Google Apps Go Offline, Starting With Gmail

Google Apps Go Offline, Starting With Gmail

Chrome: Google's adding offline support to their most popular web apps, starting today with Gmail. The offline support comes via the Offline Google Mail extension, available now in the Chrome Web Store.

Offline Google Mail [Chrome Web Store via Gmail Blog]


  • Correction: Google has started re-adding offline support. It’s disappointing that Gmail’s offline access is now only available through a separate extension, where it used to be supported in the regular web app. Also disappointing that they seem to be just recycling the tablet interface — this really feels like a temporary workaround, rather than the final solution.

  • I was very wary before I installed this because I couldn’t find out how much of my 6GB of email it was going to download.

    After reading the first page of comments on the extension page I couldn’t find any reference to this issue so I thought “What the hell. Give it a go.”

    When I installed it I got the error message:

    There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive \device\…

    It seems to work though.

    It displays the last 20 emails plus a “Show more messages button”.

    There isn’t a lot of downloading going on in the background so it doesn’t seem to have decided to download every email.

    As an aside, my neighbour recently got a new PC with Office 2010 installed. Up till then she had only used her ISP’s webmail but she decided to test Outlook. It downloaded nearly 1GB of email and then deleted it all from her online Inbox.

    I disconnected from the Internet and clicked the “Show more messages button”. I was able to do this 4 times before the button displayed the Wait… rotating symbol so it seems that it only lets you look at the last 100 emails.

    However, and this was an Oh Oh moment, at the bottom it displays “Conversations back to 28 Nov 2008 available offline.”

    I just closed the Offline tab and restarted it. This time I could only click the More button twice. This time it didn’t go into Wait mode. It didn’t display the More button at all.

    Does anyone know how much data it downloads?

    Another question. Does it have to be running in a tab for it to cache new email or does it run in the background all the time and
    do its thing automatically?

    There is a Menu button which I thought would let me access Sent mail but all it does is display the word Labels (and not show any of my Labels) so it seems you can’t see Sent mail.

    If you had the previous Gears based offline mode installed it wouldn’t send attachments. I haven’t tested for this problem.

    • Gmail works fine for offline use in mail clients (via pop3/imap/google sync), there’s never been an issue there. What we’re talking about here is offline use of the web client within the web browser.

      They had it running a few years ago via google gears, and more recently decommissioned it with the aim of eventually re-implementing offline use via HTML5. This isn’t quite what they claimed but still re-implements a nice feature that some people have been missing.

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