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Gears of War

When search giant Google rolled out its Gears package in May, it quietly signaled a major shift of momentum in the arena of integrated Web applications and development.

Google Gears is a set of development tools that enable free Google apps (currently limited to Google Reader) to be used offline. By enabling local storage and processing, Google Gears effectively slams shut a critical competitive gap between Microsoft and Google.

As one IT director for a mid-sized law firm told me: "[It] might be an easy way for our attorneys to brown-bag client data and take it to court while people are still working with it. Microsoft can't sit on this and think it can sell packaged apps forever, that's for sure."

Are Fortune 2000 businesses going to ditch Microsoft Office and millions of dollars of custom development to put workers on Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Calendar? Hardly. But the bottom-up appeal of Google apps should become a lot more attractive thanks to Google Gears, which is built on simple JavaScript APIs.

What are your impressions of Google Gears? Has your dev shop looked into enabling offline-savvy rich Internet applications using the toolset? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 07/25/2007 at 1:15 PM


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