With its latest Chrome beta, Google has turned on Native Client, its rather bold effort to securely run native applications inside the browser.
This means that Native Client is slated to make its official debut with Chrome 14 in September.
In a recent interview with The Register, Google vice president of engineering Linus Upson said that initially, Chrome will run only Native Client–based applications distributed through the company's Chrome Web Store. Through the store, Google will ensure that developers offer versions of their applications for both x86 and ARM, the two processor instruction sets currently supported by Native Client.
Mozilla and Opera have both expressed reservations about Native Client, saying it undermines the web's simple, contained, cross-platform programming model. But Google is answering these criticisms with a new version of Native Client that can run across all processors. Portable Native Client – or PNaCl, pronounced "pinnacle" — compiles C, C++, and other languages into the Low Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) bitcode format, which allows for client-side translation into the client's native instruction set.