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New feature allows users to "Quick View" PDFs in Google searches

October 08, 2009

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As keen-eyed Google users may have noticed, a new "Quick View" link has been added to about half of the PDF documents now displaying in Google search results.

According to the official Google blog post:

Google search results sometimes include documents that were not originally formatted to be viewed in a web browser, such as PDFs. In the past, the only way to view these documents was to download them and open them in a separate viewer application. To provide an alternative, we made it possible to quickly and easily view these files as HTML right in a web browser by clicking "View as HTML." This was an improvement, but unfortunately the "View as HTML" option loses some of the formatting from the original PDF, such as graphics, tables, fonts and other elements.

Today, we've added new links to "Quick View" PDFs in your browser with the formatting intact. The new links are based on the same technology that's available in Google Docs and Gmail, as well as to webmasters through the Google Docs viewer. We've been rolling this technology out to the search results page since July, and as of today we've added "Quick View" links to more than 50% of the PDFs in our index. The new links appear at the end of the second line of the result, right underneath the title.

As Google completes its updates, the "View as HTML" link will still appear for some documents. Google doesn't plan to stop with PDF, though. The blog post goes also notes the company's plans to add support for other file types, although it did not specify a time-frame.

For more information on the new "Quick View" feature, check out the original Google blog post

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