Offline Gmail rolled out by Google

Another step forward for Google's webmail

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Offline Gmail is being rolled out, allowing you to access your webmail even when you aren't connected.

Available in the "next couple of days" to all those who use Gmail in US or UK English, Offline Gmail uses Google's Gears to download a cache of mail for when you can't get online.

Offline mode

When there's no connection, Gmail switches to offline mode, which uses local data rather than looking online. For those on flaky connections (on the train, for instance), there's also a hybrid solution.

"…if you're on an unreliable or slow connection (like when you're 'borrowing' your neighbour'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 synchronises your mail with the server in the background," explains the Google Gmail team blog.

"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."

Experimental feature

A seamless/offline online experience will certainly be welcome. To that end, Gmail will simply wait until it has a connection to send the emails you write while offline.

"Offline Gmail is still an early experimental feature, so don't be surprised if you run into some kinks that haven't been completely ironed out yet," adds the blog post.

"We've been using offline Gmail internally at Google for quite a while…Now we're ready to have a larger set of people try it out, so we're making it available in Gmail Labs for those of you who want to test out Gmail's latest and greatest."

If you want to try out the feature (when available, and it isn't for anyone in the TechRadar offices as yet), go to Labs in Settings, select Enable next to Offline Gmail and Save Changes.