Gmail goes offline

Google has introduced a new feature for Gmail users to allow them to access their email offline. Announced on the Google blog you will be able to cache your messages on your computer using Google Gears.

A user will be able to open a browser and point it to gmail.com and have acess to their emails and be able to edit, read, and even write emails but they will not send until the user connects back to the Internet.

"Once you turn on this feature, Gmail uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail. As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers. When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online. Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection. And if you're on an unreliable or slow connection (like when you're "borrowing" your neighbor's wireless), you can choose to use "flaky connection mode," which is somewhere in between: it uses the local cache as if you were disconnected, but still synchronizes your mail with the server in the background. Our goal is to provide nearly the same browser-based Gmail experience whether you're using the data cached on your computer or talking directly to the server."

The offline system is currently in beta and is available through Google Labs; it will be available to users in the US and the UK in the next couple of days.

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I dont remember the last time I was offline and needed to check my mail :S
I very rarely am offline - my phone is on 24/7 and theres always coverage

qdave said,
so if your inbox is 1gb, does it mean i will have a huge cashe? that sort of sucks.

Of course not. Probably the latest emails. Like a page or something.

just what i was thinking.... you can configure outlook to check your gmail and it will store the email just like any other pop3 email server.

Also hotmail just reintroduced the ability to use pop3 in your outlook as well... I havent tested it yet but I did read here on neowin the new feature for hotmail...

Yeah, but gmail's labels don't work very well with Outlook and imap's folders. This way, I don't have to use Outlook to keep a local copy.

fmorel90 said,
Yeah, but gmail's labels don't work very well with Outlook and imap's folders. This way, I don't have to use Outlook to keep a local copy.

They work fine for me...

It's about blurring the lines between online and offline. Our culture is slowly moving to a cluster approach, where computers are mere terminals into an online portal of our data. I like using GMail to manage my e-mail online, and I don't like having to switch to another mail application in order to do it offline. If GMail can cover both bases, then it creates a better product.

This is nice, I suppose, but not really vital.

It would be nice if Hotmail introduce a similar feature, so people don't complain and use even more pointless reasons as to why Gmail is supposedly better...

Like this is a vital feature?

(I'm not being a troll by the way, but it's just many people act like Gmail is the best thing since sliced bread and are usually too ignorant to try out the latest Hotmail - after the Jan/Feb update - I still have yet to hear solid reasons and features which prove Gmail is better and I also have yet to see people actually try the latest Hotmail and give it a chance, first)

cJr. said,
This is nice, I suppose, but not really vital.

It would be nice if Hotmail introduce a similar feature, so people don't complain and use even more pointless reasons as to why Gmail is supposedly better...

Like this is a vital feature?

(I'm not being a troll by the way, but it's just many people act like Gmail is the best thing since sliced bread and are usually too ignorant to try out the latest Hotmail - after the Jan/Feb update - I still have yet to hear solid reasons and features which prove Gmail is better and I also have yet to see people actually try the latest Hotmail and give it a chance, first)

For me I would hate to have to have all my logons (generally your email address) be tied to an account that I would be leaving behind. I guess I could go through and change them all but that's a pain.

Also for most people if it isn't broke don't fix it. I went to gmail when they were the first to offer 1GB free, only when hotmail offered 5MB. For many if gmail is offering them a service that does what they need, there really isn't any reason to hassle themselves with the logistics of transferring email accounts.

Gmail has imap, labels are more useful than folders, and there's the storage. Why would I need to try hotmail when gmail does everything I need and does it better?

Hi,

- Hotmail won't do the same thing as Microsoft policy is "Software + Services" (while Google goes "Full Services"). Microsoft provides Windows Live Mail which, of course, has this feature like any other email client out there for a very long time.

- What Google is trying to do actually is slowly making the customer "think web". So expect to see the G company "webifying" all sets of features we already have in our software in the next years and providing full rich web applications which intend to enter progressively in direct competition with desktop software.

In my personal opinion i find gmail better than hotmail due to its simple interface that is fast and easy to use. I've got a parallel hotmail account that I rarely use now, and when I use it (and compare it to gmail) i find it far more bloated, slow and ad-ridden (huge graphical ads - im not saying gmail doesn't have ads, but its ones are far more smaller, text based and simple)

@Aquafox,

- Actually Hotmail has become very quick to load and interact with. As for the bloat I don't see any : it's clear, good looking and easy to use. The only thing that I much dislike about it is the ads. I think Microsoft should definitely go text ads in Messenger and Hotmail.

- In the other side Hotmail provides (or in some case will provide) a much more comprehensive experience thanks to its ties with the other Live services. When I visit Hotmail I don't feel like I'm just using a web mail, actually I feel like I'm using my Live "board" where the mail application is just a tiny part in a bigger ecosystem.

- Thinking of it, if Microsoft just took the LiveMesh "Web Desktop" and added some nice integration with Live Services, it might end-up being an incredibly comprehensive web experience. Imagine having always a tab in your browser with your web desktop and the other tabs are actually the web sites you're visiting. Might be awesome !

How much of your email does it cache, though? I mean I am currently using about 5Gb, that'd be a lot of hard drive space! I assume it doesn't cache the whole archive and just recent mail or something.

+Kushan said,
How much of your email does it cache, though? I mean I am currently using about 5Gb, that'd be a lot of hard drive space! I assume it doesn't cache the whole archive and just recent mail or something.

Sure. If your hard drive is like 10Gb...

Mikeyx11 said,
Sure. If your hard drive is like 10Gb...

Even if you have a 500GB HDD, 5GB JUST for email is a lot. Plus think of how long it'd take to download.