Monday, 12 February 2007

Firefox goes offline

Found this and my head started nodding in approval. The next version of Firefox is going to deliver support for offline applications. What does this mean? Well, it means that online apps such as Google's products (Spreadsheets, Documents, Calender, Gmail and the much-rumoured Presently), Flickr, Zoho's product line (including the sounds-rather-good Notebook product) and countless others could all work to some degree while offline.

Obviously this is useful for some apps more than others. But even tools like GMail could allow you to complete and save a message, to be sent next time you hook up to the internet. Important documents could still auto-save to your harddrive. Good for working on the train (when your signal drops in and out), good for when your office has network problems. But most of all, it should theoretically mean that all these applications can work much more quickly. I can imagine this being useful when, for example, you're creating a presentation rich with imagery.

And here's the thing. Who is going to splash out £96.99 (or much, much more) for a copy of Office 2007, when your browser does it all for you, for free? And they're backed up offsite for free as well - at least, they are as soon as you next go online - which is a big deal where non-tech savvy parents are concerned. Mozilla and Google have already established a good partnership, so it wouldn't be suprising if the Google suite of apps worked on Firefox version 3 right out of the box. And as far as office use goes, this all ties in nicely with the rumour that Google is about to start offering a productivity suite to offices that will directly compete with MS Office.

This competition is great for the consumer, and therefore great for the market. But I really hope Microsoft can adapt to this new environment - as things stand, they're losing market share every day. I'd much prefer they had leap-frogged OS X with Vista, as I've said before on this blog I like the idea of strong competition. I'd hate for Google to get complacent.

More idle speculation about Firefox here.

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