Google Viewer October 31, 2009 1:53 PM   Subscribe

It's Halloween, so I guess this is a bloody vampire pony request. Or maybe an cyborg mummy pony request. Either way: Maybe Metafilter could automatically change direct links to PDF files to use the Google Viewer? Or something like that?

I tend to avoid PDF links because I don't want to have to deal with downloading them or the slow-down that can occur with using Acrobat in-browser. Maybe that's just me. I'm kind of a weird guy, though, hardly with my finger on the pulse of the nation. So maybe this isn't that big of a deal.

The first comment here spurred me to write this. I should probably be trick-or-treating or something.
posted by chasing to Feature Requests at 1:53 PM (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Here's a Greasemonkey script that will do it not only for MeFi but for the entire web.
posted by Plutor at 1:59 PM on October 31, 2009

I would be against anything that prevented me from downloading linked pdfs. A secondary link to a viewer could be auto-added, like the one done for YouTube videos.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:06 PM on October 31, 2009

Download Foxit Reader and make it your default PDF reader. PDFs will load instantaneously without problems.

Most Adobe software is, to say the least, inefficient.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:08 PM on October 31, 2009

I heart PDF Download. It lets you choose to open, download, or view as HTML. That plus Foxit Reader and you're in business.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:13 PM on October 31, 2009

Sorry to fuck with the spacetime continuum, but that cited first comment from the thread on the blue was dumb and I have deleted it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:13 PM on October 31, 2009

As far as the PDF discussion, I tend to think that directly rewriting the source links significantly is not such a hot idea, and that having some sort of opt-in display of a "[PDF]" supplementary autowidget like we currently provide for Youtube would probably be a better idea. But I don't feel super strongly about this in either case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

The bigger deal is that opening stuff with the Google PDF viewer I think, correct me if I'm wrong here, associates that PDF with your google id. Not that I'm all "omg google knows everything" but we're basically taking something that is anonymous -- you viewing a pdf -- and associating it with your google identity (if you have one) and possibly inadvertently. I sort of feel that maybe this is something users need to be able to set for themselves so we shouldn't add any level of obscuring to the whole situation. But yeah, people need to snark less about people linking to pdfs, also.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:23 PM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

I would LOVE to have this feature added if it works like the youtube thing.
posted by empath at 2:29 PM on October 31, 2009

Also, i think sometime ago, I just became basically okay with the idea that google would know everything about me, in the same way that as a child, i was okay with Santa Claus knowing everything about me, even if it is slightly unnerving.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on October 31, 2009

I stream a live feed of my bedroom to Youtube so I can be sure that Google is watchig me sleep and knows when I'm awake. Don't be evil = be good, for goodness sake.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:35 PM on October 31, 2009

I'm against this.

If metafilter had this functionality my last post wouldn't have gotten any comments.
posted by jouke at 2:51 PM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]

Your favorite default way of doing things is not necessarily mine. Let's not pick one way of doing things & enforce it for the whole site, especially not when there are ways of individually setting things your way without disrupting the rest of us.
posted by scalefree at 3:07 PM on October 31, 2009

Hey, who has faved my comment?
Who are they? You guys are piling one after another, right?
Yeah, I knew I had a winner with that comment.
posted by jouke at 3:11 PM on October 31, 2009

Also, WebKit-type browsers have started displaying PDFs inline using a fairly nice viewer interface— certainly more responsive-feeling than the Google viewer— and I'd be annoyed if PDF links started going to the clunky Flash viewer. I think this is definitely greasemonkey-script territory.
posted by hattifattener at 4:17 PM on October 31, 2009

Google docs is also blocked a lot of places. So that would make the pdfs completely unviewable for some people.
posted by that girl at 5:46 PM on October 31, 2009

Let's not pick one way of doing things & enforce it for the whole site,

Yeah, this. I don't like google viewer, please don't make me use it. If it's an optional extra I can turn on then sure, whatever, but by default pdf links should just stay bare pdf links that I can deal with however I want.
posted by shelleycat at 6:55 PM on October 31, 2009

Oh and I say this as someone who has referenced a pdf I first saw posted here* in my PhD thesis. Google reader (and lots of other stuff) doesn't work where I work so this wouldn't have been possible with any weird pdf-link-futzing.

(* it was from a comment, provided some really useful and relevant information for an introduction, and I really should track down who posted it and thank them one of these days).
posted by shelleycat at 6:59 PM on October 31, 2009

This adds a layer of misdirection that could cause problems if google ever discontinues or even makes non backwards compatible changes to the service. Enough links go broken as it is without needed to add another layer for links to fall down on.
posted by Mitheral at 8:17 PM on October 31, 2009

I don't understand why people don't like PDF links. I love them. I actually wish PDF (or at least PostScrip) were the dominant markup on the web.

You click the link. The PDF downloads. And then it's opened in gv or DocumentViewer or Preview or whatever. It doesn't take any longer than the google link, and it actually gets formatted correctly.

I voice noises of disapproval for this ghoulish pony request.
posted by Netzapper at 10:14 PM on October 31, 2009

Terribad. Get a better PDF reader instead of forcing us to use the one you like.
posted by rodgerd at 10:22 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding Foxit Reader. Wouldn't be without it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:54 AM on November 1, 2009

Google Viewer works really well for very large documents. A 100 page plus file with just text clocks in under 3mb and isn't a big deal. If you start to have images or poorly encoded PDF documents (such as those that are scanned), file sizes begin to increase quickly. I don't want to wait to download a 30MB PDF because someone decided to print it out, mark it up and scan it back in. Google Viewer can show me the page in question very quickly. Any method that involves client side display will need to transfer the entire document at once.

It is too bad that Google doc viewer is only available to public documents, it'd be great to throw this at my private documents. I realize there's and Google Docs, but I really want to keep it on a filestore I own. There's really no open source or commercial version of Google Docs that would allow you to roll your own, which is sort of a shame. There's a lot of stuff that writes, but I haven't found anything that renders to a PNG like Google Docs does.
posted by geoff. at 7:18 AM on November 1, 2009

Mathowie's example from the previous pony request neatly illustrates why this is a bad idea.
posted by ryanrs at 8:58 PM on November 1, 2009

That is to say, the previously suggested viewing service is now a 404. And please don't tell me Google isn't going to go out of business. They abandon shit all the time.
posted by ryanrs at 9:01 PM on November 1, 2009

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