Google Gears

Google released Gears a browser extension that enables people to access Web applications when working off-line.

This is a significant development in defining software and associated APIs and charting the evolution of the Web-platform. You can read about Gears at Google's code.google.com/apis/gears and a good summary is available also at CNet.

Salient points include:

  • API. A defined API for the Web-platform; it defines access to 1) a local Web-Server - yes, an embedded Web server to cache and serve html, JavaScrip, images, etc.; 2) local Database, SqLite, to store and search data locally; 3) WorkerPool: allows asynchronous operation resulting in responsive operation e.g parallel work.
  • Open-source. BSD open-source license.
  • The Google culture. Geek-friendly culture fostering creativity by Google employees and by outside developers. The first Google application using Gears, Google Reader, was done as part of the company's program in which employees can work on their own projects for 20 percent of their work week.
  • Participation of other companies. A number of companies working on Ajax-based applications are working with Google to define and use Gears; these include Adobe, Opera, Mozilla and Dojo Foundation creators of Dojo Tolkit.
The amount of work, products, services, APIs that Google is releasing is shaping the direction of the Web-platform which in this case defines the way a Web Browser and Web-Applications can work in a disconnected, standalone, manner. Products such as Palm's Foleo may indeed use this technology as Adobe and others likely will use it to offer their applications in connected and disconnected mode.

Google's Gears blog is located here.

I found this blog with some very interesting thoughts on the impact of a universally accepted method, a standard, for content synchronization across the Web.
The Web platform's promise is access to content anytime, anywhere and on anything—as long as the user has Internet access. Google Gears could bring some of that information off-line, further extending that promise. Universal synchronization would be game-changing, however; it would be a paradigm shift for digital devices, desktop software and the Web.


Anonymous said...

Microsoft will be in trouble...


Anonymous said...

Microsoft may choose to use this open-source technology as others will and offer services that provide function while connected or not.

I believe most of what MS needs to do is a mindset change in at least two ways: 1) use and author open-source software; and 2) embrace the Web platform.