|By Maureen O'Gara||
|December 9, 2008 04:26 PM EST||
Oh, look. Google’s found another way to annoy the…to annoy Microsoft.
This one’s called Native Client, a shiny new open source R&D project aimed at running fast x86 native code in web applications.
It’s another way of going for the desktop’s jugular and, paired with Google Gears and Google Chrome, potentially a giant step for browser-as-platform.
According to a Google blog, it’s supposed to let web developers “access the full power of the client’s CPU while maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability and safety that people expect from web applications.”
“If web developers could use all of this power,” Google muses, “just imagine the rich, dynamic experiences they could create.”
Here, in a nutshell, is the problem Google says it’s trying to solve:
Google says these components make it possible to build applications that run in a browser but incorporate native code modules.
Said modules have to follow strict rules to protect users from malware and to maintain portability. For instance, they can’t contain “certain instruction sequences.”
Google says making it safe is a “considerable challenge. That’s why we are open sourcing it at an early stage: we believe that peer review, community feedback and public scrutiny greatly improve the quality of security technologies like this one.”
Google surely has other reasons but it’s left them unspoken.
Native Client currently supports the Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome browser – What? No IE? – on any modern Windows, Mac or Linux system that has an x86 processor.
Google says it’s working to support other CPU architectures like ARM and PPC for ubiquity.
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