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Google Gears launched; take online web applications offline

Google has just launched Google Gears, an open source browser extension that lets developers create web based applications that are accessible both online and offline.

Gears is a 700 KB plugin for Firefox 1.5+ and Internet Explorer 6.0+. Opera support is under progress. Gears will work on Windows, Linux & Macs.

According to Google, Gears will install 3 modules:
  • A local server, to cache and serve application resources (HTML, JavaScript, images, etc.) without needing to contact a server.
  • A database, to store and access data from within the browser.
  • A worker thread pool, to make web applications more responsive by performing expensive operations in the background.
Google Reader is the first application that uses Gears. To make Google Reader work offline, install Gears and login to Google Reader. A new green coloured icon will be displayed at the top of Google Reader. Clicking it will make Google Reader download the last 2000 items to your computer. These feed items can then be read without an internet connection.

Other applications like Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets are also expected to be 'geared' up for offline access.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, May 31, 2007