Outlook, look out - Gmail goes offline

It's easy to downplay Gmail as an enterprise email solution -- it's only available as webmail, and if the internet goes down, so does your email.When Google Gears was launched, people began looking forward to the day when Gmail would become an offline application.

It's easy to downplay Gmail as an enterprise email solution -- it's only available as webmail, and if the internet goes down, so does your email.

When Google Gears was launched, people began looking forward to the day when Gmail would become an offline application. Today it happened -- Gmail can now be used outside the cloud if you wish.

I still can't see the feature, but Google announced it today on the Google Enterprise blog. The feature is said to be available immediately in Google Apps, and will be rolling out gradually for all Gmail users.

To enable the new feature, should you have it, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Gmail and click 'Settings'.
  2. Click the 'Labs' tab and select 'Enable' next to 'Offline Gmail'.
  3. Click 'Save Changes.'
  4. In the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username, there will be a new 'Offline' link.
  5. Click this link to start the offline synchronization process.

What makes this possible is something called Google Gears. Gears is available on all modern browsers as an addon, with the exception of Chrome which has it built right in.

Let's hear what you think about this new feature -- do you think it will it put more pressure on Outlook?

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