HOW TOUse GMail offline with Google Gears by sithari.senevrathne


									Gmail has introduced its latest Labs feature called offline Gmail to
enable e-mail access even when you are not connected to the Internet.

While this might sound uber geeky, the concept is simple enough when you
actually use it. Oh, and the “offline” mode is already available in a
simpler form if you happen to use Outlook or any other email client with
Gmail POP access.

Gmail uses its Google Gears open source web application to enable the
“offline” mode. Currently, Google lists Firefox 2, 3, and the Internet
Explorer 7 in its list of supported browsers. Strangely, there is no
mention of Google’s own, the Chrome! However, it might be because Chrome
support is obvious.
Browse Gmail offline with Google Gears

Browse Gmail offline with Google Gears
What it does

The feature, which needs to be enabled from under the “Labs” option under
“Settings,” downloads e-mails onto your computer and allows access even
when there is no Internet connectivity. Users will be able to access most
of their emails, reply to them, and view starred and unread messages,
just like they do when Gmail is online. When you perform an action that
needs web access, Gmail will queue the action and will execute it as soon
the connection is restored. While it might not sound very exciting
initially, I, for once, can realize how useful this might turn out to be.
For many users, Gmail has become a data center, and I suspect that there
are many people out there who would want to have a look at their mails
and archives even when not connected to the Internet. The best thing is
that once this feature is installed, Gmail will be able to go offline or
online by detecting the network status, so you do not need to switch
on/off the Offline mode manually. There is also this “Flaky Connection
Mode” that detects a slow connection and uses the local cache for
accessing data, and only uses the server when Gmail needs web access –
like when hitting the send button.

Not all Gmail features work, though, in the offline mode. What does work,
however, are the sending and replying to emails, searching your archives,
and the much-needed auto-complete function. You will not be able to add
attachments or add/manage contacts. However, most users will be able to
live with such minor inconveniences.


As expected of a Labs feature, this application has been tested
internally amongst 20,000 Google employees and has then been made
available to the Labs. Not all users may see this enabled in their
accounts, but the feature should be available to all in the coming days.
As for the issues noticed, I have not seen anything go wrong in the
little time that I have used this. However, CNET does report issues of
the local cache going out of sync, but most issues can be sorted out by
disabling and re-enabling the feature.
Related posts:
1.   How to use Google gears to access GMail offline
2.   Add Your Location Automatically to Your Gmail Signature
3.   Google introduces Video Chat in GMail
4.   Google launches their new browser “Google Chrome”
5.   Invisible mode in Gmail

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