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Google Native Client speeds web apps on Macs, PCs

updated 04:45 pm EST, Tue December 9, 2008

Google Native Client share

On Monday, Google announced it has launched a developer site for its Native Client open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications. This decision to share the technology with research and security communities is meant to help Google perfect and troubleshoot the technology, making it secure enough for public use. The idea is to let users take advantage of the fast processing speeds of their own PCs while performing tasks in web-based programs and applications.

By granting web developers access to users' CPUs, Google hopes to enable them to write much richer, more dynamic content. Google realizes the potential security issues involved, and want to maintain browser neutrality and OS portability with its undertaking, which is why it is asking developers for help. The release includes a runtime, a browser plug-in and a set of GCC-based compilation tools. As well, Google has defined rules and instruction limits for developers that aim to keep potentially virus-like code from spreading.

Google foresees Native Client as allowing users to, for example, edit images on a photo-sharing site quickly and easily without undue waiting periods. While users can currently do so using JavaScript and server-side processing, the process is a slow one due to the large amounts of data transfer and latency involved.

The tools and runtime offered by Google allows users to write portable code modules that will work in Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome on Windows, Mac, or Linux systems with x86 processors. Google is working on supporting ARM and PPC, among other CPU architectures, for wider device support.

by MacNN Staff



  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No. h*** no.

    I don't care if it's Microsoft's Active X or Google's Native Client, I'm not going to trust native (and hence inherently unsandboxed) code from untrusted sources.

    Not just NO, but h*** NO.

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