Gearing up with Google

GOOGLE IS SEEN as about the only company that can make Microsoft shake in its shoes. So the latest announcement from Google sets the cat among the pigeons yet again.

Google Gears is the latest project to come out of Google Labs, the source of most of its interesting developments over the past few years.

What Google Gears aims to do is make applications that have been online only – such as Google Reader or even its Google Docs word processor – available offline.

The problem facing companies that make software that requires a connection to the Internet is that its users aren’t always connected to the Internet, so when the connection is down, they cannot work. That makes it difficult to persuade potential customers to use the system when availability isn’t guaranteed.

With Google Gears those developers suddenly have access to an easy way of making applications available offline. Because it’s Google that’s offering this service, it’s already available for Internet Explorer as well as other non-Microsoft browsers, such as Firefox.

Some players, such as salesforce.com, have already committed to using the system. But it remains to be seen if the rest of the industry follows its lead. If the industry does accept it, it could make Microsoft’s stranglehold on some markets a little more tenuous, especially at the low end.

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Gearing up with Google