After months of delay, Google this week will let people use Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar even when they’re offline, a key feature for making the company’s cloud-computing vision more practical.
Gmail Offline is a separate Web App that runs only in Chrome for now. It stores about three to seven days’ worth of messages right now and lets people read, write, and organize messages even when there’s no Internet connection. Years ago, the company had enabled offline access to the applications using in-house technology called Gears. This time it’s trying a different route that uses a variety of Web standards–some descended from Gears–but some proprietary elements of Chrome, at least for now. Along with the ability to have your email stored for offline use, you will also be able to view / edit your Google Calendar and, Google Docs as well. Right now this feature is only available to limited users but soon will release to the public.