Chrome 14 Adds Native Client Support, New Audio Spec & Security Fixes

2 minute read
J. Angelo Racoma avatar

Google quietly rolled out the latest Chrome update over the weekend. Most Windows users won't notice the update, although Mac OS X Lion users will be pleased with a few UI optimizations for the Mac version. This update will be more exciting for developers, though, as Google has already activated Native Client application support through sandbox.

Native Client Framework for Running Apps

Google has been planning to implement its Native Client or NaCl framework on Chrome for ages. Meant as a ground-up redesign of the browser, NaCl lets developers build platform-agnostic applications on the browser, which should run as C/C++ binaries independent of the hardware or the operating system, and in a secure environment. This feature is already embedded into older Chrome versions, although disabled by a flag. Chrome 14 comes with NaCl automatically enabled, although the framework will only work with content downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.

Lion-Specific Updates Include Presentation Mode & Full-Screen

Apple introduced several user interface improvements in OS X Lion that go beyond the Mac OS X's traditional preference for a multi-document interface. As such, Chrome for OS X now supports full-screen and a presentation mode that closely resembles the legacy fullscreen style of Chrome. The update also comes with a new scrollbar style, which should work well with Lion's look and feel.

Support for a New Audio Spec

Chrome 14 also includes support for a new draft specification being pushed by Google via the W3C. the WebAudio API specification will enable rich audio processing in web apps, meant for spatially-realistic sound output.

Learning Opportunities

Chrome 14 also features 32 major security patches, of which 15 are considered highly important. Some of these bugs were a result of bounty-hunting competitions. Google has reportedly paid US$ 14,337 in total for bugs fixed in this version, which is quite a small amount, since the Google Chrome Security Team and the Chromium community caught most of the flaws.

Chrome should automatically update for most users, particularly those using the stable channel. Be sure to check your version through the "About Chrome" option, which should check Google's servers for any update.