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Offline RSS Reading – Google Gears & Greader

Posted in: Google,JavaScript,RSS by Richard Hearne on June 3, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

My absence online is in part due to my lack of 24 hour connectivity. I’m stuck with a personal connection at the moment (but the 2 minute stroll to the nearest 24hr Internet cafe is especially nice late in the evening when it’s about 20 degrees C).

Google shifts up a gear

Google launched Gears recently. Gears enables the off-line storage of on-line data. This means that web-based apps can now take a cache of data and store it locally.

The main reason I installed Gears (it runs as a browser extension with a local DB server) was so that I can read some of the feed backlog that’s been building lately. After installing Gears Greader now gives me a new option up in the utility navigation:


That small arrow within a green oval is the selector for on-line / off-line reading. Clicking it begins the magic that is Gears:


Funnily, Greader doesn’t give you the total number of unread posts when online – you simply get the more than 100 reference:


But in Gears off-line mode it does – I have 1,347 unread posts in my reader:


And when you go back on-line just click the toggle button to re-sync back up and (hopefully) reduce that unread count:


If you’re new to RSS and syndicated content my Really Simple Guide to RSS might be worth reading.

Initial views

This is really fantastic in my view. The ability to access on-line data when offline has always been the holy grail. While others have also managed to implement similar functionality (dojo comes to mind), when Google cracks this the likelihood of mass take up increases exponentially.

Gears is certainly helping me get through all those unread posts (believe me the number was far higher), but my one quip is that the posts don’t list in chronological order. It appears as though feeds are clumped together in offline mode. I’m sure it’s just a wrinkle and something that will iron itself out as Google improves the product iteratively over time.

I wonder what Google’s spam-fighting supremo will report from his Gears use on the flight to SMX. [Wish I was going to that....]

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  1. It’ll be interesting to watch the take-up on this. I wonder will they change their ad words offerings to reflect offline viewing…

    Comment by dylan — June 4, 2007 @ 1:55 pm

  2. Howdy Dylan

    I’m sure they’d love to, but the click-fraud implications of that would be pretty huge. The ability to work offline is sure to give a boost to all the online apps that are looking to steal market share from client-based software.

    Rgds (from LOS)

    Comment by Richard Hearne — June 4, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  3. Dylan, the ability to work offline is already there in a dedicated application. Adwords Editor.

    It is a lot more advanced and is not browser based.
    It can be found here: http://www.google.com/adwordseditor/

    This tool should be used by ANYONE with an AdWords campaign.

    Comment by Dave Davis — June 4, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  4. As I see this is really useful for you. But I don’t find it interesting for me, because I have fullday connectivity and many people does

    Comment by Jack — June 4, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

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