Undisclosed Browser Technology


When people ask what I worked on at Google and I answer “undisclosed browser technology”, I think some folks think I’m just being coy or obnoxious.  The truth is, I’m required to say that publicly and privately until Google publicly announces the technology or its derivatives.

Well, that day has finally come.  Yesterday Google announced the Google Gears API, a set of browser plugins that provide client-side local storage and related services. 

I was a founding member of that project and helped draft the specs and write the early iterations through proof of concept and functional prototype stages.  They’ve made a lot of fit & finish improvements over the past year (and a perhaps a few changes in focus to navigate Google’s internal politics), but I can still recognize a few bits here and there.

Congratulations to my old teammates for getting Gears out the door: Linus Upson, Mike Tsao, Michael Nordman, Eric Arvidsson, Aaron Boodman and the rest of the gearheads!  ;>

Comments (5)

  1. iamduyu says:

    cool!

  2. iyuen says:

    http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/developer/can_microsoft_be_the_wrench_google_gears.html

    Will MS be releasing a similar software?  Obviously Google Gears is set to disrupt the hold on the desktop platform since it wrestles away the control from the OS.  Is your team currently working on a similar (or a better version that can sync all MS products) soon?

  3. MSDN Archive says:

    iyuen:  I agree that Google Gears is a disruptive technology, but not for the reasons you state.  Google Gears does not wrestle any control away from the OS – you still need to have an OS, and a browser, and an Internet connection before you can use Gears or a Gears-based web app.

    The disruptive element about Gears is that it enables web applications to do things that were previously only possible in traditional desktop client applications:  SQL database operations, local storage, and the ability to run app logic when the machine is offline.

    Is my team (Windows Live) working on something like Gears?  No.  Windows Live’s Developer Platform is about making online services available to third party web developers.  It would be highly improper for a person to leave one company to work on exactly the same ideas at another company.  Some people have no qualms about such things, but to me it matters.

    Is Microsoft working on something like Gears?  I don’t know.  Microsoft is a big company with lots of projects going on all over the place.  If I were to come across any project whose core objective was to ‘be like Gears", at Microsoft or anywhere else, I would be highly critical of their motives and challenge them to solve a better problem instead of solving the same problem again.

    Gears has some neat stuff in it (which I’m proud to have been a part of), but quite frankly it’s not rocket science.  Most of the magic is in the making of design decisions, deciding what not to do, and executing to the plan.  The pieces (such as SQLite) have been sitting there for anyone to put together for quite awhile.  Credit goes to Google for recognizing the potential in the pieces and for sponsoring a team to go figure out how to make the pieces fit together to do something useful.  

    -Danny

  4. MSDN Archive says:

    Ashish Shetty on Google Gears and Silverlight:  http://nerddawg.blogspot.com/2007/06/google-gears-and-silverlight.html

  5. The June issue (Journal 12) of The Architecture Journal focuses on web architecture. I was delighted