At first their product seems to have similar target audience with Java Web Start, that as we know never really took off. It is also interesting that Google’s proposal for offline apps is based on the traditional web development paradigm with:
- A local server that allows a web application to cache and serve its HTTP resources locally, without a network connection and
- The API also provides a module called WorkerPool that provides mechanism for running intensive operations on the background without making the UI slow.
Delving into the 3 separate sub-APIs (1, 2, 3) my overall impression is that Google Gears seems like a wining product. Actually I have no doubt that we’ll see several implementations. What I cannot predict is whether Google will choose to develop a Gear’s version of GMail that will shift the balance in the Email client market, inevitably hurting Mozilla’s Thunderbird.