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Google Gears For Safari And Other Browser Addons

Google today released a beta of Google Gears for Safari. Still no iPhone support, but that’s not likely due to Apple’s rather restrictive licensing rather than technical reasons. It’s good to see them keeping true to their original efforts to support all platforms equally. That’s been a gripe of mine recently.

With Google creating Gears for all browsers, Apple creating QuickTime on all browsers, Mozilla creating <canvas /> support for IE, Microsoft creating Silverlight and Windows Media Player for all browsers (though Mac users are through Flip4Mac) it creates an interesting web of technologies. Everyone is starting to fill holes on other platforms. The downside to this is that users need to download multiple components for a good web experience. That is still a major concern for the future of the web. It’s not all about licensing.

9 replies on “Google Gears For Safari And Other Browser Addons”

    Insert Linux has web browsers but no Quicktime or Sillverlight speel here
Sorry but for consistency i cant go around telling everyone to support our 5%-10% firefox users only to leave the 3%-7% linux users hanging

With Google creating Gears for all browsers

Only if by all browsers you really mean IE, Firefox, and Safari—and if you seriously think those are the only web browsers out there, you have a major case of myopia.

@Ahem: That’s the vast majority of the market share right now, and the list of supported browsers for most large sites. Yes there are other browsers out there (heck I still see Netscape 3 routinely on this blog), but not enough to warrant the effort supporting. That’s just a fact of life. If it works… great.

“The downside to this is that users need to download multiple components for a good web experience.”

Actually the Flash Player covers all these areas very nicely in one nice and tidy package. Even offline via a streamlined integration with AIR, where it automagically installs the AIR runtime if not installed, and the user’s desired application.

The only thing I see left out is worker pools I think.

@enefekt: Flash has many issues, it’s not available on all mobile devices and it’s not free to develop on. The usability factor isn’t bad. Linux support is also still lacking as is pretty obvious if you know anyone who uses Linux full time.

For a short while I thought I had all my web compatibility issues handled with Flash, Quicktime and Flip4Mac, but, more often now, I see standards thrown out. Some content providers insist on offering up weird encoded video and wrapping then inside a WMV. On a Mac, this is not good news. F4M does a stellar job, but it’s impossible for them to keep up with all the different codecs. ….and, Quicktime doesn’t seem to be catching on too much, outside the Mac realm. Even though ti’s available for PC, not everyone has it.
I’m all for advancements in the industry, but I would hope there are some visionaries, in places of power, that can guide these changes with the ease of use in mind for the consumer.

“Flash has many issues, it’s not available on all mobile devices”

If that’s a litmus test, then we’re all constrained to the lowest common denominator.

“and it’s not free to develop on. ”

Sure it is. The tools I use to develop apps for the Flash Player are free.
And the Flex SDK is open source as well.

“Linux support is also still lacking as is pretty obvious if you know anyone who uses Linux full time.”

Linux support is there, and improving all the time.


Yes, Flash on mobile is the common denominator. That’s why AAC or OGG Vorbis hasn’t taken off. It can’t be played anywhere. MP3 on the other hand has excellent support. MP3 is really an inferior technology in many ways, but it’s the standard because it works on anything.

Existing free tools to develop Flash apps are extremely limited. Adobe is opening up the specs, but it will take a long time before anyone gets even close to a complete implementation. They have also not went forward on any OSI approved license or creating any standardization process. So far it seems Adobe will just continue to publish specs, rather than collaborate openly. Of course one could fork, but a fork will never survive with Adobe’s 98% marketshare. There’s also the issue of video. Don’t forget newer versions of flash support h.264, but most video on the web uses On2, and likely will for some time. It is licensed by Adobe and can’t be open sourced unless On2 Technologies decides to.

Linux support is a joke. Even Mac support is pretty poor considering how much video pegs the CPU. Yes they did optimize how it displays bitmaps (and they did an excellent job), but it’s still sub par to the Windows version. The Linux version is a few classes below that.

This was really wourth waiting for! Gears on Safari really speeded up my use of daily web applications. Let’s hope to see Chrome on the Mac platform really soon to and Gears to port for the iPhone.

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