Use your Google Calendar offline soon

Use your Google Calendar offline soon

Summary: Thoughts of combining Google services and Gears seems to be quite popular these days, however only one service so far (Google Reader) officially provides offline capabilities. Hints of offline support for Gmail surfaced last month after a Google translator pointed out a telling phrase he was asked to translate.


Thoughts of combining Google services and Gears seems to be quite popular these days, however only one service so far (Google Reader) officially provides offline capabilities. Hints of offline support for Gmail surfaced last month after a Google translator pointed out a telling phrase he was asked to translate.

The latest service to spill the beans, though, is Google Calendar. The other day, Marketing Pilgrim gave us a screenshot of the service actually asking to allow Google Gears. At first, proving this was actually happening to people was a bit difficult -- but now thanks to Tony Ruscoe, here is some javascript that confirms Google Calendar will be getting Gears support soon.

Type the following piece of text into your address bar in your browser while using Google Calendar for the proof:


Use your Google Calendar offline soon

If you look through the source code, references to Gears are scattered everywhere. After Google Calendar and Gmail both get offline support, maybe we should expect the same for Google Docs?

Topics: Google, Browser, Collaboration

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  • We still need a better language than JavaScript to write

    applications for offline use. Until then, we will ONLY have simple applications like Google Reader and Google Calender.

    Google Docs may be possible in edit mode only, but, import/export filters will NOT be possible in JavaScript. So, yo can forget saving a copy of your presentation in PDF while offline.

    Will it be Java? Python? or both? Since many will not want to give out source code, Java will be the most popular for complicated applications, Python for simple.
  • Another thing, when will they make Gears for Google Reader automatic???

    It really SUUUUCKS having to tell it to go offline. And, many sites like ZDNet, ONLY put the header of the article on the feed, so Google Reader's offline features are useless for ZDNet feeds.
  • Proof that SaaS is a half-baked concept

    You really know that "pure-play" software as a service is hurting when Google starts doing this type of thing. This is part of a trend of software developers and users realizing that relying solely on Web-based applications is lame. People like to have their data on their PC's and they like to be able to use their applications when they're offline. Heck, even has a Windows client version. Microsoft has the rigth vision on this - software PLUS services vs. software AS A service.
    • Users also like to have their data everywhere there is an internet

      connection. They also do not like installing, upgrading, patching, and backing up software. So, the new model where you can have your online apps available anywhere there is an internet connection, and they also work offline is the most desirable. Sure, we are in the transition, but when all of the pieces are in place, it will be the best model.
      • I think we're agreeing with each other

        What you call an "online app available anywhere" sounds a lot like an application that can run either as a pure Web app (no client code except in the browser or some other Webby runtime) or, when you have a PC or other device with local processing capabilities - a "client" app that connects with web services. It's the best of both worlds - pure Web apps when that's all you can run and Web-connected client apps whe you have local processing power and storage.

        I agree that part of the reason developers and businesses are erring too far on the side of pure Web apps is that installin, upgrading, patching and backing up client software is way too complex. That's a problem that can be fixed. It already is in some ways already. .NET has a "click once" feature where users can install a clinet app from a Web page in essentially one click and every time you go back to the application you can get the latest version. There are other programming models that deliver the same approach.
      • All of the issues you sighted can be addressed ...

        ... by connected desktop applications automatically checking for patches, etc. and applying them quickly on start up. As for being able to access data from the Internet, Office Live Workspace and similar solutions take care of that.
        P. Douglas
        • That's not the point...

          The reason SaaS is catching on and will continue to catch on more and more is because people don't want to have to use two different products and developers don't want to have to maintain two different products.

          I don't want to use a web-based application to look at my email online, then a client-based application to look at my email offline. I want to use just one application. One way to be sure I can view my email in the exact same application online and offline is to use a SaaS application.

          The other point is lock-in in terms of the operating system. If I am over at a friend's house, and I want to check my email, I am not going to want to have to configure his email client with my account information just to check email. I am also not going to want to install software on his machine. Chances are, if he has Internet access, he's got a web browser. It doesn't matter if he's on a Mac... a Linux machine... or Windows... or which version of Windows he is running... I can visit Gmail and have the same experience as if I am at my machine at home.

          This is the point of SaaS. It isn't that installing software is difficult, it's that it isn't always appropriate. I can create a spreadsheet in Google Docs on a laptop with Windows XP... I can then go to a friends house who might not have Office installed and is using Windows Vista... and can instantly have access to my spreadsheet (without having to carry a device around with me) and am instantly familiar with the interface to making edits, because it is exactly the same as when I created it. No software needs to be installed. It's just a service.

          Then, I can be traveling and not have a computer with me and decide to view and make changes to the spreadsheet using my mobile phone. There was no special software to buy. If I visit a friend on the other coast who uses a Mac, I can then load up my spreadsheet and start working on it there. No need to ask if he has Office installed on his Mac, or be concerned about a file not being quite compatible, etc...

          This is the flexibility of SaaS. The OS doesn't matter. The hardware doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it is a desktop, a laptop, or a mobile phone. When Microsoft Surface comes out, as long as it has a web browser (IE probably,) I know it will already work with all of my "applications" that are web based.

          The fact that these things are free is just an added bonus.