Google Gears and the next generation of RIAs

Google’s announcement of its Google Gears offering … on the heels of Adobe Apollo and Microsoft SilverLight … continues to accelerate the opportuntiy to enable very rich application functionality via web services based applications and in the browser. While still an intergral part of the mix, we’re already beyond just talking about Ajax apps.

Let’s review quickly the evolution of the Web from a browser / client perspective:

  • Web 1.0: publishing, shopping and other commerce – make a request to a server and get something back, entire page refreshes; lots of data forms and templates
  • Ajax: request / response capability within a page, without requiring entire page refreshes, also accomplished with embedded flash/actionscript within a page; Gmail among others allow us to work within a page and get frequent updates
  • Google Gears et. al. – all of the above, plus use your web services apps offline and leverage local processing – can anyone say client/server? except this time the server side is the global internet and messaging is a lot easier, including private SOA enabled networks behind firewalls and security layers assuming you have the right access privileges, and the client side is a heck of a lot lighter, cheaper and standards-driven

The implications for the next generation of enterprise and consumer applications based on these new application frameworks are huge. This ZDNet article captures some important points on this next wave for web services applications.

Google, as usual, seems to be embracing an open approach, including partnering with Adobe Apollo. Microsoft, as usual, seems to be tying their framework into .NET back ends exclusively. I think we’re all going to be incredibly surprised at how fast adoption of Google docs and email will happen in the enterprise. I don’t know if I have the guts yet to trade a Google / Microsoft spread, but despite Microsoft’s diversified businesses, Office and Exchange are major franchises next to Windows, and are significantly at risk now.

My desktop world, like all others, has changed with the advent of the Web and Ajax. The majority of my desktop is now a brower window with several tabs open –