Interview with Chris DiBona and Ed Parsons of Google

Google Developer Day 2007

While at Google Developer Day, I caught some time with Chris DiBona and Ed Parsons from Google. Chris is well known in the Open source and Free software worlds for his work on Google summer of code and the book Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. Recently he's (sometimes) hosts a great podcast with Leo Laporte called FLOSS weekly. Its hardly weekly but worth subscribing to anyway. Ed on the hand was the key man at the Ordnance Survey and tried to kick start the mapping craze well before Google maps hit the net. It made sense for Google to poach some a key man such as Ed.

Anyway, the interviews are up on Blip.TV as usual, and filmed with my Sanyo camera.

A couple of new things came out of the Google Developer Day. Google Mapplets, Google Mashup Editor and Google Gears.

First up is Google Gears, an open source browser extension for enabling offline web applications. Now developers will be able to create web applications that don't need a constant Internet connection to work. Users, meanwhile, can interact with Gears-enabled websites anywhere, whether they're on the couch or on an airplane. With this early release, we hope the community will provide feedback and move towards an industry standard for offline web applications. Read more on the new Gears blog.

An experimental product debuting today is the Google Mashup Editor, an online editor that enables developers to create, test, and deploy mashups and simple web applications from within a browser. Now developers can turn out those weekend projects more quickly. We've also launched a new blog where you can learn more about the Google Mashup Editor and get the latest news.

Finally, we released Google Mapplets yesterday at the Where 2.0 conference. Mapplets are mini-applications that any developer can build on top of Google Maps so that users can easily discover the creative genius and usefulness of the mashup development community. You'll find more about Mapplets here. And we're also quite excited about the interest that has been shown in Google Web Toolkit (GWT). Since its launch last May, there have been over 1 million downloads. You can read more on the GWT blog.

Mapplets is interesting but what makes me excited is the Mashup Editor which somewhat fits in area of Flow* and Gears, which seems to be the final step in the move towards the Google Operating System. I would usually say who cares but Google Gears will be a open source project and they already have Adobe, Opera and Mozilla on board.

Generally Google once again made it clear there commitment to open-source and developers. I look forward to hacking about with this stuff really soon.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.