It's been more than two years since Google launched Gears in an effort to bring offline capabilities to web-based applications. But after the initial excitement over the browser extension and subsequent inclusion in Chrome, it looks like the search giant is scaling back support for the tool.

Now that a beta of Google's Chrome browser is becoming available for Mac sans Gears support, and Apple's Snow Leopard doesn't play nicely with the functionality even months after release, a company spokesman has come forward to shed some light into the matter. While there was no formal abandonment of the project, it's clear that in Google's view HTML 5 is the future.

The next version of the web programming language isn't even finished yet, but it should support many of the same features in Gears, allowing users to take online data offline. According to Google, Gears will continue to be supported for sites that already use it, but they expect developers to use HTML 5 for adding offline capabilities moving forward as it's a standards-based approach that will be available across all browsers and operating systems.