Zoho offline: Is being first enough?

As Mike Arrington points out at TechCrunch, Zoho has launched offline support for its Zoho Writer application (although it’s read-only for now) using Google Gears — which is more than a little ironic, considering Google still hasn’t offered the same functionality for Google Docs.

But while that irony makes for a funny post, does it really amount to anything from a competitive point of view? I’m not so sure it does. Implementing Gears support for Google Docs would probably take about half an hour of programming time — and in all likelihood requires little more than a piece of script to be turned on.

There’s no question that having offline support is a key feature, and Zoho should be congratulated for offering it. But Is being first enough to give it any kind of compelling advantage over Google Docs? Unlikely.

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