Google Native Client

Many people are speculating that Native Client will play a significant role in Chrome OS:

Native Client is an open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web apps. We’ve released this project at an early, research stage to get feedback from the security and broader open-source communities. We believe that Native Client technology will someday help web developers to create richer and more dynamic browser-based applications.

Could be this is part of Google’s plan for Chrome OS. But then again, maybe not — it’s unclear how much coordination there is across various teams at Google. But if it is, then so much for Chrome OS being “just web apps”. Native Client is ambitious and interesting, but native x86 code is a far cry from “web apps”.

(And if Native Client is limited to x86 code, that would rule it out for use in Chrome OS, since Google has stated that Chrome OS will run on both ARM and x86 systems. Update: According to slide 26 in this presentation from I/O, they plan to bring Native Client to x86-64 and ARM in the future.)

Saturday, 11 July 2009