How do you read the contents of a PDF document or a PowerPoint Presentation if you don’t have the corresponding viewer installed on your computer or mobile phone? The immediate answer would be that you upload the file to a document hosting site like Scribd or SlideShare and read the contents inside the web browser.
Perfect but there’s a small problem. Most of these sites render documents using Flash and therefore the approach may not work on a mobile phone like the BlackBerry or an iPhone as they don’t support Adobe Flash.
The Google Docs Viewer is also handy for web publishers as, instead of directly linking to PPT or PDF files, they can now link to the documents using Google Docs and site visitors are saved from the hassle of downloading the full document before reading on their computers.
Embed Documents Without Flash
If you like to embed a PowerPoint slideshow or PDF in your blog using Google Docs Viewer, just add “&embedded=true” to the URL.
For instance, if the your document is located at http://abc.com/file.ppt, you can embed the file in any web page using the following code:
<iframe src="http://docs.google.com/gview?url=http://abc.com/file.ppt&embedded=true" width="500" height="250" style="border-style:none;" ></iframe>
Google Docs Viewer vs Zoho Viewer
For instance, Google Docs viewer is only for reading documents that are already on the web while Zoho Viewer will let you read documents that are on your hard drive or on another web server.
Google currently supports PPT and PDF only while Zoho supports all common Office / OpenDocument formats include XML based Office 2007 files.
When you open a document through Zoho Viewer, a copy of that file is stored on Zoho’s servers while in the case of Google Docs viewer, it makes a download request each time someone wants to view your document in the browser.
The downside is that Zoho Viewer isn’t mobile friendly and, unlike Google Docs viewer, one has to to upload a document into Zoho Viewer before reading – you can’t create direct links.