By Bob Walsh
With Google’s announcement this afternoon of Google Gears – a set of libraries designed to give developers the ability to store server resources and data locally – the polite fist fight between Adobe and Microsoft just turned into an all out three way war.
On one side you have Adobe, who wants to push it’s ubiquitous Flash technology down to the desktop. On the other was Microsoft, seeking to redefine what we think an online application is via Silverlight. Now Google has entered this friendly fisticuffs and the stakes have just gone shot skyward.
Here’s a quick roundup on Google Gears:
What it is – CNET, Techcrunch,
What the implications and roadmap for Google Gears is: Scoble here and here and David Berlind with this post and podcast.
If Google can convince the developer world that it’s open source Gears are the wave of the future, what exactly do we need desktop software manufacturers for? If Adobe can break out of the ActionScript programming ghetto, it not the other Big Guys will redefine what people expect from what we so quaintly used to call “personal computing”. Finally, if the Microsoft juggernaut can turn the millions of .NET and .ASP developers from girly men who routinely get sand kicked in their face by those undisciplined .php and RonR brats into supermen able to run rings around the cutesy Web 2.0 world, it will will play the music that the billion person Internet dances to.
For years Google has been nosing around Microsoft’s core turf, nibbling a little Writely here, a little Google Spreadsheet there. With Google Gears, if it is as capable as Google engineers claim and if Google puts the resources behind delivering it first in Google Reader and if it can ignite enough online app companies to use it this will be the biggest challenge Microsoft has faced since it nearly didn’t get the Net in the mid-nineties.
Can Google pull it off? Can Microsoft rise to the challenge? I don’t know but make no mistake – all of the chips are now on the table. And you as a microISV need to pay attention to this war if you don’t want to end up collateral damage.
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[tags]Google Gears, microISVs[/tags]

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