Google Gears is no longer supported.
What Google Gears Was:
Google Gears is a Web browser extension that allowed offline access to some online applications by downloading data to your hard drive. Google Gears was not restricted to making online tools work offline. It also allowed for enhanced online functionality.
- Windows: Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox
- Mac OSX: Safari or Firefox
- Linux: Firefox
- Windows Mobile: Internet Explorer
Google Gears lets you use Google Docs while offline, although it is fairly limited in how you can use them. You can view presentations, documents and spreadsheets offline, but you can only edit documents, and you cannot create new items at all.
This is still enough to allow you to give a presentation at a venue without a computer connection or view a spreadsheet at a hotel.
Google Gears can be used by Gmail to eliminate the need for a desktop email program. If you enable offline access to Gmail, it operates in three modes: online, offline, and flaky connection. Flaky connection mode is for when you have an unreliable Internet connection that might suddenly cut out.
Gmail syncs messages so that when you are offline you can still read, compose, and press the send button. The actual message delivery will occur after you are online again.
Google Gears lets you read your calendar offline, but it does not let you edit items or make new entries. It's still useful in cases where you have a flaky connection or are traveling without Internet and don't want to have to carry a paper printout of your calendar.
When You Should Not Use Google Gears:
Google Gears downloads data to your hard drive. Don't use it on public computers.
The main competition for Google Gears is Adobe Air, which allows developers to create Web-based applications that run outside the browser and use Flash for slick interfaces and rich interaction.
Third Party Applications That Use Google Gears:
Third party Web apps that used Google Gears included:
- Remember the Milk - task management
- Zoho Writer - online word processing
- PassPack - password storage tool
- MindMeister - mind mapping
- Buxfer - personal finance
- Autodesk Project Draw - diagrams and charts
- Paymo - time tracking
- MySpace - social network
- WordPress - blogging
Google Gears is available from the Web at gears.google.com.