Google Gives Glimpse of Future Gears Goodies

Webware reports that Chris Prince, a lead Gears engineer, provided some insight into what Google plans to do with Gears to advance the web browser's reach into the desktop. Among the features mentioned are notifications on the desktop of various events, support for location information, better interactions with a computer's file system, and technology to let large file uploads proceed even when hampered by intermittent network connectivity.

Prince demonstrated the following prototypes:

  • One let a Web page create a shortcut icon on a computer's desktop so people could launch that Web application with a double-click instead of a more laborious process.
  • A notification process, which like Yahoo's BrowserPlus feature ties into a computer's general system notification abilities, is a major missing piece in letting Web applications seize a user's attention the way desktop apps can. "Web apps have this problem where they can't tell users about important things happening on their system," Prince said.
  • His file system demonstration showed a dialog box that let him select a large group of photos for upload rather than the one-file-at-a-time process that today afflicts Web site operations.
  • A "blob"-processing ability could be used, for example, to divide a large file into bite-sized pieces, an approach that makes it easier to restore an upload interrupted by a bad network connection.
  • He used a geolocation-processing ability to process latitude-longitude information to provide a more useful Google map showing bars near Moscone Center in San Francisco.