Google brings offline access to Docs and Apps

Google has started to roll out offline access for its hosted applications.

Google is rolling out a much-awaited feature for its hosted applications: the ability for people to use them even when they aren't connected to the Internet.

The first application to get this offline access will be the word processor, said Ken Norton, Google Docs product manager. "The design goal is to create a seamless experience, with or without an Internet connection," he said.

Over the next three weeks or so, Google will turn on the feature for all word processor users, giving them the ability to view and edit documents while offline. During the same time period, Google Docs' spreadsheet will gain offline ability for viewing, but not editing, documents.

Google Docs' third component, an application to make slide presentations, will remain for now without offline access. However, Google has plans to extend the offline access to it and to other hosted services in the Google Apps suite, of which Docs is part. Apps also includes Gmail, Calendar, Talk and others.

"Offline access of [hosted] apps is the next step in making the Web as a whole a lot more reliable," Norton said.

Expectation for offline access in Docs and Apps had been building since Google introduced its Gears open-source technology in May of last year. Until now, Google had only built Gears offline functionality for its Reader RSS feed manager.

By allowing Docs and Apps users to work offline, Google is addressing one of the biggest objections to Web-hosted applications. So far, offline access has required that users export their Docs files to third-party file formats, like Microsoft Office.

Gears is a browser plug-in that can store files and data locally, as well as run JavaScript applications without a server connection. It's this architecture that will allow Docs users to work on their word processing documents if their Internet connection drops or if they're somewhere without one, such as an airplane.

To access their Docs files offline, users need only install the Gears plug-in and type in the regular Google Docs URL: docs.google.com.

Work done offline will be automatically synchronized with the Google Docs servers when users connect to the Internet.

As an open-source technology, Gears can be used by developers outside of Google.

The offline access will be turned on "in batches" over the coming weeks in consumer Docs accounts and in the administrator consoles of Apps.

Gears is currently supported in Internet Explorer 6 and above and Firefox 1.5 and above for Windows XP and Vista, according to Google. Firefox 1.5 and above is also supported on Mac OS X 10.2 and above and Linux. Gears also runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5 and above in Internet Explorer 4.01 and above.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?