Google Tries To Make Microsoft Completely Irrelevant

Google Gears was Google’s last attempt to make progress towards putting much more sophisticated applications into the browser. It gave the browser a local cache to hold files (HTML, CSS, images, etc.) and a database to soup up the client side capabilities of JavaScript code. With it you can make an offline version of your web application that can work without the Internet being available. Then they built on that by shipping their own browser (Chrome) which compiles JavaScript code to make more complicated applications feasible. Oh, and they made sure that Google Gears comes bundled with Chrome too.

That’s a start at being able to make more sophisticated web applications in an operating system independent way, but their latest move is more than a shot across Microsoft’s bow, it’s more of broadside volley of cannon fire aimed directly at them.

They’ve come up with a plugin architecture called Native Client. With it you can run code at nearly native speeds within a browser because most of the code is actually running right on the chip. No emulators, no virtual machines or interpreters (ala. Java, JavaScript, and Flash), just raw code running hell bent for leather with some code around it that checks it before running it to make sure it can’t do bad things and some other code the monitors it all the time it is running. To demonstrate they’ve ported Quake to Native Client as well as some other high performance applications and they’ve started asking people to test it on various operating systems and browsers. In fact they’ve even gone so far as to offer bounties people can earn for figuring out any way to exploit the system (i.e. to let people download something that should be safe but because of a Native Client flaw it can infect or damage their system in some way).

Once they’ve got the kinks ironed out, I’m willing to bet money you’ll be seeing this bundled with a future version of Chrome.

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