I don’t know about you, but I think computing is getting a little too “cloudy”. Many companies are offering there software as a service and are pushing us toward “the cloud” for everything. Fortunately, Google has gotten their head out of the cloud long enough to realize we can’t always be in the cloud all the time. Google announced on the Official Gmail Blog today, a new application called “Offline Google Mail”.
“Offline Google Mail” is an app that can be downloaded for free from the Chrome Web Store and installed into Chrome. Here is the link if you would like to download it. Below you can see the web page on the Chrome Web Store. All you have to do is click the button that says “Add to Chrome” and it will begin the installation. It took me less than a minute to complete.
Once you have the app installed, it will ask you if you want to use it to manage and compose email when you’re offline. Just click “allow”, and then “continue”, and you’re in business.
The main window, pictured below, is sort of a dumbed down version of what you would see in Gmail online. You have a list of your messages in a column on the left side of the screen and a preview area on the right side of the screen. You can compose messages offline and they will be sent when you are connected at a later time. You can even add labels to your messages offline.
This is a great feature add on for Google products. I know there have been many times where internet access has been scarce for me. This made using Gmail very inconvenient as it didn’t have the offline capability. Now, I can add this new app to my laptop and can work in my “Offline Google Mail”. The good thing is it will seamlessly work in online and offline modes.
Google also plans to roll out similar products for Google Docs and Google Calendar. According to the blog post, it appears that Google Docs allows offline viewing now, but they haven’t implemented offline editing quite yet. If Google gets this perfected, I believe it will make them much more attractive to corporate IT.
I am encouraged by the fact that Google recognized the need for offline synchronization. While I think it is great that we live in a world where everything is accessible virtually anywhere, the reality is there are still a lot of dead zones when it comes to internet access. I hope this is a sign of many more good things to come from Google.