Hypothetically, what would you say if Microsoft would enable an offline mode for Hotmail or Office Live 365 but only for Internet Explorer? Chance is, a lot of users would cry foul play and demand that Microsoft would enable support for other web browsers as well.
If you look at Google these days, you might have read that the company started pushing out offline modes for some of their products. The crux? Offline modes are only available for Chrome versions. Not for Firefox, not Internet Explorer, and definitely not for Opera.
You may remember that Gmail offline access was available before for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. This was made possible by Google Gears, which has been discontinued earlier this year. Some of the Gears features have made their way into the Chrome web browser though.
Gmail users who want offline access to their emails and data need to install the Offline Google Mail extension from the Chrome Web Store.
With it they can read and respond to mail, search and archive emails without network access. Gmail Offline " will automatically synchronize messages and queued actions anytime Chrome is running and an Internet connection is available".
To start Offline Gmail after installing, open a new tab in Chrome; In the new tab pane you will see a Gmail Offline Icon. Click on the icon, and Offline Gmail will load.
For Google Docs, it is even easier. Just click on the settings icon next to your profile picture on the Google Docs website and select "Set up Docs offline" from the context menu.
A new popup window opens up on the screen where you need to allow offline docs access. You still need to install the Docs Chrome web app in the process, but everything is handled directly from within Google Docs.
While not announced officially yet, Google will offer offline access for Google Calendar as well in the future.
Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality. To get started using Google Calendar or Google Docs offline, just click the gear icon at the top right corner of the web app and select the option for offline access.
The question remains: Do you think that Google should offer offline support for other web browsers as well? Let me know in the comments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.