Google Reader Going “Offline”

Wow wow wow, now I’m really impressed. I’ve long searched for an RSS reader that is a) free and b) simple that provides offline reading capabilities. I’m not a fan of the version built into Outlook 2007 – not at all. In fact, although I imported my RSS feed (OMPL) into Outlook (from Google Reader), I don’t believe I’ve ever even used the Outlook RSS reader.

I was just catching up on some blog reading and I noticed a new link in the upper right corner of my browser that read “Offline.” I clicked it and a tidy little window popped up explaining that I can now read my Google Reader subscriptions when I’m offline! Well hello there!

I use Firefox and it prompted me to install Google Gears (beta). Check it out:

Enabling Offline Web Applications

You can enable offline mode for Google Reader by installing Google Gears.

This is an early release of Google Gears (BETA). After installation, please pay attention to the warning dialogs and grant access only to websites that you trust.

More Information
Google Gears (BETA) is an open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality using the following JavaScript APIs:

Store and serve application resources locally
Store data locally in a fully-searchable relational database
Run asynchronous Javascript to improve application responsiveness

Developer site
Frequently asked questions
Developer Forum

Very cool indeed.

So this opens up a whole other topic now doesn’t it? In fact, it’s something that maybe should have been discussed at this weeks Red Herring East conference that I just attended – the topic of the problems facing online applications such as Google’s competitor to MS Office. The biggest reason people say those solutions won’t work, or at least not anytime soon, and/or that they won’t hurt Microsoft’s market share, is because there is not real offline model. Well, not so fast. And surely no one ever truly thought there would never been an offline solution, it’s just that Google hadn’t come up with one – YET.