Google Chrome Gets Offline Access for Gmail, Docs, Calendar

Google on Wednesday unveiled a Chrome Web Store app that allows for offline access in Chrome for Gmail, as well as Google Docs and Calendar.

“Today’s world doesn’t slow down when you’re offline, so it’s a great feeling to be productive from anywhere, on any device, at any time,” Alex Nicolaou, a Google engineering manager, wrote in a blog post. “We recognize that offline access is important to many of you—especially for Chromebook users who spend most of their time living on the Web.”

Google first discussed bringing online functionality to its Web apps at its Google I/O developer conference back in May, and the Google Apps team has now made it a reality. Nicolaou said the app “helps you read, respond to, organize and archive email when you don’t have an Internet connection.” Offline Gmail access is available today; access for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be rolling out over the next week.

In Google Calendar’s offline mode, users can view events and RSVP to appointments. In Google Docs, users can view docs and spreadsheets; offline editing is still in the works. To access, click the gear icon at the top right corner of the Web app and select the option for offline access.

In a separate blog post, Google said the feature is an HTML5-powered app that is based on the Gmail Web app for tablets, which was also built to function with or without Internet connectivity. “After you install the gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s ‘new tab’ page,” Google said.

“We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible, and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning,” wrote Benoît de Boursetty, a Google product manager. “Support for offline document editing and customizing the amount of email to be synchronized will be coming in the future.”

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