Gmail Going Offline

Gmail has been good at caching your recently viewed mails so you can still access one or two emails after you are disconnected. This works okay for any momentary connection drop. However, when you are disconnected completely for longer period of time, you are pretty much out of luck. This is one reason some people are reluctant to adapt to web-based emails. Now this mentality needs to change for Gmail because Google just added a new feature this week to allow offline access to your emails. This new feature makes Gmail a direct competitor to Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird and any other desktop email client.

It’s very easy to set up. You first need to download and install Google Gears (you don’t need to download if you are using Google Chrome already). After Gears is installed and enabled, all you need to do is to login to Gmail, click on Settings -> Labs. Find Offline mail feature on the list and enable it there. You will then see an Offline link next to Settings. Click on it and follow instruction to continue with the set up. 

I did some testing on this offline feature.  It worked very seamlessly.  The emails come up very fast as usual whether you are online or not.  You can unplug your connection any time, Gmail would detect the connection when you plug back in and begin syncing immediately. The amount of emails or date range for offline mode is currently determined by Google and it’s not adjustable. I can go as far back as 6 months offline on my personal Gmail account. This is currently a lab feature (experimental). I think this feature is already very solid as-is. It should be out of the lab very soon.

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