The Google Gears blog has been pretty quiet lately, and for a good reason. It appears the project, at least in its current state, is soon to become an orphan. Its no secret that Google is a fan of open standards, and they feel they are fairly close to duplicating all the functionality of Gears, but using HTML5 instead of a separate browser plug-in . “We're not there yet, but we are getting closer. In January we shipped a new version of Google Chrome that natively supports a Database API similar to the Gears database API, workers (both local and shared, equivalent to workers and cross-origin wokers in Gears), and also new APIs like Local Storage and Web Sockets.”
Google is promising to support the older version of Gears until the new HTML5 edition has fully matured, but curiously Safari on OSX Snow Leopard is being dropped because it would require a “significant engineering effort to support due to large architectural changes”. Firefox 3.6 users who have been left in limbo since its release will be happy to hear an update will be coming soon, but I fully expect it will be the last.
Gears has always felt a bit sluggish, so let just hope HTML5 can infuse some much needed pep into Google’s offline services.