Google Gears, a technology developed by Google to offer offline functionality for browser based SaaS applications, is officially dead. Google today announced that they are not developing Google Gears any more because they plan to push this offline functionality into HTML 5.
If you’ve wondered why there haven’t been many Gears releases or posts on the Gears blog lately, it’s because we’ve shifted our effort towards bringing all of the Gears capabilities into web standards like HTML5. We’re not there yet, but we are getting closer
Once in the early days of SaaS, Google Gears was very attractive to many SaaS vendors. I even argued that it is a lifeline for SaaS. After the initial buzz died down, I was talking to many SaaS vendors and some of them mentioned that even though they don’t see significant use of Gears by their users, it was one of the things users were looking forward while evaluating SaaS applications for adoption. Eventually, the development of Gears slowed down.
In the mean time, Google got busy with developing Chrome browser. In January, they released a version of Chrome that had native support for database API similar to the one had by Gears along with APIs like Local Storage and Web Sockets. In fact, tech blogosphere was buzzing with talk about lack of interest on Google’s side for the development of Gears. Today’s announcement puts an end to any speculation firmly confirming that Google will eventually end support for Gears and focus more on getting the features inside HTML 5.
Google also told that they WILL NOT support Safari on Snow Leopard. However, they will be supporting Firefox and Internet Explorer till there is an easy way to port applications to support these features using standards. Essentially, the lifeline of SaaS becomes a life support for these features till there is support on the HTML 5 side. I am not surprised about this move because this is the next step in the evolution of the technology and since Gears is an open source technology, there is always scope for those people who want to see it live forever .