I love using Google Apps for my Calendar, Documents, and especially email. For Gmail, the interface is great, fast with keyboard shortcuts, and since it’s all online, it’s available everywhere and doesn’t tax my local system. And up until recently, for those times when I’m offline, I could still access my Gmail offline using Google Gears. Googles Gears was a browser plugin that enabled offline storage – allowing me to download all of my email into Gmail before getting on a flight, and then going through it offline, and syncing when I landed and got my connection back. However a few months ago Google dropped support for Gears, since the new HTML5 standard natively supports offline storage. However, they have yet to actually update the Gmail, or other Google Apps to use this feature of HTML5 – leaving users with no way of accessing offline Gmail anymore.
And now, finally, there’s an end in sight for this offline email dryspell. Google has announced at Google I/O conference that it will be updating Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs sometime this summer to use the offline storage features in HTML5, thus bringing back offline Gmail. Whew!
It’s been a long time coming, but this is definitely a step in the right direction, and as the Tech Crunch article mentions, helps Google position their Chrome OS and ChromeBooks as viable options for normal people – IE people who don’t always always have an internet connection. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the release…
- TechCrunch: Coming This Summer: Fully Offline Gmail, Google Calendar, And Google Docs.
- Dive Into HTML5: HTML5 Offline Storage Primer
- Gmail for mobile HTML5 series: using appcache to launch offline – part 1
- Gmail for mobile HTML5 series: using appcache to launch offline – part 2
- Gmail for mobile HTML5 series: using appcache to launch offline – part 3