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Gears for Safari now officially available

Google Gears works on Macs running Safari. Are there enough Web apps to make it worthwhile though?

Google has finally made the Safari-friendly version of Gears available. Savvy Mac users could have downloaded and installed a rougher version of it as early as three weeks ago, however only Monday did the company announce a new version that's been readied for mass consumption.

Like its predecessor, the Mac version of Gears requires version 3.1.1 or higher of Safari, or version 1.5 or higher of Firefox, along with a machine running the most recent build of OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5.3 (Leopard). It offers the same offline-goodness as its Windows counterpart, which is to say you'll get limited offline file access and optimization on the handful of Web applications that support it.

Interestingly enough, you're still unable to use Gears on the Windows version of Safari. Google must have hedged development on the fact that most Mac users are using Safari by default, whereas it's one of the trailing choices for Windows users; at least those who were smart enough to uncheck that install button in the Apple updater that comes with iTunes.

Back in December 2007 we predicted that "you'll be seeing Gears as a standard part of new Web apps in 2008." To a certain extent we've gotten a little bit closer to that with big-name services like WordPress and MySpace getting on board with limited Gears support. That said, the platform is still young, and the latest version--0.4 is still tacking on new features such as geo-locational awareness that can significantly change how much complexity developers choose to add to their online applications.

Related: Offline access soon for Gmail, Google Calendar?