File Under: Browsers, HTML5, Software

Google Is Ditching Gears in Favor of HTML5

When Google ships the Mac version of its Chrome browser later this month, it will arrive without Gears, the company says.

Google is phasing out Gears, its software for powering things like offline access, geolocation and local data caching in web apps, in favor of similar browser technologies being driven by the wider adoption of HTML5.

A Google spokesperson confirmed this with Mark Milian of the Los Angeles Times:

As Google prepares to release its first beta version of Chrome for the Mac (a developer preview has been available for months), the company is letting the sun set on its Gears project.

“We are excited that much of the technology in Gears, including offline support and geolocation APIs, are being incorporated into the HTML5 spec as an open standard supported across browsers, and see that as the logical next step for developers looking to include these features in their websites,” wrote a Google spokesman in an e-mail.

Milian also reports that Google arrived at this decision partially because of a technical hurdle: Gears won’t run properly on Snow Leopard, Apple’s latest operating system. Gears is built into Chrome on other platforms, and Google will continue to support Gears as long as it’s out there.

This is big news for web apps, which are rapidly becoming more powerful as browsers adopt HTML5 and other proposed standards designed to increase their functionality.

By and large, this move was expected — Gears was always intended to simply fill in the gap between the forward-thinking design of productivity apps like Gmail and Google Docs and the capabilities of most browsers. Now that browsers have largely caught up to the promises of HTML5 (except for IE, of course), there’s less of a need to patch today’s web to meet tomorrow’s needs.

So, welcome tomorrow.

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