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Gears (software)

This article is about the Google software Gears. For other uses, see Gear (disambiguation).
Developer(s) Google
Initial release May 31, 2007
Stable release (February 22, 2010; 10 years ago (2010-02-22)[1]) [±]
Development status Discontinued (see End of life section)
Operating system Windows XP, Vista, 7, Windows Mobile 5, 6, Mac OS X, Linux 32 bit
License Open source (BSD)

Gears, formerly Google Gears,[2] was software offered by Google that "enables more powerful web applications, by adding new features to the web browser. It allows some online files to be used offline".[3] Released under the BSD license,[4] Gears is free and open source software.

In late November 2009, numerous online news sources reported that Google was going to migrate to Web Storage rather than use Gears in the future. A Google spokesman later clarified that Google would, however, continue to support Gears so as not to break sites using it.[5] On 22 November 2011, Google announced that on 1 December 2011, Gears support would be removed from Gmail and Google Calendar.[6] Gears was removed from Google Chrome stable on June 7, 2011.[7]


There are several major API components to Gears:

  • A Database module (powered by SQLite), which can store data locally.[8]
  • A WorkerPool module, which provides parallel execution of JavaScript code.[9]
  • A LocalServer module, which caches and serves application resources (HTML, JavaScript, images, etc.).[10]
  • A Desktop module, which lets web applications interact more naturally with the desktop.[11]
  • A Geolocation module, which lets web applications detect the geographical location of their users.[12]

Version history

Version Date Description
0.1 2007-05-31 Initial release as Google Gears.[13]
0.2 2008-02-22 [14]
- 2008-05-28 [2] Project renamed to Gears to reflect the open source, collaborative nature of the project.
0.3 2008-06-11 [15] Introduced ability to add desktop icons, support for Mozilla Firefox 3.
0.4 2008-08-22 [16] Geolocation API / Event handling for upload / download transfer progress, localization in 40 languages
0.5 2008-11-24 [17] Updated SQLite, Geolocation can now get data from WiFi antennas, Improved API to manage data blobs on LocalServer


Several web applications from a variety of companies have used Gears at some point, including Google (Gmail, YouTube, Docs, Reader, Picasa for mobile, Calendar, Wave), MySpace (Mail Search), Zoho (Writer, Mail), Remember The Milk, and Buxfer.[18] WordPress 2.6 added support for Gears, to speed up the administrative interface and reduce server hits.[19] However, after Google announced in February 2010 that there would be no further development of Gears (see End of life section), several of these applications have discontinued their support for Gears, including Google Reader[20] and WordPress[21]

Gears can be enabled on sites where it is otherwise unsupported, by using a Greasemonkey user script one of the Gears engineers has created.[22]

Gears is supported on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP, Vista and Seven, Internet Explorer Mobile 4.01 and later on Windows Mobile, Safari 3.1.1 and later on Mac OS X 10.4 and later[23] (though not with Safari 4 on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard; with no sign of a fix anytime soon[24]), and Firefox 1.5 and later on multiple platforms.[25] There is only limited 64 bit support from third parties.

Gears does not support attachment files with sizes greater than 2 GB under Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard currently due to a bug in the Blob handling code.[26][27]

On May 29, 2008, Opera Software ASA announced that Opera Mobile 9.5 would support Gears.[28] The technology preview release of the browser was published on February 20, 2009.[29] It is currently available for touch-screen devices on Windows Mobile 5 & 6 only.[30] Gears is not built into browsers other than Google Chrome and must be downloaded separately.

The Ruby on Rails framework supports interfaces to Gears without needing to understand the Google Gears API.[31]

End of life

On February 19, 2010, the Gears team at Google announced that the development of Google Gears had stopped, as they are working on bringing all of the Gears capabilities into web standards like HTML5. Although development of new features has ceased, Google is planning to continue supporting Gears until they have developed a "simple, comprehensive" method for users' data to be migrated to HTML5 features.[32] Google Gears was removed from the Google Chrome stable on June 7, 2011.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Revision: r3423
  2. ^ a b "Happy birthday, Google Gears!". Official Google Blog. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  3. ^ "Gears". Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  4. ^ "Google Code project for Gears". Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  5. ^ "What's powering Web apps: Google waving goodbye to Gears, hello to HTML5". Los Angeles Times. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  6. ^ "Official Blog: More spring cleaning out of season". 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  7. ^ a b "Chrome Stable Release". 
  8. ^ "Database Module AI". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  9. ^ "WorkerPool Module API". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  10. ^ "LocalServer Module API". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  11. ^ "Desktop Module API". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  12. ^ "Geolocation Module API". Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  13. ^ May 28, 2009 (2009-05-28). "Google Gears Could Revolutionize the Online User Experience". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  14. ^ "Gears API Blog: Gears 0.2 Released!". 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  15. ^ "Gears API Blog: Fly, Gears 0.3!". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  16. ^ "Gears API Blog: Gears 0.4 is here!". 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  17. ^ "Google Developers". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  18. ^ "Gears History". Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  19. ^ "WordPress Trac ticket - Gears Support". 
  20. ^ "Google Reader blog - end of offline support". 
  21. ^ "WordPress documentation - Tools Subpanel". 
  22. ^ "Gearsmonkey: Gears + Greasemonkey". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  23. ^ "Gears for Safari beta". Google. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  24. ^ "Issue 847: Mac: Gears not working Safari 4 - Snow Leopard". Google Code. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  25. ^ [1][dead link]
  26. ^ Reported by, Oct 21, 2009 (2009-10-21). "Issue 960 - gears - Appears to be a 2Gbyte limit on blob upload on Mac OS X Leopard - Improving Your Web Browser - Google Project Hosting". Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  27. ^ "Issue 958 - gears - Appears to be a 2Gbyte limit on blob upload on Mac OS X Snow Leopard - Improving Your Web Browser - Google Project Hosting". 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  28. ^ "Opera extends Gears support". Opera Software. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  29. ^ "Technology preview: Gears-enabled Opera Mobile 9.5". Opera Software. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  30. ^ "Gears-enabled Opera Mobile 9.51b2 download page". Opera Software. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  31. ^ "Google Gears Takes Ruby on Rails Offline". eWeek. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  32. ^ "Hello HTML5". 

External links