Google Inc. is providing developers with Google Gears, an open source technology for creating offline web applications. This new browser extension is being made available in its early stages so that everyone can test its capabilities and limitations and help improve upon it.
The long-term hope is that Google Gears can help the industry as a whole move toward a single standard for offline capabilities that all developers can use.
Google Gears addresses the availability of data and applications when there's no Internet connection available, or when a connection is slow or unreliable. As application developers and users alike want to do more on the web and in the browser – whether it's email or CRM or photo editing -- enhancements that make the browser environment itself more powerful are increasingly important.
"With Google Gears we're 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 in the cloud," said Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google. "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."
Google is offering Google Gears as a free, fully open source technology in order to help web application, not just Google applications. As a first example of what is possible, the Google Reader feed reader is available today with Gears-enabled offline capabilities.
Google will be working closely with all members of the web community to converge upon a standard so developers have one consistent API for offline functionality.