Google has announced Google Gears, a new product that software developers can use to store data from web applications on users' hard drives for offline access.
The product's global launch was in Sydney today, the first of a series of Google Developer Days taking place around the world on May 31st.
Google Gears installs a database on a PC's hard drive and uses it to store content created in web applications. Google Senior Engineer Lars Rasmussen used the example of a mapping application storing some of its data on a user's hard drive to ensure the map remains available even when a computer loses an internet connection.
"The biggest missing feature of the web is the ability to do things when you are offline, or when you are on a flaky connection" Rasmussen said.
"Even with the best of AJAX technology that is not a good experience. If the developer puts the work in with Google Gears it can be a smooth experience."
The company also announced 'Mapplets' a new technology integrating Google Maps and online widgets to enable easier and richer mashups.