Gmail’s integrated software-free PDF viewer has received a nice upgrade courtesy of Google Docs. Now opening up a PDF in Gmail won’t fire up your native PDF viewer (like the slow-to-load Adobe Acrobat), and instead will send you to the document reader built into Google Docs.
There are two other benefits to this, the first being the updated page view which lets you hop around the document a whole lot faster. The other is the built-in zoom, which scales the text to fit your monitor with a higher degree of detail than the text resizer found in your browser.
Gone with the transition is the option to open up PDFs as HTML pages straight from the message, which still remains as a viewing option once you’re in the new PDF view and in search results from Google.com. Presumably Google.com results will get the updated viewer next. This would be a huge benefit to Google Search users without access to a PDF viewer (like on public or shared computers) as Google’s current HTML conversion wipes out much of the formatting that can keep fonts and image placement intact, which can make things like brochures and newsletters unreadable.