So what all can we do off-line? Here’s a list of Can’s and Cant’s:
Respond to mail
Search for an email
Use spell check
Do anything else that requires an internet connection (duh). I didn’t read anything about contacts being offline or not in the announcement or anywhere else. Perhaps that’s all a part of mail, not sure.
So the list of cant’s is quite a bit smaller, isn’t it? Not bad. Here’s the announcement from Google about the offline email.
To enable the offline service, go to your email and click on the Google Labs icon to go to the Labs. While you’re there, take a look at the other Labs offerings – they always have something going on. Then just click the radio button to enable offline access. Gears (the power behind this), will start caching your mail on your hard drive, getting ready to be accessible when you’re next offline. Google also has some settings you can tweak if you are having spotty coverage and want to be offline for awhile anyway.
I’ve seen other bloggers talking about the rollout. Some see it as a threat to Outlook, I really don’t think they are quite in the same league. For one thing, GMail still has the ‘beta’ clinging to it. That’s enough to make many IT people very nervous. It’s not an Enterprise product and it’s still web based—what if there was some kind of huge web outage or hack attack? I’m thinking this will perhaps spur Microsoft and Yahoo to upgrade their Live and Yahoo mail services to this level, that would be nice to see. Yahoo does offer off-line email with the download of Zimbra software. With Zimbra, you can have all your email together in one place – even Outlook mail (but that’s another blog article). Some interesting discussion on off-line Gmail can be found from ZDNet blogger, Garret Rogers.
This is a nice addition to Google, I’ll be glad when Windows Live has the same capabilities.