Google announced a new feature it Gmail called offline Gmail. This is useful especially when you are travelling and don’t have internet access. If you enable offline access, Gmail will load in your browser even when you don't have an Internet connection. You can read messages, star, label and archive them, compose new mail and more. Messages ready to be sent will wait in your Outbox until you're online again.
So even if you're offline, you can open your web browser, go to gmail.com, and get to your mail just like you're used to. Once you turn on this feature, Gmail uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail. As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers. When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online. Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection.
If you're on an unreliable or slow connection (like when you're "borrowing" your neighbor's wireless), you can choose to use "flaky connection mode," which is somewhere in between: it uses the local cache as if you were disconnected, but still synchronizes your mail with the server in the background.
Offline Gmail is still an early experimental feature, so don't be surprised if you run into some kinks that haven't been completely ironed out yet. This feature is not currently available to all gmail users. If you don't see it under the Labs tab yet, it should be there soon. Once you see it, just follow these steps to get started:
- Click Settings and click the Labs tab.
- Select Enable next to Offline Gmail.
- Click Save Changes.
- After your browser reloads, you'll see a new "Offline0.1" link in the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username. Click this link to start the offline set up process and download Gears if you don't already have it.
Watch this overview video of offline Gmail: