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Google Goes Offline

Google introduces new offline features for its services
By: Omer Shachnai
Published: September 8th, 2011 in Business » World

Last week Google introduced new offline versions of three of their most popular services, including: Google Calendar, Google Docs and Gmail. Here are our hands-on impressions, after playing around with all the features.

Gmail Offline, is a new Chrome Web Store app. It is based on Gmail’s web app for tablets, which already comes along with the ability to function, with or without Internet access at all.

After installing the Gmail offline app from the Chrome App Store, you can continue to use your regular Gmail account as usual, and in the case of a loss of connectivity, you can easily switch to the Gmail offline app by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page.

The new Google Calender and Google Docs offline functionality is built-in, which means that there is no need to install any Chrome app. However, it is usable only from the Chrome web browser. If you attempt to use it in any other browser, you will be prompted to install Chrome first.

Moreover, in order to use Google Calender or Google Docs offline all you need to do is click the little gear button on the top right of the screen and then press "Set up Docs offline (beta)". This will make the transition between on- and offline modes seamless.

When you’re offline, the google calender will let you view events and RSVP to appointments. Google docs will allow you view your documents and spreadsheets.

Sadly for us, offline editing of documents in Google Docs offline isn’t ready yet, but Google promises that they are working hard to make it possible in the near future. Basically, the problem with this feature is making sure that edits that were made offline, won’t override the ones made by online collaborators.

All these new features are made possible by the new HTML5 standard, which offers offline storage database amongst its other awesome features. What happens is that the web page saves the data on the browser’s storage when you are offline and as soon as you go back online, it sends the information to Google’s servers.

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