Google hints at native code in Chrome Web Store
Lego Star Wars goes Native Client
Google I/O Google has indicated it will offer native code browser applications from the Chrome web apps store that's due to launch later this year.
The Chrome Web Store is designed for use with Google's Chrome browser and the company's upcoming Chrome OS, and it would appear that the store will make its debut when the OS hits netbooks in the fall. Chrome OS will include Native Client, the Google add-on that verifies and executes "untrusted" native code inside the Chrome browser, and in the past, Google has said that Native Client will be an "important part" of the browser-based operating system.
Last week, when Google vice president of product management Sunder Pichai unveiled a working prototype of the upcoming Chrome Web Store, he showed it offering up the popular online game Lego Star Wars. "We were wondering what game to show this audience," Pichai told several thousand developers. "We figured that as long as it had 3D, Legos, and Star Wars, it would work well."
During a separate conference session, Google's Ian Lewis let on that Mountain View is behind Unity's port to Native Client. Lewis said his team "got the opportunity" to port the game "about five weeks ago". Four developers, he said, needed a mere four weeks porting not only the game and the runtime engine but the monocompiler and runtime. "This really isn't a super difficult thing to do," he said.
When Google executives met with the press at Google I/O last week, The Reg asked about the company's specific plans for native code applications with Chrome OS, and the company merely said that Native Client would be included with the OS, just as it's included today with the Chrome browser.
If Google is now working to port third-party applications to Native Client, we can only assume — as we've assumed in the past — that the company is working to port its own applications. We wouldn't be surprised to see native code versions of the company's online office apps when Chrome OS makes its debut. ®