Google Gears heads for Windows Mobile phones

The open-source browser extension will allow people using Windows Mobile smartphones to access Web-based applications even when they're not connected to a data network.

Google is bringing Google Gears to mobile phones so that people on the go can access Web-based applications even when they're not connected to the mobile Net.

Smartphones and 3G data services are changing the way some people work, allowing them to access documents and applications from anywhere. But when their wireless connection is interrupted or not available at all, they're cut off.

Google Gears for mobile helps solve this problem so mobile workaholics can even get stuff done on airplanes or when they're supposed to be on vacation in some far-off destination with no wireless access. (On second thought, maybe having access to work documents and other Web-based applications from anywhere isn't such a good idea.)

Google Gears is an open-source browser extension that lets developers create Web applications that can run offline. Google has been developing the software for PC users, but now it is extending it for mobile users too. Google Gears is still in its early days. The mobile version right now supports Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile 5 and 6 phones. This means that other smartphone users, such as those using Apple's iPhone, or people using other popular mobile browsers, such as Opera, won't be able to use Google Gears.

But Google has said that it plans to expand support to other browsers and cell phone platforms, including its own Android software.

Another issue is that mobile Gears only works with applications that are Gear-enabled. So far, Google Gear applications aren't widely available, but Google is trying to make it easier for developers to create Gears-enabled mobile Web applications.

Charles Wiles, product manager for Google's mobile team, posted a blog explaining how Google Gears for mobile would work. He used the example of Zoho, a Web-based productivity application, and Buxfer, a Web-based personal finance application.

Google Gears is integrated into these applications. When users go to the Web site where these applications are located they will be asked to install Google Gears for mobile. Once installed, Gears sits on the phone and people can access their data even when there is no network connection.

Google is providing more information for developers on its developer Web site.

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