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Firefox 3 Offline Apps (and Google)?

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

Monday, February 12, 2007
13 years ago6,201 views

This is a cool bit of news:

"Robert O’Callahan from Mozilla, who is based in NZ but drives the rendering engine of Mozilla/FireFox, spoke about how Firefox 3 will deliver support for offline applications. This is significant because you'll be able to use your web apps – like Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, etc – in the browser even when offline. I deliberately mentioned all Google web apps there, because of course this plays right into Google's hands.

Although Mozilla is an open source organization, some of its top workers are employed by Google. So it's a very cozy relationship. We've discussed before how Firefox 3 as information broker suits Google very nicely, because the Mountain View company has a number of best of breed web apps – and if it's not building them, it's acquiring them (YouTube, JotSpot, Writely, etc)."

readwriteweb.com/archives/fire ...

Imagine having Google apps on and offline!

BUGabundo [PersonRank 7]

13 years ago #

When we do, I'll start using FF 3.0

dpneal [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

that would be brilliant. when is FF3 due to be released?

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3/Sche ...

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

And from the bottom of this page (wiki.mozilla.org/ReleaseRoadma ...), it looks like they are shooting for November of this year for the final version of Firefox 3.

Timo Heuer [PersonRank 2]

13 years ago #

Wow, very nice for Google. I think Google's support of Firefox could become bigger... ;-).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Another piece of the web OS/ office puzzle...

Hitmanhackerzero [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

well huh y does this not impress me i kinda figured any way i love google and firefox and agree they should support them more GO FF

Jon Heckman [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

This doesn't make sense to me (especially gmail) how this could work unless they work with google to make this work since several appls like docs and spreadsheets and gmail constantly talk to the server to check for updates.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Well, e.g. for Gmail, I don't think you can get new mail or actually send something. But you might at least be able to prepare mails offline, or read mails you already downloaded, or hit "send" and it will wait in your inbox until the next time you connect. Sort of like offline email clients do today. Not sure how it's supposed to work in detail though, and I have to admit I'm never really offline anyway with the computers I'm at. (Or if the internet connection does break down, I just turn off the computer for a while because I can't do much work without a working connection!)

Datrio [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

I don't understand some things, either. From the article, I understood that FF3 will provide TOOLS so that you can use Gmail/Gcal/etc. offline, but frankly – FF2 already has DOM Storage, which can store, let's say, 1000 of your latest emails (without attachments). Only problem is that Gmail doesn't implement it.

Like Jon said, Gmail is impossible to make into an offline app with it's current structure. Google would have to make an offline version of the app, which could be cached by the browser, and the data would be stored in DOM Storage – but once more – this can already be done in FF2!

Okay, I actually went over to the original speech, and don't find ANYTHING new there. The only thing they could incorporate, is that when you try to view a webpage while offline, you'd have been ASKED do you want to see an offline version of it.

In short – until clarification, this little bunny is not amazed.

Google Tutor [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Sounds cool. My only concern is that FF3 with all these tools built-in might be just too bloated for comfort. I mean I like the way that Firefox is just an approx. 5-meg download (at least the Win32 and Linux releases, OS X Universal Binaries are double that). This is great when working on public terminals or client/friend computers. It's just a one-minute download on fast connections and about 5 to 10 minutes on dialup--great for people who are allergic to IE.

What would be better is if the Firefox development team to release these tools as an add-on, which users can optionally download (or Firefox can let users download a "full" version and a "basic" one instead).

Jon Heckman [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Google Tutor, They could download the program if you visit that specific app or something (if this proves to be anything to special)

INFORMANT [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

This can all be done already with ThinkFree. It worked several years ago, but just wasn't as 'hip' or exciting. Now reconsider why Google is in talks with ThinkFree and why that speculative rumor mill quietly went away last month. Does Google have enough control over news channels to silence discussion of their own potential acquisitions? Have you bothered to look at exhibit 21 in their filings to see just how many global (media) offices they have? Beware the future. Google is coopting Open Source, playing favorites and potentially destroying thousands of alternative programs that work against their commercial initiatives.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

<of course this plays right into Google's hands.>

Am I the only one here that doesn't think it "plays right into Google's hands", or at least that it's not so "of course" as OP says?

Many have already said, to fully use that, Google will have to build _yet another_ (in addition to, if I count correctly, 5 they already have to maintain) Gmail (and GCal, and...) interface. And then we'll have just another OE. Do we really need that?

Speed is mostly gone (GCal opens ~15 seconds here, on T1 link). Uncluttered interface is gone. Invitations (as a way of "vouching tree" for users) are gone. The only thing that's left is power of "always online", and Google's skillful use of that (chat, realtime ads, autosaving independent of hard drive,...). Take that away, and there will be no strength left in Google's way of thinking. You can see it clearly now on Google Desktop. Although there's really no reason to be so, it's practically unoperational (not Sidebar, but Search) when offline.

Google can't think offline. Maybe they'll adapt, but it's very hard for them to do.

mb [PersonRank 2]

13 years ago #

Here's the spreadsheet of FF3 features, see item GKO-009:

spreadsheets.google.com/pub?ke ...

See also this discussion on the Gecko roadmap:

mozilla.org/roadmap/gecko-1.9- ...

Another limitation often decried by developers of rich Web applications is the lack of a reasonable offline execution model. Mechanisms to remedy this lack include: facility to pin sets of pages for offline use; a mechanism for detecting that the application is running offline; and events to signal that the user is going offline or returning to online operation. Taken together with the aforementioned client-local storage system, these mechanisms would combine to enable a number of improved and important web experiences.
   * Offline operation
   * Client-local storage

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> Google can't think offline.

I'll repeat what I said before, after having smoked some "heavy (proverbial) stuff" on October 16, 2006:

<<The whole world is online, and Google got that, and they got it a long time ago, and they’re still benefiting from this. They aren’t the only ones who get it, but boy, do they have money and users to make it all come real. However, Google also knows that sometimes, people are *offline*, and slowly, one after another, they prepare their tools for it. If Microsoft Office can do it with calendars and spreadsheets and emails and databases, they want to be able to do it, too...>>
blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-1 ...

Veky [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Right now, I just don't see any proof for your claim that "[Google] prepare their tools for [people being offline]". On the contrary, yesterday I installed Sketchup 6 on my new laptop. It practically blocked until I allowed it web access in the firewall. I can't guarantee, but I think previous version worked pretty fine offline.

Also, regarding <If Microsoft Office can do it...>, many smart people have already written: Google doesn't want to fight already won wars. It is much better at opening new fronts...

It will be very interesting to see which one of us was right, Philipp. :-)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> I just don't see any proof for your claim
> that "[Google] prepare their tools for [people being offline]".

True, my post didn't provide the proof. All I said was that I saw "a path into the future, extrapolated from the past." :)

photoactive [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Somewhere we read something about the plan (did Eric Schmidt talk about it?) that can be summarised thus: in the medium to long term, the way the technology is going, always on internet access practically everywhere will be a given. So eventually, I imagine, Google won't NEED to have offline apps. In the short term, however, it does look as though they're very interested in developing offline capabilities or offline version of some of their new apps. So it's a two-stage process.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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