Google Gears up for offline web apps
Steps on Microsoft's toes...again
Google has poked its fingers into the offline web application pie with today's launch of browser add-on Gears.
The search engine behemoth marked out clear intentions to enter territory dominated by Microsoft by offering free, open source technology that works without an internet connection.
Gears will run online and offline, allowing users to access data normally only available when plugged into the web.
Google already offers its own web-based docs and spreadsheets product to its users and said it plans to introduce programs including email, calendars, and word processing to its millions of users via the off-line browser extension software.
Google said it is keen to build "next generation web applications" and hopes to work closely with developers in the open source community to drum up new ways and means of delivering software to its users.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: "With 'Google Gears' we are tackling a key limitation of the browser in order to make it a stronger platform for deploying all types of applications, and enabling a better user experience.
"We believe strongly in the power of the community to stretch this new technology to the limits of what's possible, and ultimately emerge with an open standard that benefits everyone."
According to various reports, Adobe Systems supports the new technology and is already developing its own version. Browser makers Mozilla and Opera were also said to be keen to get involved with Gears.
The announcement coincided with Google Developer Day, which is taking place today at 10 cities around the world including Moscow, London, and Beijing where a whole range of Google products are being trumpeted by the firm.
You can play around with the beta software which is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux users here. ®
This has been done before - IBM have a product called DOLS (Domino Offline Services). You place an ActiveX control on your site and when the user clicks on it, a small local webserver is installed and the Domino database is replicated down to the local machine for offline use.
That Word has always been offline is not reason enough to pay the over the top price for it.
No-one is asking - to what end is Google doing this?
I can't imagine how much money Google has spent developing these applications, only to give them away for free. Why? It can only be in order to mine all the documents created by users for information in order ot gain a commercial advantage somewhere along the line, or to get a critical mass of users involved before charging for the service.
And now Google has plans to become an MVNO, it will have access to just about every form of electronic communication possible. What next, Google Post, Google Fax?
People who use these apps to spite M$ are merely helping to create another monopoly, but one that owns the data as well as the apps.