Google Apps users may be noticing an “Offline (beta)” link in the upper-right corner of their Google Calendars. That’s right—Google’s rolling out offline browser access to appointments, and, for once, Apps users get first dibs. If you see the offline link in red, hit it and, if you’ve enabled any other kind of Google offline access with Google Gears, like Offline Gmail, you’ll get a familiar experience. You’re prompted to enable offline access, and to install Gears if you haven’t already:
When you enable Offline Gmail, the new service doesn’t actually download all your messages—just about 10,000 of them. And Gmail has its own method of determining which messages it stores for serious email fiends.
Google Gears, the browser plug-in that lets you access your favourite webapps when you’re not online, is now out of beta and available for the Safari browser for Macs (in addition to Firefox on all platforms). Gears gives you offline access to Remember the Milk, Zoho Suite, Google Docs, and more webapps.
Windows only: Snag a full-fledged version of Wikipedia for offline research with freeware application WikiTaxi. WikiTaxi requires a few components: the standalone application, an importer, and a database to import (the simple English database is 25MB, but the full-fledged English encyclopedia is a whopping 3.5GB). Use the import tool to suck in the file and specify its file name. If properly imported, WikiTaxi will display a random page when you reopen the application and you can then browse to any page of your choosing. WikiTaxi supports wildcard searches, AND and OR searches, and more, and is ideal for browsing on a large USB drive. WikiTaxi is a free download for Windows only.WikiTaxi [via gHacks]
Windows/Mac/Linux: At the very least, the free, just-released Zimbra Desktop client gives non-paying Yahoo Mail users IMAP-style offline access to their messages. More than that, though, Zimbra adds a few features to Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, or any other POP/IMAP account that could be pretty useful—at least at some point down the road. Message tagging and nested conversation arrows are pretty nice features for any services that don’t already have them, but they don’t sync back, or work with Gmail’s labels. There’s also a bare-bones word processor/spreadsheet, a (non-syncing) calendar, and more search options, including attachment filtering. Overall, though, the real benefit is Zimbra’s ability to synchronise your outbox and mail folders before you go offline. Zimbra Desktop is a free download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems.Zimbra Desktop [via WebWare]
Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox or IE7): PassPack, an online manager for both your computer and web site passwords we’ve previously mentioned, has created an offline version using Google’s Gears add-on. That alone makes PassPack a more useful tool, but you can also download PassPack onto multiple computers, online or off, and sync your password management between them all (assuming the offline computers can make a one-time connection). As Adam noted, the site goes a long way to explain its encryption and privacy measures; if that sounds kosher to you, its offline version makes PassPack much more helpful. Fans of Adobe Air apps should check out PassPack’s “Desktop” AIR app. PassPack’s offline version requires Google Gears, which runs on Firefox and Internet Explorer; hit the link below for installation instructions. PassPack—Offline Version [via WebWare]
Windows/Mac/Linux: Google’s offline-enabling browser plug-in, now simply called “Gears,” has been updated to 0.3 with full support for Firefox 3. In addition to the general convenience of having one less extension to pull out Firefox 2 for, Gears adds a dialog to create a nice-looking desktop icon for most sites that support it, and it’s been released for all three platforms running Firefox at once. The Webware news site notes that Google is working on Gears versions for Safari and Opera (IE is already supported), so stay tuned. Gears [via Webware]
Google Docs is getting offline access baked in with Google Gears starting with a small number of users today, the Official Google Docs blog reports. We’re not seeing it yet (are you?), but when we all do, it’ll work the same way Gears works with Google Reader. Hit the play button above for a charmingly cheesy demonstration. (Bonus points to anyone who catches the Office Space reference in the video clip.) Bringing the cloud with you [Official Google Docs Blog]
Google’s offline-enabling project Gears released a version for Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices last night, and mobile web apps like online document editor Zoho Writer and money manager Buxfer have already thrown their hats into the not-always-mobile ring. It looks like documents are read-only in Zoho at this point, but, like its desktop brother, Zoho Writer Mobile will likely upgrade to full online/offline sync soon. Similarly, Buxfer lets you check account balances and see transactions, but not make any account changes. It’s a nice start, however, and more mobile apps, and functionality, are likely to follow. Visit gears.google.com from your Windows Mobile 5 or 6 device to install Gears. Shifting Google Gears to mobile [Official Google Mobile Blog]