It’s about time. Google has officially rolled out Gmail Offline, allowing users to read and compose mail even while they’re not connected to the internet.
Another gem is coming to us from Google Labs. While Labs has seen its fair share of so-so products (the beer goggles thing?), this one is top of the bill and will probably make it out of Labs and graduate to a full feature pretty quick.
As detailed in the announcement today via the official Gmail blog, once you switch on Gmail Offline (as usual it’s in the labs tab under settings) Gmail uses Google Gears to download a local cache of your mail. When you’re connected to the web, Gmail works the same way it always has by making chit-chat with the Gmail servers. If you drop your connection, Gmail will switch to offline mode and use the information stored in the cache to allow you to keep doing all things Gmail. As soon as your signal comes back, all messaged saved to your outbox will be sent and you’ll be back in business with the Gmail servers.
This is something I’ve been waiting a long time. Working remotely is no picnic and those trans-Atlantic flights are a great time to answer emails and sort my inbox into something that resembles organized chaos.
Offline is being switched on for English UK and English U.S. users. If you don’t see it in Labs straight away, hold your horses and just chill for a bit -- you should see it over the next couple of days. Don’t forget to let us know what you think!