Google adds offline access to Gmail

Google has added offline features to its Gmail platform, making it possible to businesses and consumers to work with their email while disconnected from the Internet.

This week,the company said that its labs had been testing features that would let users prepare and compose messages that would then be sent once the computer, or account, is reconnected.

Joyce Sohn, Google Apps marketing manager, wrote in a blog post: "With each passing day, the moments when I'm disconnected from the Internet become fewer and fewer. For me, one of the last meaningful barriers began to fall with American Airlines' announcement last year that they would be offering in-flight Wi-Fi service.

"Though Wi-Fi is being offered by more airlines, there are still plenty of flight routes where Internet isn't an option, at least for now. And this poses a problem for those of us who get a lot of our work done online."

To solve this problem, Google has been testing 'offline Gmail', an application that will load within a browser, even when there is no Internet connection. Sohn added that this would mean users could read messages, star, label and archive them, as well as compose new mail. "Messages ready to be sent will wait in your Outbox until you're online again," he explained.

Gmail users can start trying out the system now by checking the Labs section in their account settings, while enterprise customers will have to request the feature from their IT administrators.

But Sohn warned: "Remember, we're still working out kinks, which means you might see some issues that aren't completely ironed out."

Watch the video below for an explanation of how Gmail offline works: