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Google Chrome Demolishes App Divide

Posted on 9.17.2011

Google's powerful Web browser Chrome has unveiled a release that brings us all a little closer to univseral Web development.

The release came with two new technologies: Web Audio API, a feature that brings some advanced audio capabilities to JavaScript, and Native Client, which allows for execution of C and C++ code within the browser. Oh, and it also seemingly erases the divide between Web and native apps.

Originally, these features had been released on the beta channel back in August, but they are now a prominent part of the Chrome experience.

Web Audio API will help developers add in audio effects to JavaScript programming that will allow them to have a little more fun with "cool" sounds, as opposed to just playing back simple files. These only appear on browsers that support Web Audio API.

It's safe to say that most developers are going to be more interested in the offical release of Native Client, which makes it possible for all Chrome users to run applications that have been written in either C or C++ securely inside their browser. It works through the use of an API Google calls "Pepper" that provides HTML5 bindings for C and C++. When Native Client apps use Pepper, they will be provdied with a set of interfaces that equip them with the necessary bindings, allowing developers to leverage their proficiency and knowledge of the native code and pump out portable, high performance Web apps.

Google says that they have plans to eventually make Native Client available to other browers as a plugin. This could pave the way for cloud-based applications to execute desktop-level codes that could be run on Google Chrome, more or less eradicating the line between Web/cloud and desktop applications.

In addtion to these two major overhauls, Google's update also presents some improvements for Mac OS X Lion users, which, as I'm sure they'll tell you, isn't the most Chrome-friendly OS available. These include fixing crash bugs and adding some "visual polish," like the new Lion scrollbars and support for full-screen mode.


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