January 28, 2009
Gmail to soon get offline avatar
Imagine using your Gmail account to read, label, archive, forward or reply to messages without an Internet connection. The move by Google narrows the gap between Web-based mail programs and client-based applications such as Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail. Prior to offline Gmail users would have simply encountered an error message advising users to check their web connections. The offline service allows users to load Gmail in their Web browsers even if they don’t have an Internet connection, Offline Gmail will also allow users to compose new e-mails and move them to the Outbox, where they will wait until the user is online again to be sent. The offline e-mail service is built on the Gears platform, which Google has also used to make Google Docs, Google Reader, and several third-party Web apps available offline.
Google plans to make other aspects of Google Apps, such as Google Calendar, available offline as well. The company expects the rollout of offline Gmail to be complete within a few days. To activate the new feature, go to your Gmail account, click Settings and then go to the Labs tab. If the feature is not there yet, Google says they will be adding it to all US/UK accounts during the next few days.