Crocodoc rethinks PDFs for the mobile web

I have often wondered why we have not seen a newer, more mobile and more touch-centric descendant of Adobe’s portable document format, popularly known by its acronym – PDF. And while we wait,  four guys from MIT have come up with a super easy way to see PDF (and Microsoft Office) files on the mobile browsers without needing any kind of plugins and special add-ons.

Crocodoc, a San Francisco-based startup that has been in business for nearly five years and has gone through some pivots, is today launching a new HTML5-based enterprise service that essentially takes a PDF, strips out the text, photos and all the formatting from it and renders it on your mobile browser within three seconds. (Of course, it doesn’t work with password protected PDFs.) The best way to experience this technology is to click here and see this PDF document.

Crocodoc is going to offer this technology as a service, mostly for large companies. It already has signed up the likes of SAP, Dropbox and LinkedIn. While Crocodoc will handle processing for smaller companies, it allows large customers such as Dropbox to run the service off their services. Dropbox has been testing the technology for a while and is using it for its recently launched web viewer and easy link-sharing service.

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