Fulfilling a promise from its developer conference in May, Google has announced that Google Apps users will be able to use applications in the cloud productivity suite without an internet connection.
However, offline editing of documents, a key feature within the competing Microsoft cloud suite, was not yet available.
An entry on Google’s enterprise blog said that Gmail offline was now available and that offline access to Google Calendar and Google Docs would be rolled out over the next week.
Google Apps users who downloaded the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store would able to read, respond to, organise and archive email without an email connection. Users could continue using Gmail by clicking on the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page
The app takes advantage of the capabilities of HTML5, a web programming language. The app was based on the Gmail web app for tablets, the blog said.
Offline access for Google Calendar and Google Docs was activated by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner of those applications and selecting the option for offline access.
In offline mode users could still view events and RSVP to appointments in Google Calendar, and view documents and spreadsheets in Google Docs.
The Google blog said that IT administrators could deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting up organisational policies for Chrome.
Google said support for offline document editing and customising the amount of email synchronised to a local computer or device would be included in the next release.
Browsers other than Chrome which didn’t support HTML5 were unable to use offline access.