Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Gears turns one; Old enough to power MySpace message search

Category: Gears

Chris Prince posted about Gears turning one year old. It was launched at last years Google Developer Day, and here we are at Google I/O a short year later.

There was some fun news around Gears yesterday. Firstly, MySpace is using Gears to enable users to search their MySpace messages:

One feature that they were lacking was the ability for MySpace users to actually search their MySpace messages. To go through mail, users have to page through all of their messages until their find the right one. Not optimal to say the least!

They could have tried to do search on the server side, but it can be a very expensive operation, and when you are at MySpace scale, you have to choose your battles.

With server side search out, they looked at doing the work on the client. They ended up with a Gears powered solution that not only searches, but gives back results in real-time as you are typing it in. This means that you can stop typing earlier, as you find what you are looking for.

The MySpace team has been a pleasure to work with, and were very fast to put the pieces together of an Full Text Search datastore, and the WorkerPool to offload the search without hanging the browser.

This is yet another use of Gears that isn’t just about “offline”, which we are seeing more and more. In fact, Chris Prince gave a talk yesterday that showed prototypes and examples of Gears that people are exploring. There was exciting stuff in there such as:

  • Multiple File Upload: Using the File System API, Chris demonstrated a multiple file upload experience. Selecting multiple files, finally!
  • Resumable File Upload: He then showed a YouTube mockup that showed uploading multiple files, seeing their status, and after a connection died showing how the file resumes and doesn’t start from 0% All using a ResumableRequest that sat on top of the Blog API and HttpRequest
  • Find nearby stuff! Next up was a demo that let Chris search for beer, resulting in local places around the Moscone Center. This example used the Geolocation API which uses GPS, Wifi IDs, Cell IDs, and IP address to work out where you are
  • Notifications: Love the Windows toasters, or Growl-ing on the Mac? Chris showed notification examples

Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:23 am

3.2 rating from 20 votes


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The multiple file upload with a native file picker is awesome. Reading through the API documentation I couldn’t tell what kind of access you have to files once they are imported. If you have access to read the files from the browser it would be awesome, as you could chunk-split large files to mitigate server overhead on large uploads. No more having to use a Java applet.

Comment by tj111 — May 29, 2008

Yes, it’s really cool. I had many problems with uploads.

Comment by Snowcoredotnet — May 30, 2008

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