Wondering how Gmail offline works? Here, we walk you through it.
In short, people familiar with Gmail already are mostly familiar with its offline incarnation, which Google said it's releasing gradually to its users in coming days. The biggest difference is of course that you can't see new messages, and e-mails that you send are merely queued up until they can be delivered when a network connection is re-established.
Gmail uses Google's Gears technology, which among other things lets browsers store data on a computer in what's called a local cache. I'm using Firefox 3.1 beta 2, with which Gears isn't compatible, so to access Gmail offline I used Google Chrome instead, which has Gears built in. Since Gears is a relative rarity, though, most folks will have to install it first, which Google walks you through.
There are some limitations to offline Gmail: Only about 10,000 messages will be downloaded--the newest and most recently used. You can't use the contacts tab to manage your connections, though e-mail address autocomplete works so you won't need to worry about remembering e-mail addresses. You can't include attachments on new messages. It's only available in Gmail for English speakers.
But overall, it's certainly worth it if you're ever on a plane, taxi, train, vacation retreat, or coffee shop with an overstressed connection. … Read more