Users with Explorer, or not a lot of RAM (or both, ack!) can run into speed issues with Passpack. So we’re experimenting with a new Turbo mode, using the Google Gears WorkerPool.

Turbo mode uses Google Gears. It helps speed things up.
(how to turn it on)

Playing Right with Google Gears

Ever since the Air vs. Gear fire-up that Passpack Desktop caused, we’ve been promising ourselves to do a “proper” Gears implementation. Today we’re releasing our first baby-step using the Gears WorkerPool to speed up the encryption/decryption processes.

For now, we’ve optimized the “unpacking tags” process, and the results are impressive. Further optimizations will definitely follow.

How Much Faster Is It?

Passpack makes heavy use of Javascript cryptographic algorithms, so slower machines and certain browsers [cough: Explorer] will see the biggest improvements.

In an entirely unscientific experiment, we timed logging into a Passpack account with 112 tags and about 400 entries. The results on Explorer 7:

Without Gears, it took about 23 seconds to unpack the tags.
Versus just over 1 second for the same operation with Gears.

That was using an Intel Pentium Core Duo 2.20GHz, with 4Gb RAM. The same test on a three year old, suffering overloaded laptop resulted in 128 seconds without Gears (wow!) and 4 seconds with.

Who Can Use It?

Gears users. If you have Google Gears installed, you will be prompted to go “Turbo”. Accept or decline at will. If you DO NOT have Gears installed, you will not be asked to install it. This is a feature for Google Gears users only.

More information on turning Turbo on and off here.


  1. It’s noticeably faster for me. Good.

  2. You should make a standards compliant version that makes use of the new Workers APIs in HTML5 (or the Web Workers spec) these are supported in nightly builds of Safari and Firefox.

  3. Itai

    The site is much faster now. Thank you.

  4. Tara

    @Jephir and @Itai – Glad to hear it.

    @Oliver – Interesting, I’ll submit that to the Suggestions Box.

  5. Seems like every time I come back to PassPack, it asks me to re-enable gears support. Same thing for every other site also.

  6. Ian

    I have Google Gears installed on my computer, but I never see the little red icon in the top corner. I’m using Google Chrome, and it usually only takes 1-2 seconds to unpack everything, so I guess it doesn’t make too big of a difference.

    Also, why are people still using IE?

    • Tara

      It might just be too fast for the icon to show up. But you can also check under Settings > Packing & Saving to see if the Google Gears option is set to Yes.

      IE? Dunno. I think it’s a legacy thing. Many folks are stuck with it at work.

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