New Chrome beta goes Native (Client)

The first stages of the next-gen tech Native Client have made their way into the latest Google Chrome beta, along with better encryption, a new API for sound, and the old-school Print Preview feature for Macs.

Google Chrome

One of the biggest changes in how Chrome works has begun to make its way into the beta build of the browser, as Google Chrome 14 beta (download for Windows | Mac | Linux) now comes with the first beta release of Native Client. This is a major breakthrough in development terms, indicating that the NaCl project is moving ahead more or less on schedule. However, full NaCl support is still a long way off.

You're not likely to see any of Native Client, as it's a major reworking of how the code that powers Chrome functions. Basically, it changes Chrome so that it runs in a double sandbox, combining the convenience of Web-based JavaScript with the performance of software written specifically for an operating system-and-processor combination.

While NaCl is at the forefront of software technology, other changes to the Chrome 14 beta lock down long-missing or otherwise absent features. Mac users finally get Print Preview, and all users will benefit from extending encryption to all synchronized data.

Several new APIs debuted in the beta, including support for the new Web Audio API and two experimental APIs for extensions. Web Audio supports room spatialization and simulation. One of those handles Web requests, and the other deals with content settings. Finally, in addition to multiple security and bug fixes that migrated from the developer's channel to the beta, Apple users get Mac OS X Lion feature support. Google's changelog for Chrome 14 beta is available, too.

If Google's previous release schedule is any indication, the developer's build of Chrome ought to update to version 15 within a week or so.