Google Gears: Offline is the New Online, Part XXXIV in a Series

With its announcement late today of online-into-offline  Google Gears — and an offline version of Google Reader, among other things — Google has done a bunch of important things.

First, and most importantly, it has made me look sooooo smart with my continuing “offline is the new online is the new offline” riff.  This is something I’ve been tipping relentlessly for some time here.

Second, and some will think more importantly, Google has shot another cannon across Microsoft’s bow. One of the main things that Microsoft’s core apps have had going for them was they worked offline, while Google’s didn’t. Soon that will no longer be the case, and we will see a real set of how sticky Microsoft’s apps remain.

Finally, and this is shrewd stuff, Google has stolen a march on Bill Gates’s visit with Steve Jobs tonight at D. Where Google used the day to announce a rethink of the whole offline/online paradigm, and Steve Jobs is introducing DRM-less music and a deal with YouTube for Apple TV content, Gates’s Microsoft has tried to capitalize on tonight’s event by … launching an electric pool table.


  1. Wait a sec. I thought online was the future? People have been filling my heads with this for years now. MSFT is dead because their stuff works well offline but not online. Now you’re telling me offline was important all along? So what advantage does Google have over the myriad of competitors who have tried to pick away at Office in an offline setting to absolutely no effect?

  2. Hmmm? You have it backwards. Google’s stuff is written first for online, which is totally different than being written first for offline.
    More importantly, online and offline are important. We live in both places. That said, there are big advantages to having the canonical place be online, and integrating backward to offline, rather than the reverse.

  3. As always, you’re right about GOOG… unless, of course, you’ve been drinking again. In which case, please – PLEASE – don’t call me again. Really. I have no connections with the sheriff’s department.
    Seriously, though, the ref. to the “electric pool table” is prescient. This really is amazing technology, but it is (at the moment) for *technology’s sake.*
    Technology for its own sake is a science project. If Microsoft announces a couple (or even one) major *implementations* of surface computing in the next several days, I will (pretend to) eat my hat.
    This is cool stuff, but unless there are adopters that have been working w/ MS early on, this will be yet another piece of cool tech announced way too early (remember AT&T’s video phones in ’66 or ’67?) that *never* gets adopted because market forces move too fast for the required R&D to be cost-effective in the partner company.
    But what do I know? I’m just a poor dumb hillbilly who happens to see the leading-edge development trends of virtually every major country in the world… as they happen.

  4. Recently I wrote on my blog a post title – why i hate gmail? ( Solving the lack of offline capability I agree is a HUGE step forward for google, but google is still missing perhaps an even more important step forward – mobile device sync. Until that happens right me off.
    As well – as you will see in my post – I can’t stand google’s application ui. They drive me NUTS. Google might have the technological where with all to compete with Microsoft, but Google has a long way to go to build a winning UI (not that MSFT is the master FWIW). And as Apple has shown a good UI can beat good technology.

  5. Brilliant marketing move for Google, turning a weakness and a deficiency in their strategy and product set into something their fawning fans in the blogosphere can spin into Google Gold! Of course Ozzie has been talking about a hybrid approach for two years but Ozzie isn’t cool and doesn’t have his very own Boeing 767 that I know of. Microsoft has an offline online email strategy that is much further along than gmail.