Native Client creeps into Chrome 14

As Google slowly builds the new backend for Chrome, called Native Client, the stable build of the browser continues to lock down security issues and expand features.

A small piece of the next-generation Google Chrome guts called Native Client arrives in Chrome stable about a month after it landed on the beta channel, as new audio technology also gains a footing. Google Chrome 14 stable for Windows (download), Mac (download), and Linux (download), also makes a spate of security fixes for all platforms, and some useful changes to the Mac version.

Chrome 14 is the first version of the browser to support Native Client (NaCl), an open-source technology that allows C and C++ code to be securely run in the browser. It basically lets software run within two protected sandboxes, which will theoretically cut down on browser-based threats dramatically. When completed, NaCl will power Web apps to run as smoothly as programs that are hosted on your hard drive.

As implemented in Chrome 14, NaCl works only for Chrome Web Store apps, though Google plans to expand NaCl so that eventually it powers the entire browser.

Also new in Chrome 14, the Web Audio API lets developers create advanced audio effects such as spatialization and room simulation in HTML5. Google has put together a page of samples that you can listen to here.

On Macs running OS X Lion, Chrome 14 stable now works with Lion's overlay scrollbars that appear only when scrolling. The hot-key combo of Ctrl+Shift+F will activate basic support for Lion's full-screen mode, implying that a more robust version of the feature is coming.

On the security front, Chrome 14 stable fixed 32 bugs that ranged from Low to High level. No Critical bugs were announced. One bug labeled High earned the researcher who found it $2,337, because it had allowed unintended access to V8 engine built-in objects.