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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?