Robert Scoble breaks the news that Google brings developers offline with "Gears" where he writes

Right now in Sydney, Australia, the first of 10 Google Developer days are starting up and the audience there is hearing about several new initiatives. The most important of which is “Google Gears,” an open source project that will bring offline capabilities to Web Applications — aimed at developers
Regarding Gears. It works on Macs, Windows, Linux on IE, Firefox, Opera. Enables versioned offline storage. Extension to HTML/JavaScript.

They are showing me a demo of the new Google Reader using the new Gears plugin. After you load the Gears plugin you get a new icon at the top of your Reader window which enables offline capabilities of Google Reader. They showed how Google Reader then downloaded 2,000 feed items. They took the browser offline and it continued to work great.
Gears supports using Adobe’s Apollo and Flash and should support other technologies including Microsoft’s Silverlight.

Gears will be submitted to a standards organization eventually, they said, but want to make sure the technology is rock solid first.

Am I the only one wondering what took them so long? I remember chatting about this in mid-2005 with Joshua Allen, we were both pretty sure it we would see it happen within a year. I guess a year and a half isn't so bad. :)

The bit about standardizing the technology is a nice touch, not that it matters. What matters is that "it doesn't work offline" is no longer a valid criticism for Google's family of Microsoft office knock offs (i.e. Google Docs & Spreadsheets) or any other AJAX/Flash application that competes with a desktop application. Running it through a standards body wouldn't make a significant difference one way or the other to the adoption of the technology for use with Google apps. It may prevent other developers from adopting the technology but I doubt many developers would look this gift horse in the mouth, after all it is freaking offline support for Web apps. 

Welcome to the future.


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Thursday, May 31, 2007 8:59:42 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
It was the first thing I observed today when I launched Google Reader using IE 6.0 on Windows XP. I ran the setup file only to see the installation screen disappear without a trace. Lifehacker's documented the same issue (but they were able to run it successfully on a Mac).

Insufficient testing?
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