When Google first came out with its online applications through which we could use its word processing and spreadsheet programs online, plus store our data online, my first thought was: Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this offline as well? I know many folks who spend quite a lot of time on airline flights and having this ability would certainly expand Google applications when an online connection is not available.
Well I guess the folks at Google felt the same way, and now offer what is called Google Gears [Beta] for your viewing enjoyment. As with all testing software, your mileage may vary on how well it works for you. But I have tried it and thus far is looks very promising.
My first experience using Google Gear was on a airplane flight from Chicago to Providence. I had installed the software prior to my leaving home and thought this would be a good test to see if it works or not. Overall the software works well. The only problem I had was trying to convince my darned browser that I didn’t want to connect online. But once that was solved I was able to use the extension just fine. As Google states on the Google Gear Blog, this still needs some spit and polish — with this, I agree. But overall this should be very promising in the future.
Google states that:
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.
There are many ways to approach offline Web applications. The Gears team believes in the open Web and the simple technologies it is built on, and we didn’t want to change that. So Gears is an incremental improvement to the Web as it is today. It adds just enough to AJAX to make current Web applications work offline.
Keep up the good work, Google. This looks very promising indeed.
Have you tried Google Gears? What was your experience?
Google Gears Blog here.
[tags]google, gears, off line, web, applications, [/tags]