Google announced on Wednesday that it would add offline capability to its Apps suite of cloud-based software, including Gmail, Calendar and Docs.
The company said the addition comes in response to an increasingly mobile population that doesn't always have wireless access everywhere, such as on airplanes, trains and in the car. It first suggested the addition at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, this year.
Gmail offline will be available today. Offline modes for Google Calendar and Google Docs will deploy "over the next week, starting today," the company said.
A few points:
- Gmail Offline is an HTML5-powered Chrome Web Store app that looks a lot like Gmail for tablets. You can read, reply, organize and archive mail without a connection. Once installed, it allows you to continue using Gmail after a connection is disrupted.
- Google Calendar and Google Docs also allow for an online, offline transition. Calendar allows you to view events and RSVP to invitations; meanwhile, Docs allows you to view documents and spreadsheets. (Offline editing isn’t yet ready, the company said.) Both can be activated by clicking the "gear" settings icon in the top right corner of your browser window.
- IT administrators can deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting up organizational policies for Chrome.
"We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible," the company writes, "and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning."