Google ‘Gears’ up for Web 2.0

Google GearsGoogle have taken one more big leap in the Web 2.0 revolution with the Beta release of Google Gears – a browser plugin that will let people run Web applications whether or not they’re connected to the Internet. Google hopes that the plugin will become the standard browser add-on that people will need to use applications on and offline. Google Engineering Director Linus Upson told ZDNet that the release was prompted by a need to liberate developers saying:

One of the reasons we’re doing Gears is that developers here at Google have really pushed the envelope on what can be done in the browser so engineers are hitting barriers harder and faster.

The software is based on 3 components – a local Web server, SQLite for offline storage and browser extensions that allows JavaScript to run in parallel. The first application to benefit from Google Gears is Google Reader although more Google apps will follow soon. Once the plugin is installed, users can read RSS content offline and synchronise with it the next time they are online via a green download button.

The Google Gears plugin has already received official endorsement from Firefox developers Mozilla, Opera Software and Adobe Systems. After testing the plug-in with Google Reader, I’m definitely impressed with this plugin. Testing it in Firefox, installation was quick and both sychronisation and offline retrieval took just a matter of seconds. Google have also made it very easy for those with a little Javascript knowledge to enable their own webpages to work offline with Google Gears with this handy tutorial. This open policy, plus the simplicity of the plugin, could mean this rapidly becomes an essential browser add-on for users everywhere. It just depends if the big software giants embrace it but with Adobe already on board, the future looks bright for Google Gears.

Loading comments