Google releases offline Gmail, Docs and Calendar beta

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As promised at Google I/O 2011, Chromebooks and Windows, Mac and Linux browser, Google Chrome can now access Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs anywhere without an internet connection.

Previously Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar had been available offline with a Google-made plugin called Google Gears. But a few months ago that was removed and it’s finally been replaced with a native HTML5 version.

The feature, in Gmail’s case, currently just looks like the mobile version of Gmail in a browser. If this is the case, it means that they’ve simply moved over the iPad version of the website to Google Chrome. It doesn’t feature the same look and feel of regular, desktop Gmail and, while it works, it’s pretty disappointing. Especially when the Google-gears version of offline Gmail used the full, desktop interface.

Google Calendar is also available, and uses the full, desktop interface, as Gmail should. It allows you to view and RSVP to events, but the ability to add events appears to be unavailable for now. It’s been working great for me, but I haven’t used it thorougly.

And last, but definately not least, Google Docs is finally available offline. But don’t celebrate yet. Editing and creating Docs offline is currently unavailable, with viewing Docs being the only option. This is also disappointing, but it’s still exciting to have the ability to view your documents when offline. And Google says that they are, “working hard to make it [offline Google Docs editing] a reality.” I still wouldn’t hold my breath as it may be months away.

To use offline Gmail, Calendar or Docs you will need Google Chrome (or Google Chrome OS) and have the Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs web-apps installed.

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