Google Chrome 14 goes stable, Native Client apps including ScummVM hit the Web Store

Google Chrome’s short release cycle mean there aren’t always big changes to report from one version to the next. With the arrival of Chrome 14, however, there’s one major addition that could make a very big difference in the kinds of apps you see in the Chrome Web Store. Native Client has finally gone stable.

If you’re not familiar with it, Native Client (or NaCl) allows Google Chrome to execute native application code inside the browser. Native code run via NaCl has the potential to offer serious performance gains over what Chrome can typically run — apps created with pure web code like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. To give you an idea what Native Client is capable of, one of Google’s earliest demos was a Quake port running inside Chrome.

With Chrome 14 including NaCl and enabling it by default, it won’t be long before you start seeing a whole new breed of apps arriving in the Chrome Web Store. In fact, there are a handful there already, and if you’re into retro gaming they’ll be right up your alley.

First up is a port of the beloved ScummVM — a popular emulator that can play LucasArts’ awesome adventure games built using the SCUMM engine. While those titles include classics like Day of the TentacleThe Secret of Monkey Island, and Sam and Max Hit the Road, you’re limited to Lure of the Temptress and Beneath a Steel Sky for now. But hey, at least you can play them in your browser — even on your Chromebook! Hopefully support for local directories will be added soon so we can play games from our own archives as well.

The same Googler who tackled ScummVM has also ported Nethack, the classic dungeon exploration game. Still another member of the Big G’s crew offers up Colossal Cave Adventure for text-based gaming fans.

More “productive” apps will no doubt follow — perhaps even some much-needed local apps for Chromebooks, like simple photo and video editors.

via Google Chrome Blog

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