Gears Updates to Version 3

Google released a new version of Gears today which is one of the first Firefox add-ons to support the highly touted Firefox 3 browser.

Google Gears is an add-on for Firefox, Internet Explorer, and, soon, Opera browsers that allow you to use websites even if you are offline. This comes in handy for slow or spotty internet connections. When you’re connected to the internet and navigate to a Gears-enabled website, Gears will store website data locally for access later when you’re no longer connected.

Version 3, its latest release, also has the ability to create shortcuts on the desktop and heralds new functions to help developers create fluid web-apps using the technology.

A couple weeks ago, MySpace demonstrated the kind of extended functionality Gears was capable of by showing off its new messaging service. MySpace’s rich search and sort features in their messaging service proved Gears is good for more than just offline access, it can utilize some of the power of your computer to aid your web applications.

In this way, Gears is a heads-up for the future of the web. The add-on is a sneak preview of functionality the HTML 5.0 standard promises to deliver. Gears and HTML 5 propose a future of faster and more seamless web applications by yielding the power your personal computer can provide.

Until HTML 5.0 sees more widespread adoption in browsers, Google Gears code must be coded into participating websites and the add-on must be downloaded through Google’s site. Sites that currently support Google Gears include and Google Docs collection of online office applications, RSS news feed application Google Reader and online to-do list application Remember The Milk.

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