What Netscape’s Founder Thinks About the New Google Browser

Marc Andreessen, whose first startup, Netscape Communications, introduced the consumer web to millions thanks to its Netscape browser, seems to be suitably impressed by Google’s recently released Chrome browser. He waxed eloquent about Chrome during an onstage conversation with Portfolio magazine contributing editor Kevin Maney at The Churchill Club in Palo Alto, Calif. “Any desktop application that has not been implemented in the browser is now going to be implemented in the browser,” Andreessen said. It was an idea he had espoused over a decade ago.

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Google Gears (Beta) [Finally] Comes To Safari

Spotlight importers aren’t the only symbols of Mac-generosity coming from the fine folks over at Google. The Google Gears project has released a beta of their browser code which enables developers to make web apps that behave more like local desktop apps and allow some – or complete – functionality even when you are not connected to the Internet (Google Reader being a very good example). When you come across a “Gears-enabled” application, your browser will prompt you to see if you trust this particular application enough to let it have access to your local filesystem:

It appears to store data in ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Google Gears for Safari, so this would be a good folder to check from time-to-time (remember lsof is your friend) and the database files that are stored use SQLite, so you can peruse them from the command-line or via various GUI’s (one mentioned just recently).

Being a beta release, there are issues and you can add your own newfound bugs to the list as you come across them.

You’ll need Safari 3.1.1 at a minimum (and OS X 10.4.11/10.5.3). I’ve confirmed that it works with Safari 3.1.2. No word on Safari for Windows compatibility (let us know!) and don’t count on Mobile Safari support anytime soon.

If you give the beta a go, let us know your experiences and if you are a developer with a Gears-enabled application, drop the URL in the comments for all the TAB-world to see!