Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
5/29/2008
01:51 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Opera Cozies Up To Google, Adds Gears Support

I use Google Gears. I also use Firefox. When I upgraded to Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1, I lost access to Google Gears because it isn't supported yet. This is somewhat vexing. I also use the Opera browser from time to time. Today, Opera Software announced that both the desktop and the mobile versions of its browser will support Gears. Time for me to change browsers?

I use Google Gears. I also use Firefox. When I upgraded to Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1, I lost access to Google Gears because it isn't supported yet. This is somewhat vexing. I also use the Opera browser from time to time. Today, Opera Software announced that both the desktop and the mobile versions of its browser will support Gears. Time for me to change browsers?I live in my browser. Unless I am editing photos or videos, I pretty much run no other software other than my browser. That means my browser has to offer me a lot and it has to work well. Firefox has been getting the job done for two years now, but I've run into some issues.

Upgrading to FF3 RC1 appears to have solved at least one problem I was experiencing: constant Firefox crashes. I don't know what the issue was, but Firefox 2.0.0.14 did not want to work properly, and I had constant freezes, necessitating a forced quit. This stunk. So when RC1 became available, I upgraded almost right away to alleviate my problems. The crashing has gone away, but now half my plug-ins aren't supported, creating a whole different set of issues.

The biggest of which is Google Gears. It isn't available for FF3 RC1 yet.

Looks like Opera Software has my back.

Today's announcement was a welcome one. Opera will support Gears in its desktop and mobile browsers. I am particularly excited about the mobile aspect. One of the devices I use has Opera Mobile on it. To be able to access Gears from my mobile device would be great.

Google is pumped up about it, too. "Opera will have full support for Gears on mobile when they launch this year," said Charles Wiles, product manager for mobile Web apps at Google, in a prepared statement. "Opera Mobile 9.5 will be a great example of a high-quality browser on a mobile platform that supports Gears. This marks the coming of age of the browser as the platform for application development on mobile devices."

Opera's CEO, Jon von Tetzchner, adds, "The forthcoming Opera Mobile 9.5 with Gears will usher in a new era for the Web on mobile devices. Together, these products will create new ways to bring applications to life on mobile devices. Developers will be able to use this along with Opera Dragonfly to develop and debug compelling applications for any connected environment."

Google and Opera didn't provide any more details on exactly how a mobile version of Gears would work, but I look forward to its availability. I am clearly thinking of the ability to do more writing and reporting directly from my cell phone. Gears is one tool I might be able to use in order to do that.

In the meantime, I've already downloaded the latest version of Opera and will be putting it to the test.

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