Google launches 'Gears' to enable offline Web applications

Google has launched Google Gears, an open source platform that allows online properties -- such as Gmail and any other Web application -- to be used offline. Google announced the platform at its Developer Day in Sydney on Thursday.

Google has launched Google Gears, an open source platform that allows online properties -- such as Gmail and any other Web application -- to be used offline.

Google announced the platform at its Developer Day in Sydney on Thursday.

"With Google Gears you can take Web applications and make them run offline," Google Australia's director of engineering Alan Noble told ZDNet Australia.

"A good example is Gmail -- an online e-mail application. What do you do when you are on a plane? You can't use Gmail ... but once Gmail is Gears-enabled, you will be able to use Gmail on and off the plane," he said.

"Gears is open source so any developer developing Web applications will be able to use Google Gears to take their own applications and make them work offline as well. Developers have to program to the Google Gears API, so there is some work involved in doing that," said Noble.

Adobe is already working with Google on the Gears project, according to Noble, who hopes it will become a global standard.

"We are hoping it will be a standard -- we have signed up companies such as Adobe to help make it a global standard and we are making it open source to encourage as many developers as possible to get behind the standard," he added.

Watch the video interview with Google Australia's engineering director Alan Noble.