At Google's Developer Day event on May 31st, the company announced Google Gears, an open-source technology for creating off-line Web applications. You may think of "offline Web" as an oxymoron, but this type of technology is sorely needed to get around a key limitation of SaaS - the ability to use your SaaS applications when you're disconnected from the Internet.
At Google's Developer Day event on May 31st, the company announced Google Gears, an open-source technology for creating offline Web applications.
For those of you who think "offline Web" is an oxymoron, perhaps you're right. However, this type of technology is sorely needed to get around a key limitation of SaaS - the ability to use your SaaS applications when you're disconnected from the Internet.I call this the "airplane factor." As sales guys are flying around, they find that lack of access to customer and sales information limits productivity. Salesforce.com has provided some capabilities to work around this problem since 2003, but the fact that Google is on board could mean that the other SaaS vendors will have a quick solution, and soon.
From this article on eWeek.com, we get a better feeling about Google Gears from Bret Taylor, head of Google developer programs.
"Taylor said he believes Google Gears marks an important step in the evolution of Web applications because it addresses the issue of availability of data and applications when there's no Internet connection available, or when a connection is slow or unreliable."
What's more interesting here is not the capabilities of technology such as Google Gears -that's really old news - but the fact that Google is in the game with something that's both open and cheap. Thus, developers will latch on to the product quickly, and SaaS vendors will find that off-line productivity, while complex, is something they can offer their clients, and get around an objection that many potential users have when it comes to SaaS.
Some of the core problems to consider are both data synchronization and security. When providing the convenience of off-line access, there needs to be a mechanism to sync the off-line data with the on-line data while ensuring data integrity. Moreover, the data must be secure. Barely a week goes by without hearing about a laptop lost or stolen that contained sensitive information. The information stored on the laptop needs to be encrypted and thus unreadable if it falls into the wrong hands.
The use of technology such as Google Gears goes well beyond SaaS, including the ability to manage content off-line from any browser-based application that needs to function in a disconnected environment. I, for one, would find that to be very useful given the number of hours that I'm sitting in 23B, on some flight to somewhere.
Count on the use of off-line data access technology to increase dramatically in the near future, for both SaaS and other uses. Clearly we are moving to a connected world that needs to accommodate times when we are disconnected.
Application integration and service oriented architecture expert David Linthicum heads the product development, implementation and strategy consulting firm The Linthicum Group. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.At Google's Developer Day event on May 31st, the company announced Google Gears, an open-source technology for creating off-line Web applications. You may think of "offline Web" as an oxymoron, but this type of technology is sorely needed to get around a key limitation of SaaS - the ability to use your SaaS applications when you're disconnected from the Internet.
2014 Next-Gen WAN SurveyWhile 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.