If you haven’t heard of it, it appears to be a Google research project into running secured native x86 code in a browser. Yes, we have tried that before with ActiveX and it was a security disaster. But the underlying need for high performance interactive web pages is pretty intriguing. If you could write browser applets in C++, why wouldn’t you? I suppose…
I had to try it myself. The install instructions are for Firefox, but I dumped Firefox for Chrome a while ago. It’s good that Chrome has some Firefox in it, because all I had to do was copy the plugins for Firefox into my Chrome Plugins directory (it’s hidden in Local Settings, Application Data, Google, Chrome, Application, Plugins).
I was then able to go through their little demos and tests. They’re cute and the Mandlebrot demo shows some of the power. There’s also a demo of the open source SDL version of id’s Quake. It’s pretty complicated to build and I couldn’t get it working on my Windows box (mainly because I’m Cygwin-free and it seems to need it). But it’s an interesting idea, taking an SDL-based application and converting it to run in a browser (Native Client uses SDL to do audio and video). Maybe, they’ll even expose OpenGL through SDL to the native code as well. That would be more interesting.