In case you've missed it, over the last year or so, Google has started a revolution by introducing free software applications -- especially Google Docs -- that do the same work as Microsoft applications like the word processors (MS Word) and spreadsheets (Excel) that can cost hundreds of dollars. But these new applications have had one major limitation -- you have to be connected to the Internet constantly for them to work. The new product -- called Google Gears -- puts an end to all that. It allows you to run the same applications (all of which run inside your Web browser) even when you're not connected to the Internet.
The whole thing, admittedly, is in its infant stages (Gears, for now, only works for one product, Google Reader). But the potential is clear and exciting: a future where you will only have to install one application on your computer -- the Web browser. Everything else will just run -- without the hassles of having to install (and pay for) countless updates and security changes -- inside that browser. And it will all be free.
So, why should a rabbi care about this? Well, I'll just conclude by quoting from a previous post I wrote on an interesting Google product:
The answer is because it's religious and non-profit organizations -- which tend to be small and cash-strapped -- that stand to benefit most from these developments. Google Docs, for example, allows people to seamlessly collaborate in writing things like grant proposals in a way that used to only be possible inside organizations that could afford to spend millions on networks. It's power to the people! And that's always been exciting for an ol' justice lover like me.