January 28, 2009 by Vincent
Gmail + Google Gears = Offline Gmail
Gmail has been my primary email client for years already—for its simplicity, effectiveness and speed. With the new incoming feature in Gmail Labs, namely Offline Gmail, Google had successfully stopped me from bothering to look at any alternatives.
Offline Gmail is powered by Google Gears, using it to download a local cache of your mail and synchronize it with Gmail’s servers as long as you are online. When there is no connection available, you can access to the locally saved Gmail using your internet browser and do just anything you can when you’re online (except for Google Talk, of course).
When connection is available again, whatever you have done offline just now will be synchronized with Gmail’s servers again. Offline emails will be sent, stars and labels will be updated etc.
Just like other Google services, this new feature will be rolled out slowly. If you don’t see them in your Gmail Labs yet, you should see them in a couple of days, unless you are not using Gmail in English (either US & UK).
If you see Offline Gmail in the Gmail Labs already, you can enable it, and then set it up by clicking on the “Offline0.1” link at the top right corner.
The Flacky Connection Mode is interesting. It synchronizes your mails with the server in the background, but Gmail will still be using the local cache. It is meant to be used when connection is crappy, but what if we still use it when our connection is decent? Super fast Gmail? I can’t tell until Offline Gmail is available for my account.
Official Gmail Blog – New in Labs: Offline Gmail
Offline Gmail is available on my Gmail account after less than 24 hours this post is published. Gmail downloaded one year worth of my mail archive, along with their attachments.
I initially though Flacky Connection Mode can be used to speed things up even if we are on a decent connection. But it turns out that in Flacky Connection Mode, images in emails will not be displayed. If most of your emails are text-based and without any images, Flacky Connection Mode is useful to speed things up, else, only use it when the internet connection is slow or unstable.