Microsoft is working on an offline mode for OneDrive
Users of Microsoft's cloud storage and syncing service OneDrive may soon use some of the service's functionality in a browser while offline.
Most OneDrive users associate the service with the cloud. While OneDrive client's support flagging some files and folders for offline availability, so that they are accessible even when there is no Internet connection or Microsoft decides to lock account access, it is clear that the files of most users are available online only.
OneDrive's new Offline Mode changes that to a degree. Microsoft plans to launch it as a preview in November 2023 before rolling it out to all OneDrive users a month later.
Offline Mode is a new feature that works in the browser only, according to Microsoft. Basically, what it adds is the ability to "view, sort, rename, move, copy and delete files", even when there is no Internet connectivity.
Furthermore, OneDrive users may open and use any file that is available offline on the local system at the time. Any changes made to these files, e.g., editing text in a Word document, is synced automatically once a connection to the Internet is established.
Microsoft does not reveal specifics, e.g., if the feature is limited to certain browsers.
The feature sounds similar to Google Drive's offline capabilities. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will limit access to Chrome and Edge as well. Google users need to install a browser extension next to that if they use Drive on the Web. This is the only option to use Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides while offline.
The ability to work on files that are available locally is not new. OneDrive users can, in theory, edit any file that is available locally at any time, regardless of status of the Internet connection.
Offline mode adds the capability to the web browser. It may be useful to users who use most of the editing and managing in the browser. OneDrive users who do the editing and managing locally on their devices won't really benefit from it, it seems.
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