Out of the blue Google have announced a new beta product that could make their web application suite absolutely killer.
Google Gears is just out and you can get it here: http://gears.google.com/
Gears is browser extension which will allow you offline functionality for web applications.
What's more is that you can see this in action right now in Google Reader. Clicking the offline option will prompt you to download Gears, and once installed you can click a little green arrow at the top of the page and it will download the last 2000 posts and put you in offline mode. When you go back online it will synchronise your data. Nice.
Offline Gmail anyone? Google Notebook! Calendar! Maps!?? Docs and Spreadsheets…
This is a very significant step for Google's web applications and could really bring serious pressure to bear on other providers. Of course the browser extension is open-source which means people will be able to strip it apart and see what makes it tick I suppose.
I can only see this as being a good thing – although it does mean that before when the net connection went down there was nothing else to do but walk away from the computer and do something else… those days could be numbered.