Google on March 3 introduced Google Gears for mobile devices to allow users to work with certain mobile applications offline.
Initially available for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5 and 6, the software could be valuable for mobile professionals who need to access their e-mail, word processing and spreadsheet applications from their mobile devices when connections are spotty.
The desktop version of Google Gears saves some of the Web data users need to work offline on planes, trains and automobiles where no Web connections exist for laptops. Similarly, Gears for mobile devices saves Web data that users need to work offline from their mobile devices.
Thus far, software makers such as Buxfer and Zoho have pledged their support for Google Gears for mobile devices. Buxfer, a personal finance Web application that helps users track their money, will now work offline on a Windows mobile device.
“Mobile phones are a road warrior’s best friend when working away from the office,” Vegesna said in a statement. “This is the primary reason why mobile support continues to be a top priority for Zoho.”
Google Software Engineer Chris Prince wrote in a blog post that Google will keep the Gears API consistent across all platforms. This means the application will work across different systems regardless of whether they are running on a smart phone or a desktop.
Charles Wiles, product manager for Google’s mobile team, added that developers will also be able to hide latency issues through controlled caching of data and storage of information between sessions.
Moreover, Google’s mobile team is writing a version of Google Gears for mobile to work with the company’s Android operating system and other mobile platforms.
Google, Microsoft and Apple are all slugging it out in the red hot mobile applications space. However, all are coming at the space with different strengths.
Google’s strength in the early going is mobile applications; Microsoft makes the most successful operating system of the three; while Apple, the only one of the three to sell a device, owes its success to the iPhone.