Offline GmailGoogle recently relaunched a few of its services to include offline mode. Google’s main efforts lately have been to make using its online services easier for all levels of users. Having offline support in Google Docs, Gmail and Calendar are a step in that process. This post will take a look at the offline versions of Gmail and Google Calendar.

Both services are being rolled out to users in groups, so offline modes may not be available for all users right away. Since these offline services are still in beta mode, they may bug out or have other issues so have patience when tinkering around with Google offline modes.

How to use Gmail offline

In order to get started with Gmail offline, which seems to be the most developed off the services so far, you want to install the Offline Google Mail App for Chrome. Once installed, you want to restart your browser.

Keep in mind that when you install the Gmail offline app in Chrome, you will be required to set aside some space to download and store your e-mails on your hard drive. Depending on the computer, you may or may not want to do that so make sure you have a small amount of space to be able to do that before you begin the process. When Gmail downloads and stores your e-mails, they will still be stored online, too, so you will not lose anything if something goes awry.

Once you have done that, you want to open a new tab in Chrome. You will see any other apps you have installed along with the Offline Google Mail App. Click on it.

(4) new tab

You will be logged into Gmail and asked whether you want to allow offline mail. If you click the circle next to “Allow offline mail”, you will be able to access your Gmail when you are not connected to the Internet. Make sure to click “Continue” to move forward.

You are now in offline mode with your Gmail account. You will be able to access any e-mail that is synced between your online and offline modes. You will see your inbox on the left hand side of your browser.

(5) offline inbox

On your left, you will see whatever message you have highlighted to go over it.

On the top left of your browser, you will see a Menu button. If you click on it, you will be given a list of Labels, Important and Unread, Starred and other aspects of your Gmail account.

(10) main menu

You can also search for an e-mail, search through the body of e-mails and chat conversations as long as they are archived between offline and online modes.

(7) search

On the top right hand side of your browser, you will see a Compose button. If you click it, you can write an e-mail and save it to send when you get back online.

(11) compose

You will also see buttons to Archive and Delete mail.

If you click the double arrow while reading an e-mail, you will get options to have to respond to it.

(12) double arrow

Being offline in Gmail gives you a chance to catch up on e-mails when you are disconnected from the Internet, and it gives you options to work with each e-mail and write new ones.

At the bottom of your Inbox, you will see what e-mail you are currently logged into. If you click on the up arrow, you can choose to sign out of the account or sign into another account. You simply click on which account you want to log in to and it will open up the right Gmail account in offline mode. If you want to sign out from all of your accounts, simply click that option.

(8) accounts

It is important to note that the offline Gmail app in Chrome runs in the background whether you have the browser open or not. You will see a taskbar icon for Chrome, if you click on it, a menu will pop up.

(9) action center icons

You can click on “Offline Gmail Mode” to open up your offline Gmail account from here. It requires Chrome to be open, but it can run in the background this way while you do anything else you want on your computer. If you are done working with your e-mails offline, you can click on “Exit” to shut down Chrome and the offline Gmail app.

(13) taskbar menu

Pros of Gmail offline app:

  • Allows you to catch up on e-mails when not connected to the Internet.
  • Can archive, move and label e-mails.
  • Can write e-mails to save for later when you are connected again.

Cons of Gmail offline app:

  • Sync process can take some time depending on how many e-mails you have to store.
  • Sometimes Gmail offline does not save a draft you composed to send later; you never know when this might happen.
  • If an error occurs during the sync process, you may have to wait a few hours for it to correct itself.

How effective is it to use Gmail offline?

When Google announced focusing on offline features again, I was looking forward to seeing how Gmail in particular would work when not connected. Since Gmail is the service I use most from Google, being able to use it when I am away from the Internet can be a big benefit to catching up with family, friends and co-workers.

In the few days I have begun using Gmail offline, I have run into a few errors but nothing that has made the process unbearable. Gmail offline was easy to use from the start and the simplistic interface makes it very comfortable to use. If you are looking for a way to manage e-mails without downloading a program like Thunderbird or using Outlook, the Gmail offline app is the way to go.

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