Feeds

Google extends ARM to browser natives

Native Client plug-in goes portable

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Google has told the world that Native Client - its native-code browser plug-in - can now run on ARM chips.

When the plug-in was first released a year ago, it only ran on x86 processors, but the company has now updated the platform for x86-64 and ARM. In a blog post, Google said that its initial tests indicate that on both chips, a Native Client executable runs at about 97 per cent of the speed of unmodified native code. "These results indicate that a browser running on virtually any modern computer or cell phone could run a fast, performance-sensitive Native Client application," the company says.

Google doesn't like other peoples' plug-ins - contraptions like Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight - but it has high hopes for Native Client, aka NaCl. When it unveiled early code for Chrome OS in the fall, the company said that Native Client would be an "important part" of an effort to boost the performance of applications running on its browser-based "operating system".

Chrome OS is set to arrive in the fall on x86 and, yes, ARM netbooks. Google first unveiled Native Client in December 2008, calling it "a technology that aims to give web developers access to the full power of the client's CPU while maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web applications". Then, in October of last year, it slipped the plug-in into its Chrome browser, which serves as the centerpiece for Chrome OS. The OS is essentially Chrome running atop the company's Goobuntu flavor of Linux.

NaCl

NaCl

"We are investing a lot in additional technologies like Native Client, which will make it really possible for some of the most performance-intensive desktop applications to become web applications," VP of Product Management Sundar Pichai said when the early Chrome OS was unveiled.

In addition to Linux, Native Client runs on Mac and Windows.

With its blog post yesterday, Google also announced that it's developing a means of distributing portable versions of Native Code executables across all processors. "We recognize that just running on today’s most popular architectures isn’t enough; if a new processor architecture emerges, it should be able to run all Native Client modules already released without requiring developers to recompile their code," the company says.

"Using this technology, a browser running on any type of processor could translate the portable representation into a native binary without access to the source code of the program."

This Portable Native Client project - aka PNaCl, pronounced 'pinnacle' - uses the Low-level Virtual Machine (LLVM) bitcode format. Essentially, you can compile C, C++, and other languages into LLVM bitcode that allows for client-side translation into the client's native instruction set. A white paper detailing the open source project is available here (pdf). ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.