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.At the moment they have just a developer test release available, so nothing to give to real end-users. But anyway it is nice to test it and see it working. If you have a Google Reader account, you can give it a try. Chris Wetherell, Google Reader Engineer, writes on the Reader blog about the integration of Google Reader with GGears. A really nice thing would be to have it integrated with Google Calendar, where it would give enormous benefit. Immagine that in this way the calendar functionality could be used without any Internet connection and when connecting then, the added meetings and entries could be synchronized as already done in Google Reader...In my ears this sounds as a step in the direction of the - so often stated - Google Operating System since with Google Gears all the apps are available locally, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail maybe... :) who knows.
On Google Code, they describe that GGears disposes of the following features:
- 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