Going offline with Google Gears

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.

Gears today covers what we think is the minimal set of primitives required for offline apps. It is still a bit rough and in need of polish, but we are releasing it early because we think the best way to make Gears really useful is to evolve it into an open standard. We are releasing Gears as an open source project and we are working with Adobe, Mozilla and Opera and other industry partners to make sure that Gears is the right solution for everyone. We also want to get early feedback, community involvement, and rapid iterations.

So visit our developer page to join the mailing list, submit feature requests, file bugs, and of course send patches. We can't wait to hear your feedback.