Google Engineer Talks About Keys To Success Of Mobile Webapps

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Google, iPhone | Tags: , , , , |

By James Quintana Pearce

The success of mobile web browsing will come with the ability to use it offline and as an application platform, according to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) engineering VP Vic Gundotra. He said the iPhone is successful because its browser is based on the WebKit browser engine: “Browsers based on WebKit, which also run on the HTC G1 and the Palm (NSDQ: PALM) Pre, change the game and drive usage because they do more than just browse the web – they also provide a platform for applications,” Gundotra is quoted as saying in TelecomAsia.

WebKit supports standards that let web-based applications run normally off-line or in airplane mode, and “the significance of this is that it means you can build an app that runs on any device and any OS as long as the browser supports HTML5.” This could be an indication of how Google will bring applications to handsets: Everyone picked up on the demo of a Gmail app that lets people view their e-mail offline; Computerworld also notes a demonstration of a Palm Pre “running a webapp version of Google Maps coded entirely in HTML5. It acted exactly like you would expect a stand-alone app to act including multi-touch functionality like pinching, panning and zooming…The Google Maps webapp relies on HTML5’s AppCache, GeoLocation and Database standards to keep the offline app running when there is no Internet connection, such as when traveling in an airplane or out of cellular range.”


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