What’s exciting about Google Gears

A lot of folks are going gaga over Google Gears and its capability to enable partially connected web applications (web applications that can run offline).

Here is a paraphrase from a comment I left at Burningbird (Shelley Powers’s blog is one of my favorite places to discuss web technology and how it relates to society, politics, and more):

What really interests me about Google Gears is the local web server.

It’s the Dave Winer Fractional Horsepower HTTP Server idea (from back in 1997), that’s finally come of age.

Just what is possible when each of us have our own web servers, running on our desktops?

Immediately you think p2p heaven. But the possibilities for building collaborative apps is just massive.

I know, I know, for anyone who knows Perl, Python or Java, it’s never been too much of a big deal to spin up your own webserver, but this looks like it makes it more than simple – it makes it practical.

If I’m reading it right, you’ll need some form of centralized web app to co-ordinate collaboration across machines, which is no big deal.

The web’s about being connected. And it’s the online possibilities that Google Gears opens up that are rather mind boggling.