Plugins, which work with Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows, are available for Firefox and Internet Explorer. Support for Safari and Opera are forthcoming. On the Google Gears API Blog, engineers Aaron Boodman and Erik Arvidsson caution that this beta "is still a bit rough and in need of polish, but we are releasing it early because we think the best way to make Gears really useful is to evolve it into an open standard.
"We are releasing Gears as an open source project and we are working with Adobe, Mozilla and Opera and other industry partners to make sure that Gears is the right solution for everyone."
In Google's press release, Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe, indicated that the Gears API will be available in Apollo, Adobe's "cross-OS runtime" that lets Web applications run on the desktop.
The API comprises three modules:
- LocalServer, which "allows a web application to cache and serve its HTTP resources locally, without a network connection."
Google Reader users can get up close and personal with Google Gears as of today, with a new "offline" feature that "enables you to read your 2000 most recent items even when your computer is not connected to the Internet" -- a godsend for frequent flyers or office drones stranded in antediluvian meeting rooms that lack connectivity. To get started -- which requires the installation of Google Gears -- just click the "Offline" link marked with the red "New" icon at the top of the Google Reader home page, next to your Gmail address.
Other sample applications are available for your perusal, and/or you can download the code. There's a developer's guide to get you started, and a tutorial -- Enabling static files to work offline using Gears -- which "shows you how to create a manifest file, and make your files available offline."