After Google made an announcement about the offline capability of Gmail using
Google Gears, Raju Vegesna, Zoho Evangelist,
wrote a post listing various applications that make use of Google
Gears to offer offline capability. The list shows some surprising (?) names, and just in case it’s not complete, feel free to add to it. (Disclaimer: Zoho is the exclusive sponsor of this blog.) This finally forced me to write a post
appreciating the role played by Google Gears in the field of SaaS.
Apart from the technological capability, the very fact that Google released
it as opensource made it easy for other companies, including those who compete
with Google directly, to adapt it in their environment to offer offline
capability in their SaaS applications. This is an important example of
opensource playing an important role in SaaS.
Google Gears is also available for mobile devices. Buxfer Mobile and Zoho Mobile are already using it
in their mobile applications. Mobile is rucial for SaaS success. Google
Gears for mobile makes gears one of the most important component of successful
The general opinion about Google Gears is that it is a tool available to make
SaaS applications work offline. Eduard Martini of O’Reilly’s InsideRIA Blog has
written a great article where he points out the other benefits of Google
Gears and how it can be implemented in a SaaS application. Let me rehash the
main points of his article here to highlight the importance of Google Gears with
respect to SaaS.
- Speed: By using a fully manageable local cache, Google Gears can speed up
- Advanced Caching: By using the local SQLlite database and API access to
servers, Google Gears can cache redundant data locally and querying the database
for other intensive queries
- Local Full Text Search: Using the above caching technique, search could be
done on the client machine without loading up the server
- Moving part of application functionality to client side
- Making data available offline
- Geolocation API: Using Wifi signals to identify user’s location within 200 m
in major cities
With further improvements in the future, Google Gears is going to be the one
of the important components for SaaS and its success.