.

PDF support will be included in the stable release of Chrome once "more polish and features" have been added, said Abd-El-Malek.

 

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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