Google Bids Adieu To Gears, Welcomes HTML 5

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A few years back, Google had developed a desktop utility called Gears. This was a part of Google’s effort to prove that Web applications such as Gmail and Google Docs could be as sophisticated as desktop apps.  It was essentially a Firefox and Internet Explorer extension that allowed the users to navigate through the compatible websites offline and synchronize when going back online. It offered features like offline caching of emails and drag-and-drop file uploading. Interestingly, a number of these features have been included in HTML5, latest  standard programming language that powers the Web. The technology is built into Google’s Chrome browser.

Google is all set to launch the first version of Chrome for the Mac and at the same time they have decided to withdraw the Gears project. According to a Google spokesman,

We are excited that much of the technology in Gears, including offline support and geolocation APIs, are being incorporated into the HTML5 spec as an open standard supported across browsers, and see that as the logical next step for developers looking to include these features in their websites,

Still Google has a lot of ground to cover, as HTML5 is not ready and none of the commercially available browsers support it. In some versions of Firefox and Apple’s Safari, geolocation has already been implemented. This will allow the browsers to access an approximate GPS location and pinpoint your device on a map, especially beneficial for mobile apps.

A big reason for not including Gears in Chrome for Mac in the interim, as we wait for HTML5 to solidify, is a technical hurdle. Gears is not compatible with the newest version of the Mac operating system -Snow Leopard.  Google’s shift to focus on HTML5 was driven by change in Snow Leopard. Google  next year’s release of Google Chrome OS is expected to support HTML5. At the same time it Google considers the fact that Gears would be incompatible for newer Apple computers, whereas HTML5 will assuredly be ready to go in Mac browsers even before the final draft of the language is complete.

According to the sources, Google would continue to support Gears so that nothing breaks for sites that use it. However, it expects the developers to use HTML5 for these features moving forward as it’s a standards-based approach that will be available across all browsers.

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