April 05, 2001, 5:09 PM — Millions of pages of information that once remained hidden inside the Web have now been uncovered, thanks to Google.com.
The service recently unveiled technology that allows it to index PDF-format files. Better yet, it can convert those files into text format for quicker online viewing. What does this mean for CIOs? It means that lot of big documents once buried on your servers may suddenly get some extra attention. That news shouldn't cause you to shell out for more bandwidth or to install a couple more servers, but it may be something for your Web team to think about.
PDF format is often reserved for forms that users need to print and documents that need to maintain a complex layout (such as white papers with technical graphics). And they tend to be large compared with HTML files.
For that reason (plus the fact that some people don't have the required PDF viewer on their systems), many companies post both PDF and HTML versions of important documents, such as annual reports. But now those PDF reports may perk to the top of Google's search list rather than lying in secret, only for viewing by people who actually visit your site and know where to look.
For instance, a recent Google search for "consolidated statement of earnings" on www.clorox.com puts a PDF report on top. If you do the search and tell the engine to ignore PDF files, however, (as Google used to do by default) an HTML version of another report tops the list.
Revolutionary? Nah. Something to think about when you're about to post a few multi-megabyte PDF files? Yep.