Home New Chrome Blurs The Line Between Web and Native Apps

New Chrome Blurs The Line Between Web and Native Apps

Google just shipped a new stable release of the Chrome browser that includes two new technologies: Native Client, which allows execution of C and C++ code within the browser, and the Web Audio API, which brings advanced audio capabilities to JavaScript. These features were released in the beta channel in August.

The update also contains some long-awaited improvements for users of Mac OS X Lion, which did not get along well with Chrome previously. In addition to fixing “many crash bugs” and adding “some all-around visual polish,” this release adds Lion’s new scrollbars and support for its full-screen mode.

Native Client, which was released in the beta channel in August, now allows all Chrome users to run applications written in C and C++ securely inside the browser, blurring the line between native and Web applications. Currently, Native Client only supports Chrome Web Store apps, but Google says it is “working to remove this limitation as soon as possible. Google also plans to make Native Client available as a plug-in for other browsers.

Check out what Native Client can do:

The new release also opens the Web Audio API, which enables Web developers to build in sophisticated audio effects instead of just playing back simple sound files. Google provides some examples of the kinds of cool effects made possible by this API, and they’re worth a listen. (Note: you’ll need a browser that supports the Web Audio API, so try it in an updated copy of Chrome.)

This Chrome release expands the realm of possibility for browser-based applications. Now that native-level code can run in the browser, where is the line between “Web apps” and “native apps” in the desktop environment?

What’s your primary browser?

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