finally getting around to adding offline access back to Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar.Google is
Today the company announced that it was adding offline capabilities immediately to Gmail, and offline features for Calendar and Docs will be rolling out over the next week starting today. The catch is, you might have to switch browsers or wait even longer.
The change was announced by Benoît de Boursetty, product manager for Google Apps. To get offline access, you'll need to install the Offline app in Chrome, and then you can get offline access by clicking the Gmail Offline button in the "new tab" page.
Using the offline app, you should be able to read, respond to, organize, and archive email without Internet access. Obviously, sending has to wait until you get connected again. The Docs and Calendar offline access is currently read-only – so if you have a big report to write on a flight from New York to Belgium, you're not going to be using Google Docs. The post also mentions documents and spreadsheets, so it's unclear whether presentations are supported at this time.
On the enterprise side, admins can deploy the app to all users using organizational polices for Chrome. If your organization has a slew of Chromebooks or user on Chrome, you can start moving them to offline access right away.
Note that Google apps used to have offline access via Google Gears, but it was discontinued in favor of HTML5 offline access. It's taken quite some time for Google to re-deliver offline functionality.
Though I use Google Docs and Gmail quite a bit, I am yet to be convinced that Web apps are quite ready to replace traditional desktop apps. What do you think? Is this enough to make Google Apps suitable for full-time use?