Chrome beta adds native client
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 12 August 2011

The latest beta of Google's Chrome browser sees the integration of Native Client and a new JavaScript API for audio effects. This is good news but it is also bad news.

Developers will welcome both these new features which extend the capability of the platform even if it does mark out Chrome as different from the rest and hence a special case.

Native Client allows C and C++ code to be executed inside the browser with security restrictions similar to JavaScript. Native Client (aka NaCl the formula for salt) apps use Pepper, a set of interfaces that provide C and C++ bindings to the capabilities of HTML5. So, with salt and pepper developers can now use their native code libraries to deliver portable web apps.

The new Web Audio API supports audio effects such as room simulation and spatialization, allowing web developers to create more immersive game experiences. Some documentation and examples are available here.

 

chromeIcon

 

Such rapid development is good but the downside is that Chrome is increasingly becoming a unique platform in its own right. Are you really going to slap a splash screen in your application that says  "Must be viewed with Chrome"? This doesn't seem to be what standardization is all about.

The battle of the browsers seems to be coming down to who can put more new, novel and unique features in their browser so that the others have to play catch up. This would be fine if they all did play catch up but Microsoft seems to be making a virtue out of progressing slowly and sticking to standards. After all IE isn't even supporting WebGL which is a standard so you can hardly expect support for NaCl in the near future can you?

More Information

Chrome beta channel

Google Chrome Blog

Related news

Talk to Chrome

Chrome 10 arrives 

 

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