Has anyone used this yet, or have a review of how well it performs in the real world?

Satisfied that its security underpinnings are solid, Google has promoted its open-source Native Client technology to accelerate Web applications out of its research phase and is taking steps to build it into the Chrome Web browser.

"Based on our experience to date, we believe that the basic architecture of our system is sound and the implementation is supportable. So now we are undertaking a number of tasks to transition Native Client from a research technology to a development platform," said Brad Chen, Google's Native Client engineering manager, in a mailing list announcement Wednesday.

Native Client, called NaCl for short, is a mechanism to run software downloaded over the Web directly on x86 processors such as Intel's Core line. The key motivation is to attain the speed of regular "native" software installed on a computer rather than the much slower JavaScript environment that sophisticated Web sites use today. It's one part of Google's broad effort to evolve the Web from a collection of relatively static sites into foundation for more powerful applications.

Executing native code from the Web is easy--until you start trying to worry about security risks. To this end, Native Client examines software before it runs to block software that takes a variety of prohibited actions, an idea called static analysis, and it runs the software in a protected sandbox.

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