My 2 Cents: Now this is a feature that I know that a lot of you have been waiting for, especially with all of the talk about the pitfalls of cloud computing. I guess that it was just a matter of time before this feature made it into Google labsâ€¦now we just have to wait for folders :O) I guess everything in timeâ€¦
One of the many, many, many problems with webmail can be found right in its name – â€śwebâ€ť. Accessing your email using a web interface can definitely be convenient as itâ€™s accessible from any browser you happen upon. At the same time however, if your internet connection drops youâ€™re basically left out in the cold. As opposed to local email management solutions that can store your messages on your machine such as Outlook, you have no way to view old messages and work with what youâ€™ve got.
Sure, Gmail supports POP and IMAP but at this point we think itâ€™s safe to say that POP is dead. IMAP works well in some cases but Outlook and Gmailâ€™s IMAP implementation never seem to get along very well thanks to the way Gmail threads conversations.
Enter the aptly named new service fresh from Gmal Labs, Offline Gmail. When you enable Offline Gmail, a cache of your messages will be stored locally and will become accessible even when your internet connection drops. You can read, compose, star and do just about anything else you would normally be able to do. When your connection comes back, all of the actions you performed offline will sync with Googleâ€™s Gmail servers and youâ€™ll be good to go.
Of course you wonâ€™t be able to receive new messages while offline, but at least you wonâ€™t be left twiddling your thumbs until your cable company finally gets around to fixing your problem. Hit the Labs tab in your Gmail settings to get rolling with Offline Gmail and hit the jump for a video explanation of the service.