Google has made available the beta of Google Gears which is describes as “open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality using the following JavaScript APIs”.

Supported browsers include Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox on Windows, Mac OS and Linux and Mac OS Safari browser, and client machines will need to have Google gears installed to make the offline functionality work. The theory is that web applications will be able to run offline with the help of 3 modules: a local server, database and worker pool for asynchronous operation.

The Google gears team have created some sample applications, but they do consider it to be a “developer-only release”, so all the Web 2.0 sites are not redundant just yet.