Finally!! Gmail went offline.

Just a couple of minutes ago, I checked my Gmail account for new lab features (just because of pure annoyance due to the things I've currently to study ;) ) and there was a huge surprise:

Offline support!!! The feature was already expected for a long time now, basically after Google released Google Gears. After offline support was introduced successfully on GReader and GDocs, Gmail was the next product where offline capabities would bring a lot of value to its users (Google Calendar will be the next one..let's see who long it will take). Gmail is great and "loved" by its users for several reasons such as the good search, the concept of conversations, labelling instead of folders, an extremely good spam filter and mostly its fast and easy (ajax) web interface. The advantage of the last one is immediate, you can access your mail from whatever computer you are in front of, your work computer, the computer at home, your notebook while your on the road or from your iPhone. Emails are organized in a very smart way and so I never thought of downloading them with a local email client, with the drawback however of not having your emails at hand when you're not connected. That was basically the last argument which would have led me to use a local email client instead of the web interface. But now with offline support it doesn't hold any more :)
Here's the official  Gmail blog post:

The installation is really simple, everything you need is Google Gears and then activate it in your Gmail account. It will then appear a link on the top-right corner saying something like "Offline access". Clicking on it starts the installation process (if you have not installed Gears yet):


After the restart of Firefox (or the corresponding other supported browser) you have to allow the access of Gears to Gmail:

Immediately after the you confirm that, the download process starts:

I wonder how much memory it will take downloading all my messages: "Downloaded 4951 messages" ... and still downloading :)

The new feature is however just in beta, so there will still be some problems and limitations. The unofficial Google Operating System blog points this out.

One bad thing (for iPhone owners like me) is that Gears is till now just supported on Windows Mobile and Android to what regards the mobile devices. I hope this will be changed in the near future :)

Here's the according video:



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