Status of MetaPDF, please?

I have been using MetaPDF as the default PDF viewer/annotator in Google Drive. With the release of the newer version of the PDF viewer/annotator in Paperpile, which is a lot more capable, I switched to using it as default in Paperpile, but it is not available outside of Paperpile, so I continued using MetaPDF in Google Drive.

More recently, I noticed that MetaPDF stopped working in Google Drive (does not open PDF documents at all).

Can someone comment on the strategy of Paperpile going forward? Is MetaPDF abandoned? Is there a plan to have the new annotator available outside of Paperpile? What should users expect?

We decided to stop the beta for MetaPDF as a separate app for consumers. We still call it MetaPDF internally and develop it quite separate from the rest. But for the end user all features from MetaPDF are in Paperpile now.

Although our developer team has grown 4x since we started with MetaPDF we also learnt it takes many resources to maintain a separate app. Focus is key, and our focus is on the PDF needs of our Paperpile customers which is quite different from the generic PDF user (you don’t want to sign an academic PDF or fill out a form in a research paper).

It’s kind of sad of course because I think we add to the state of the art of web based PDF annotation with MetaPDF and existing solutions out there are still not that great.

1 Like

Thank you @stefan for clarifying this.

We decided to stop the beta for MetaPDF as a separate app for consumers.
[…]
Focus is key, and our focus is on the PDF needs of our Paperpile customers which is quite different from the generic PDF user (you don’t want to sign an academic PDF or fill out a form in a research paper).

I find this decision unfortunate. The consequence is that users of Paperpile will have inconsistent experience with PDF viewing on Google Drive.

I completely agree focus is key, but a standalone application that has all the capabilities of Paperpile PDF viewer without bells and whistles that you mentioned (filling out the form or signing the document) would on its own merits be very valuable.

For me, the most prominent use case is academic review. When I review papers, and this can be a handful each month, I tend to annotate the text with highlights and notes. For obvious reasons, I do not want to put those papers into Paperpile, but I would highly prefer to have one and only one PDF viewer that satisfies my everyday needs.

I can use something unusual for filling forms and signing, but those capabilities are not needed for most of the academic work I do.