Google PDF Viewer

Google PDF Viewer is, as its name indicates, Google’s official PDF viewer. Usually, you can find all the features this app offers right on Google Drive, and thus the app’s main aim is to offer an option for when Google Drive isn’t available on your Android device.

In terms of features Google PDF Viewer is very skimpy. Searches can be done inside the document and you can zoom in on a specific part of the page. Not much else. The good thing, though, is that it’s a light app and really easy to use. 

Google PDF Viewer is a free application, released by Google, designed as part of its Android for Work initiative, and optimized for the Android mobile platform. It provides an easy way for phones and tablets alike to view PDFs. The app fits almost entirely on one screen, and automatically loads whenever you open a PDF, whether it’s from your Downloads folder or via another app. 

A touch of quicksilver

The main advantage of Google PDF Viewer is that it is fast. The app only slows down when running on an older phone and displaying a PDF of great length. On reasonably recent phones or almost any Android tablet, the app can handle PDFs of virtually any size. While it’s doing this, you can read, searchand copy text. If your device is connected to a printer, you can print a PDF’s contents as well. As the name implies, this is a viewer and not an editor, and it makes no attempts to be the latter. 

Lightweight and heavy-handed

It’s fast, obviously, but for such a simple app, there’s a lot to nitpick in Google PDF Viewer’s interface.

The good: It is optimized for both landscape and portrait viewing. Move your phone onto its side or read on a tablet, and the app will handily adapt, usually displaying two pages at once. It is also extremely well-designed, making the best possible use of screen real estate. Searching is an example: the search bar takes up a small amount of room at the top, the on-screen keyboard takes up the bottom, and the middle third of the screen displays results in the PDF itself. Remove the search bar, and the app smoothly goes back to how it looked before.

The bad: Several features that most users take for granted in any app are not present in Google’s PDF viewer. There’s no highlighter tool, since that would mean editing and saving the document, which the app is not made for. It also doesn’t appear on a device’s list of installed apps, instead opening itself whenever a PDF is selected via Downloads or another app. All of this is ultimately because it’s designed for use in cases where the more fully-featured Google Drive cannot be deployed. It’s useful when data access is spotty, for example, or when handling confidential documents your business may not want on the Internet. 

A chaser to the main course

Google PDF Viewer is very clear about its purpose from the moment you install it. Thus, it’s important not to expect anything more than an app that displays PDFs, and does it well. Although its limitations ultimately become flaws in what could be an excellent all-around PDF viewer, they give the user an incentive to use Google Drive where possible, which is more made to serve that purpose (and many others). Overall, Google PDF Viewer is great as a lightweight, unobtrusive PDF viewer for files you have on your device, and at its best when paired with other productivity apps. 

The PDF format has become a standard to present and exchange documents in a reliable manner, regardless of the software or operating system used by its users. It’s compatible with all systems and, although it can contain links, forms, and all sorts of contents, it can’t be modified. For such reason, it’s greatly used in the professional and academic fields.

It’s so common at present that having a PDF file reader on our Android device is a must and Google includes its own native version on its mobile operating system. However, if you ever removed this app from your smartphone or tablet, you might want to download Google PDF Viewer in APK format to reinstall it.

Main features of Google PDF Viewer

It’s a basic, simple, and lightweight application with all the necessary functions for this kind of tool:

  • Opens automatically when the user tries to open a PDF file or accesses one from the browser.
  • Allows us to carry out searches in the text, which are really fast and efficient.
  • We can select the text of our choice, copy it, paste it or send it by email.

Requirements and additional information:

  • Minimum operating system requirements: Android 4.0.3.

Google PDF Viewer is a good app to open and read PDF documents, whose main attraction is its simplicity. Also, the viewing quality that Google PDF Viewer offers is very high.

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