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WordPress Adds Turbo Button Using Google Gears

Wednesday is WordPress’ five year anniversary since its original 0.7 release, and the online content management system prepared for it by going “turbo.” The online version of WordPress added a link which turns on Gears and makes your administrative dashboard faster.

Google’s recently open-sourced Gears is an add-on for Firefox 2 and 3 and Internet Explorer 6 and 7 browsers used primarily for downloading, or synchronizing, files for use locally and/or offline. When you click on the turbo link, WordPress uses Gears to download up to 200 files which speed up WordPress functions. The effect combines WordPress’ online capabilities with desktop application power by running JavaScript in the background and utilizing a local database of synchronized data.

Gears is increasingly growing more common since MySpace demonstrated Gears’ ability to speed up search and sort functions on its messaging system. MySpace and WordPress show Gears can be used for more than just offline web storage. Gears is also similar to advancements promised in web standards such as HTML 5.0, which is slowly being tuned into modern browser features. Both Gears and HTML 5.0 are a good indication of where rich internet applications of web 2.0 (3.0?) are headed.

WordPress’ new feature is a nod to the “turbo” buttons once found on the faces of x86 computers. The practically useless buttons would speed-up the processing power nominally, giving you a false sense of pride and, at least for the first few times, a feeling much like the one Bo and Luke Duke must have felt when they jumped over that river every week on Dukes of Hazzard. At the time when turbo buttons existed, I don’t know anyone who would ever turn it off, but the feature allowed you a basic feeling of interactivity and a little finger exercise.

While WordPress’ turbo functionality is much more exciting in terms of technology than its namesake, the company has even more plans for their five year anniversary. The company is hosting a party at a local club in San Francisco. Invitation details are available at