Ever heard of Native Client by Google? I didn’t either until Google’s latest announcement for Google+ photo editing tools

Tech crunch summerizes it as the following:

This technology allows developers to execute native code in a sandbox in the browser. It can execute C and C++ code at native speeds and with the ability to, for example, render 2D and 3D graphics, run on multiple threads and access your computer’s memory directly. All of that gives it a massive speed bump over more traditional HTML5 apps (Native Client apps basically run at the same speed as they would in a desktop app, after all) and makes tools like the new Google+ photos editing features as fast as they are.

Native Client works in Chrome on Windows, Linux, Mac and Chrome OS, but other browser vendors are not supporting it. Mozilla, for example, is trying to get JavaScript to the point where it runs almost as fast as a native app (something they are getting very close to thanks to the asm.js project). Microsoft, on the other hand, is betting on hardware acceleration (and WebGL) in IE11 to make web apps run faster in its browser.

” - TechCrunch

While not entirely the same, Native Client sounds like ActiveX all over again, just with Cross Platform status. 

Seems like a round-about way to address the lack of native apps on Chrome OS.