New service Embedit.in is launching on Tuesday with a tool that lets users host documents up to 20MB in size. Like Scribd, DocStoc, and others, Embedit.in uses Adobe Flash to power a viewer that lets users flip and scroll through pages in long documents.
As the name suggests, documents can be embedded either as a thumbnail that opens up to an overlay of the document reader, or as an embedded player like what you see lower down on this story. In either case, the service doesn't take visitors off whatever site they're on to let them see the content, which is nice.
Along with items users have uploaded individually, Embedit.in can be installed in the source code on any site. This turns any outgoing URLs that link to compatible document files into hosted Embedit.in docs. Each time it discovers a newly-added item it simply downloads it in the background, then reassigns the link.
One area where Embedit.in differs from competing services is in letting users make small cosmetic changes to documents after they've been uploaded. To do this, it uses markup tools from parent company Increo's sister project, Backboard. This allows for simple things like highlighting, underlining, and circling. Missing, however, are some of the more advanced items like being able to add new chunks of text or images, or let users go in and make edits to the existing copy.
Embedit.in also has its own analytics dashboard for each document. This shows you how many views a document has, where viewers are from, how many times they've printed or downloaded a local copy, as well as a heat map of where user attention has been. It does this by tracking what parts of the document people have spent the most time on, and can be quite fun to look at if you've hosted something with images.
Embedit.in is very slick but misses some things I think are quite important. For one, there's no search, which means you have to eyeball each page to find a particular section. This may seem trivial, but on larger documents it's important. There's also only one view, which can make it hard to skim. If you have a larger screen, the two-up page view can be quite enjoyable. With Embedit.in you're limited to scrolling down, or flicking through slide by slide if it's a presentation.
The service is free of charge for now, but expect that to change in the future. For now the company is keeping a very low profile on things like branding (of which there is little), or sharing uploaded documents in a public directory (of which there is none).