Feeds

Google Chrome beta turns on native code machine

Native Client in the chute

High performance access to file storage

With its latest Chrome beta, Google has turned on Native Client, its rather bold effort to securely run native applications inside the browser.

This means that Native Client is slated to make its official debut with Chrome 14 in September.

In a recent interview with The Register, Google vice president of engineering Linus Upson said that initially, Chrome will run only Native Client–based applications distributed through the company's Chrome Web Store. Through the store, Google will ensure that developers offer versions of their applications for both x86 and ARM, the two processor instruction sets currently supported by Native Client.

Native Client allows Chrome to execute C and C++ with security restrictions that are, according to Google, similar to what you get with JavaScript. The technology is designed to run games and certain other browser applications at speeds that exceed the capabilities of today's JavaScript.

"While the [Chrome] team has made JavaScript tremendously faster over the last two years, there's a lot of applications out there that have existing audiences that are [written in native code, such as C and C++], and there are a few that are specialized applications that need every last bit of performance the hardware can offer. Native Client is a way of addressing both those issues," Upson has told us in the past.

Google has also built a new cross-platform plug-in API known as Pepper, which can provide C and C++ bindings to the capabilities of JavaScript and HTML5, bridging the gap between Native Client and the browser proper. Pepper is already used with the Adobe Flash player that Google integrated with Chrome last year.

Mozilla and Opera have both expressed reservations about Native Client, saying it undermines the web's simple, contained, cross-platform programming model. But Google is answering these criticisms with a new version of Native Client that can run across all processors. Portable Native Client – or PNaCl, pronounced "pinnacle" — compiles C, C++, and other languages into the Low Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) bitcode format, which allows for client-side translation into the client's native instruction set.

This will not be ready in time for Chrome 14, and Google indicates that the existing incarnation of PNaCl is slower that the original Native Client. But Upson told us that when released, PNaCl will offer speeds comparable to JavaScript. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
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
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.