Google CEO Eric Schmidt takes every opportunity to rally "Who needs the PC or a laptop for storage!" in his never ending quest to gather all the world's information "safely" in the Google worldwide cloud. That is the Google mission.
Nevertheless, he spearheads Google efforts to extend Google to the Desktop, Google Web applications in particular.
Google has shifted into high Desktop gear with the introduction of "Google Gears":
An open source technology for creating offline web applications. This new browser extension is being made available in its early stages so that everyone can test its capabilities and limitations and help improve upon it. The long-term hope is that Google Gears can help the industry as a whole move toward a single standard for offline capabilities that all developers can use.
Google Gears marks an important step in the evolution of web applications because it addresses a major user concern: availability of data and applications when there’s no Internet connection available, or when a connection is slow or unreliable.
Has Google turned ecumenical then? Hardly. Schmidt underscores the end-game:
With Google Gears we're tackling a key limitation of the browser in order to make it a stronger platform for deploying all types of applications and enabling a better user experience in the cloud.
- 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
The Google beta disclaimer: "Google Gears is currently an early-access developers' release. It is not yet intended for use by real users in production applications at this time."
As Google itself would therefore acknowledge, it is not yet time to call the Microsoft Office vs. Google Apps fight.
Things are starting to heat up, though, from all directions!
Read my exclusive interview of Gravity Zoo in Google vs. Microsoft Office? NO: vs. Open Office (.org)! discussing the implications of its OpenOffice.org porting project, designed to bring OpenOffice to the Internet.