Google is supplying software technology that will let users of News Corp's popular social network site MySpace more quickly search their e-mail, the companies said on Wednesday.
In a separate announcement, Google released pricing for a new service that gives independent developers access to the same computer infrastructure that the Silicon Valley Internet leader uses to run its own Web services.
These moves mark the push Google is making to turn the Web browser into a full-scale platform for software development that offers many, if not all, the features of computer-based desktop programs.
The company wants to create a network of independent software developers using Google tools. The news comes as 2,900 developers gather this week in San Francisco for Google I/O, the company's major annual technical conference.
MySpace has agreed to embed Google Gears, which fixes some of the limitations of current browser technology to run computer tasks more reliably. MySpace is the largest independent developer to embrace Gears.
"Our goal here is to broadly make the Web work better," Google vice president of product management Sundar Pichai said.
Gears will store e-mail data on a MySpace member's local computer, which then speeds the process of searching messages by name, subject, content, date or other attributes.
MySpace counted 110 million users earlier this year. More than 170 million messages are sent daily by MySpace members, according to company spokeswoman Amy Walgenbach.
A year ago, Google introduced Google Gears for use both in its own products and for independent developers.
Google Reader, its news-feed reading service, used Gears to allow its readers to read news headlines and stories not only online but offline. Google Docs and rival Web-based software Zoho also relies on Gears.
MySpace members who want to use the feature must download Gears, which takes a few minutes on a typical high-speed computer connection, the spokeswoman said. Users who previously have installed Gears can start using the feature immediately.
Google Gears gives MySpace e-mail users search features that even Google's own Gmail users do not now enjoy. The deal is part of a growing partnership between the two companies: Google has a three-year, $900 million deal to supply advertisements to MySpace.
Later this year, Google plans to release versions of Gmail and Google Calendar that take advantage of Gears, Pichai said.
In a second announcement at Google I/O, it said more than 150,000 developers have joined a waiting list for Google-hosted computer capacity over the past six weeks and that it is now opening up the service to all comers as of Wednesday.
The attraction is that the first 500 megabytes of data storage and enough processing and bandwidth for about 5 million page views a month — enough to run a small successful start-up — are free. Charges apply as demand grows.
As part of its software hosting service, Google is offering tools for image handling and to render Web pages faster.
Pricing for the service, called Google App Engine, runs around 12 cents per gigabyte of data for outgoing bandwidth and around 10 cents per gigabyte of data for incoming bandwidth. Data can be stored on Google computers for between 15 cents and 18 cents per gigabyte each month, effective later this year.
Google is competing with a similar service offered by Amazon.com for the past two years and is promising pricing that appears to be in line with that from Amazon.