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One of the most frequently requested features for Google's web applications is the ability to use them offline. Unfortunately, today's web browsers lack some fundamental building blocks necessary to make offline web applications a reality. In other words, we found we needed to add a few new gears to the web machinery before we could get our apps to run offline. Gears is a browser extension that we hope -- with time and plenty of input and collaboration from outside of Google -- can make not just our applications but everyone's applications work offline.
The API is available here
I think this has the potential to be a massive blow to the Office suite. Having said that, Open Office achieves a similar objective (free offline spreadsheet/word processing/etc) and doesn't seem to have dented Microsoft's enthusiasm.
Yea, anyone think about the data they are going to collect and use?
Google collects no data with the Gears API. It's stored locally on the user's computer. Think of it as having a huge cookie with an embedded SQL database for local access.
I fear Google on the search side, but what they are doing for developers is great. Google is building amazing, innovative technology that is open sourced and community driven. MS should be *very* afraid. I'm going to the Google developer day today and am happy to report back to WebmasterWorld following.
Google knows what to do with the data, Microsoft doesn't. :)
Hard to say at the moment, but this could be a major part of the paradigm shift to making Web apps viable. Few people want to have to stop all work if they don't have a live Internet connection. Network outages still occur, and 99+% of our land mass doesn't have WiFi yet. Having said that, I recently experimented with a Verizon smart phone that let me access the Web directly or connect my laptop to the Web at DSL speed. In a couple of weeks of using it, I didn't find a place where I couldn't connect. So, with wired Internet service backed up by a cell phone connection, using Web apps as primary tools gets less risky and more attractive - even without a "disconnected" use option.
Really? In what world?
Out of the two I think I'd be more inclined to trust Google thant Micro$oft
Microsoft for me also. Microsoft could have taken any and all of my info over the years if they wanted it. So by default of being around longer and with a much larger reach than Google they have proven themselves at least a little bit.
The notion of Google being able to produce an offline set of tools that work is years away at best. They are an advertising/marketing company and should stay that way since that is what they do best.
An API for this is the best all those PhDs could come up with? Come on...create something yourselves Google. Something that can compete one on one in the real world of apps and I'll consider it.
I think I am going to move to Vanuatu or something.
Gears is a browser extension that we hope -- with time and plenty of input and collaboration from outside of Google -- can make not just our applications but everyone's applications work offline.
That sounds like the ideal vehicle for hackers to exploit. A browser add-on running on many computers that allows nearly all sorts of on-line applications running locally. I guess the hard-core hackers are already exploring Google's documtentation to see if it will be useful for them.
Until now there was a strict separation between on-line and off-line code execution with current browser being reasonable able to separate between the two. With the gears add-on that may become more fuzzy. If the gears add-on works like Google promises (running on-line applications off-line) the API should contain hooks to store and retrieve data from the internet, as well as from your local harddisk. Therefore I won't be the first to install it on my computer.