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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zoho Now Uses Google Gears

Every application using Google Gears strengthens Google a bit, because it makes more people install this still exotic plug-in (which in turn allows the Google office to become a stronger competitor to Microsoft Office). Gears, as you may remember, is that open source tool released on the Google Developer Day which allows web applications to store data offline. But Gears also has the potential to strengthen web applications using it; even those of Google competitors.

Now, as TechCrunch reports, Google office competitor Zoho beat Google to be the first to utilize Gears to make a word processing application offline-capable. A new “Go Offline” link in Zoho Writer triggers a Gears installation and then stores some of your documents on your hard disk to be read even when you’re not online.

However, Zoho Writer’s offline features are quite limited at this time; while you can read up to 15 of your documents, you won’t be able to edit the documents, or add new ones, while in offline mode – even though this is theoretically well possible with Gears. And if read-access is all you need, you can already export all your Google Docs documents to static HTML files in one go... without installing Gears, but just by using Google Docs’ “Save as HTML (zipped)” menu.

Still, people to this day are waiting for Google Docs to get any kind of Gears compatibility. So far, of all Google products, only Google Reader uses Gears. Maybe Google is too busy getting Google Presentations out the door? After all, Google CEO Eric Schmidt promised it to launch this summer. And perhaps Google wants to become the next Microsoft, but probably not in an announce-early-release-late kind of way.

[Thanks Art-One!]


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