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Google updates Gears for new Firefox 3.5

Google's Gears technology has caught up with Firefox, restoring offline access to offline Gmail and other services that use the plug-in.

For those who use Firefox 3.5 but also want to use Gmail with no network connection, Google has an answer: a new version of its Gears plug-in.

Gears endows browsers with some new abilities, including accessing some Web applications even while a computer is offline and juggling multiple simultaneous tasks more effectively. And using Gears, Google last week began letting people see their location on Google Maps by clicking the small circle below the navigation controller and above the zoom controller.

Major updates to Mozilla's open-source browser often break add-on compatibility, and the earlier version of Gears wouldn't work with the newly released Firefox 3.5. The new Gears fixes that.

Users of Mac OS X and Windows can click the "install" button at Google's Gears Web site. The new version is spreading to Mozilla's add-on site, too.