Thursday, January 29, 2009

Google Announces Offline Gmail Access

Google removes one of the main stumbling blocks to its Gmail service

Many email users take advantage of the free service offered by Google called Gmail. Gmail allows users to use a Gmail email account and get their other email accounts in one place for easy access.

The biggest problem with Gmail for many users and one of the main reasons that corporations don't use Gmail instead of Microsoft Outlook is that Gmail has not offered offline access. Without offline access to email users, can’t read archived emails without having an internet connection available.

That meant that users couldn't read old emails to get directions or check meeting times when without an internet connection. Google has announced that offline access to Gmail is now available and is being rolled out for users in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Offline Gmail access is a product of Google Labs and will allow users to not only read and archive old emails but users will be able to compose emails that can be sent automatically the next time the computer connects to the internet. Google is able to offer the offline Gmail access by utilizing Google Gears in the browser window so users get the same layout and presentation they are used to with the online only Gmail service.

Google's Rajen Sheth said, "We wanted to, with Gears, make it a seamless experience so that users don't have to download a specialized client or go through a different experience than what they're used to with the Web browser."

One place where Outlook still has Gmail beat is offline and integrated access to the calendar. Google says that coming in the next few weeks will be offline access to the Google calendar service.

Individual users of Gmail can activate the changes in their Gmail account now, but corporate users will need their email administrator to enable the function. Gmail was updated with new graphics and themes in late 2008.

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