Google Gears Grinding Slowly

Almost a year ago, Google released Gears, a browser plugin to enable web applications to work even without internet access. Many of us thought at the time that it was a big deal.

Some of us are still waiting for our Google Docs to get geared up. Google started rolling out Gears for Docs a week ago, but it hasn’t rolled as far as me yet.

Harry McCracken has a good post at PC World about the (so far) Unfulfilled Promise of Google Gears.

The fact that Google itself hasn’t done that much with Gears-enabled applications yet–at least in any form that it’s willing to make public–is probably the best evidence that doing great stuff with Gears is far from a cakewalk… Google is clearly pretty serious about Google Docs (and Google Apps, which rolls in Gmail and other applications). And full-fledged offline functionality would be such a major step forward for Docs and Apps that you gotta think that Google will make it happen if it can.

As for Web developers other than Google, I’m not sure whether they’re struggling with Gears, or whether there’s simply less interest in offline apps than I hoped and guessed there would be.

I hope that the gearing-up of Google Docs will be a turning point (or tipping point, for the trendier among you) for Google Gears. I also hope to be able to try it out soon, and that it works better for me than Google Reader did.

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