Trying to define Google as a company isn’t easy, but if there is one theme that every project seems to share, it’s the drive to make the web every bit as rich and fast an experience as what can be found offline. Web App’s are starting to catch on in a very meaningful way, but browser technology is still far too immature to take advantage of all the powerful hardware found in modern machines.
The ideal solution would be to allow code to execute natively within the browser, but as Microsoft learned with ActiveX, this is far easier said than done. On Friday however, Google announced it is beginning to roll out its “Native Client” with Chrome 10, and they think they’ve found a secure way to deliver the type of performance that could power everything from 3D gaming to rich media.
A complete rundown on the SDK and roll out schedule has been posted to the Chromium Blog, but the team feels confident that the new Native Client functionality can be safely contained within the Chrome sandbox, thereby preventing malicious applications from doing any real damage to the host machine. If you’re looking to play around with the feature before it is baked into the mainstream version of Chrome, open up your beta build and enable the feature by typing “about:flags” into your URL bar.
The discussion groups have a few links to active projects, but clearly the developers are still in the very early stages of learning how to use the SDK. Is giving the browser low level access to the hardware a recipe for disaster?