Friday, April 4, 2008

Google Gears, a Software Update for the Web

Google Gears started as an open-source plug-in that enabled web applications to work offline, but its real purpose is to speed up the addition of features to web browsers. Developers are frustrated that it takes too long to create standards and they have to wait until they enter mainstream by being included in web browsers. Brad Neuberg from Google says that it takes 5-8 years for an idea to be included in enough web browsers so that developers can actually use it. "We need a better way to get new features out to the Web. Google Gears is an open-source mechanism for updating the Web", explains Brad the underlying motivation for building Google Gears.

Google's Dion Almaer sees Gears as a "bleeding-edge HTML 5 implementation". "There is a lot in common between Gears and HTML 5. Both are moving the Web forward, something that we really need to accelerate. Both have APIs to make the Web do new tricks. However HTML 5 is a specification, and Gears is an implementation." Some pieces from Google Gears could even become standards and it's likely that they'll be added to web browsers faster.