Gmail Labs Issues Offline Gmail Powered by Google Gears
Article by George Norman
On 28 Jan 2009
Following the release of video preview in Gmail chat, Google has rolled out yet another feature for their mail client: Offline Gmail. By making good use of Google Gears, this feature will allow you to keep reading email messages, even compose new ones, regardless of the fact that your internet connection went down.

Gmail Engineer, Andy Palay comments: “Once you turn on this feature, Gmail uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail. As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers. When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online.”


If you would like to enable Offline Gmail, all it takes is following a simple three step procedure:

Step 1 – Go to Gmail and login to your account. If you do not have one, perhaps this would be the best time to sign up (it's free and you get tons of features to play with).
Step 2 – In the top right corner of the screen, right next to your user name you should be able to see “Settings”; click it. Now locate “Labs” and click it as well.
Step 3 – Locate “Offline Gmail”, select “Enable” and save your settings with a simple click on “Save Changes” (at the bottom of the screen).

The way this feature is supposed to work is by storing your outgoing emails until an internet connection is re-established – in the cases when you completely lose your connection. When you are connected to the web but it is a very slow connection, Offline Gmail automatically kicks in, uses the local cache to allow you to read and compose messages, and syncs with server when needed, in the background. Keep in mind that this is still an experimental feature and you might encounter some problems while using it.

Offline browsing is available for smartphone users as well with Gmail Mobile 2.0.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Google Labs
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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