Sometimes the simplest things are the most useful, you know? Google has announced a handy dandy Docs viewer, available at http://docs.google.com/viewer. This viewer allows you to generate links to view PDFs, Powerpoints, and TIFF documents from the comfort of your own browser.
Enter the URL of the document, enter the link text if you want any, and click Generate Link. (Note: the Google Doc viewer gets fussy if you don’t make sure your link starts with http://.) Google will instantly generate several links for you to use, including an e-mailable link, an HTML link, a iframe link for embedding a document, and a simple link for looking at the document immediately. Click on that link and you’ll get a Google Document viewer for reviewing your file. A couple of times slides from a Powerpoint presentation loaded a tiny bit slow, but not enough for it to be a concern.
If you don’t want to fuss with using the form every single time, Google also includes instructions for building your own URLs to use with Document Viewer.
I know that Google search already has the option to view PDFs, etc as HTML, and sometimes that works okay, like with normally-formatted PDFs. But have you ever tried that with some Powerpoint presentations, not to mention oddly-laid-out PDFs? It can drive you crazy. I will definitely keep this viewer bookmarked.