Some time ago (31st of May 2007), Google Gears was launched. Yet another new project, next to all the other applications Google has launched already.
But this one is different. It's not a stand-alone application, like Gmail or Google Analytics, but a framework that makes it possible to store a website or a web application offline, so you can still visit this website or use this web application while you are not connected to internet.
To show what the framework does, a new feature was implemented for Google Reader, an online news feed (RSS/Atom) reader, that makes it possible to read newsfeeds while offline. This feature uses the Google Gears framework.
I've used it for a while now, and I must say that it works well. When I'm traveling by train for example, I switch to offline mode in Google Reader, before I leave home.
When going to offline mode, Google Reader downloads 2000 messages and stores them locally. On the train, I open Google Reader in my browser and start reading the news messages, just like I would when connected to the internet.
When I get back home and switch back to online mode, Google Reader synchronises with the online version. All messages I read offline, are marked as read and the starred or shared messages are set.
I'm wondering which Google applications will be next to have an offline mode, using the Google Gears technology. An offline version of Google Calendar would be nice. ;-)