I have admitted to being mystified by some of Google’s recent releases with regards to existing projects, especially open source and open standards. According to ReadWriteWeb, the search giant appears to be making the right move with regards to its browser plugin, Gears.
As the article explains, much of what Gears initially provided is now part of or being consider for inclusion in the HTML5 specification. I believe that the mobile interface to Gmail on the iPhone and iPod Touch has been using HTML5’s local storage for some time, though that particular choice may have had more to do with Apple’s tight control of its mobile platform.
Jolie O’Dell also mentions what may be a coincidence, that Gears was broken by Apple’s Snow Leopard, a fact that may or may not have contributed to Google’s decision. I prefer to think that it is for more positive reasons, embracing open web standards, and the timing is just coincidental.