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Offline is on for Google Apps

Once upon a time there was a thing called Google Gears. It was a plugin for the Chrome browser, made by Google, which let websites store information on your PC for offline access. Offline Gmail, offline Google Docs, offline Google Calendar. It was great for those of us who use our laptops all over the shop, flitting in and out of wi-fi access like a fly around a lightbulb (or something).

Then Google took it away. Which was, bluntly, annoying. They weren't being totally random though - they killed Gears to focus on a plugin-free solution using the offline features of HTML5, the latest version of the language that powers the web.

But they took their time. Fortunately, at last, Google has begun rolling out the new, improved, HTML5-based offline support for Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar.

You'll need to look in the Chrome Web Store to find the offline versions of these popular services, which isn't a big hassle; and for the time being, you'll only be able to read Docs offline, not edit them. But pshaw! These are minor quibbles. We're excited, and we're going to rip out our ethernet cable and stride bravely into the offline future. (You could just use actual programs for your email and documents, not websites, we suppose, but that wouldn't be very cloud-y of you, would it?)

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