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Well, not literally, of course, but now you can access Gmail even when you’re offline. The Ninjas over at the Gmail team have created a masterpiece and are inviting you to give their new offering a spin.
Too Dramatic, was it ?
Well, the reason that I’m being so dramatic is that the feature that Google has released this time is one that I’ve been personally waiting for ages and definitely deserves this attention.
The big deal is that you can now access and use Gmail offline, that is without Internet connection. Obviously, you will not be able to send any emails while you’re offline, but atleast you can read them, and any emails that you send during this time will be queued up and delivered the moment you get back online. Anyway you look at it, this is an incredible feature to have.
To be able to access Gmail account offline, you’ll need to first download and [NO LONGER WORKS] install Google Gears. If you’re using Google’s Chrome browser, though, you can relax since Chrome comes with Gears installed by default.
After you have Gears installed, just go to Settings->Labs and enable the Offline feature.
Gmail should now reload and you will see a new link titled “Offline“ right next to the “Settings“ link in the top right corner of the Gmail window.
Click on Offline and Google Gears will throw a warning at you that some website named http://mail.google.com is trying to access Gears. Since I was quite sure that it’d harmless, I let the website access Gears and you should probably do the same.
At this point, Gmail will begin downloading what it thinks are the most important emails to you. I’m saying “what it thinks” because the Gmail team has a pretty nifty algorithm to determine the emails that it downloads. For me that figure came to “about 3 years” worth of my emails and you might get a different figure, depending on the amount of email that you get.
At any rate, Gears will download about 10000 of your latest emails, not counting the Trash and Spam folder so this should be enough for most of us.
Depending on the speed of your link, this actual process of downloading and syncing emails might take a while and this is probably a good time to have a cup of coffee (or a mug of beer, if that’s what you prefer).
Gears will also offer to create a shortcut for Gmail on the desktop. With this shortcut, you can login Gmail in offline mode right from your desktop.
The Offline Gmail feature also includes a very cool. In this mode, you can continue using Gmail as you normally would and Gmail will automatically determine if you are online or offline, without the user ever knowing about it.
If you send any emails in this mode and you’re offline, Gmail will keep them in the outbox and send them as soon as you come back online, and you’ll never even come to know about your connection status. In my opinion, you should always keep this option checked. To enable the flaky connection mode, click on the Offline Gmail icon next to the Settings link.
This is without any doubt, one of the best things to happen to webmail. With our ever increasing dependence on services based “in the cloud”, the Gmail team has taken the lead in letting the users have access to their data, whether they’re connected to the cloud or not. This, in my opinion, can only be a good thing.
Do you think you ever going to use Gmail in offline mode? Let us know what you guys think of this new feature in the comments. And of course, don’t forget to check out our useful Gmail guide for power users to learn about even more useful, advanced features in Gmail.