Until recently, Google have been developing an open source project called Google Gears. It was a new method of allowing browsers and web applications to interact with your desktop and store data in fully searchable databases. A good example of how Google Gears useful functionality was to offer offline support in Gmail.
With the introduction of HTML5 many of Gear’s features have become redundant as HTML removes the need for a plug-in to allow interaction of web applications and database storage as well as other offline features. Because of this Google has decided to stop developing Gear’s and has got rid of its support for Apple’s Safari browser.
For now Google will continue its support for Gears on its own browser, Chrome until there is an easy way for applications that are built in Gears to be migrated over to a HTML5 method.
In the long run the HTML5 transition should mean great things for users. For now it is a shame to see good solutions fall by the wayside while we wait for the major browsers to catch up and support the latest standards.
By Dan Alderson