Google Docs Goes Offline

Gears-enabled word processing for Docs

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Don’t worry, it’s not an outage. Google implemented its offline option for Docs via Gears, the technology the company uses to make its applications available without an Internet connection.

Gears availability for Google Docs seemed like a logical extension for the productivity applications Google provides, but getting it in place took some time. That time arrived.

Though not as attention getting as the Virgin and Google to Mars news, or as fictional, the Docs with Gears move provides more ammunition to the Google versus Microsoft battle. Even though Internet access via wireless connections seems ubiquitous, there are places like airplanes where Microsoft Office and similar desktop software have an advantage.

Offline access for Google Docs began a controlled rollout, as disclosed on the Google Docs blog. English language-only support arrived first, with a promise for additional supported languages in the future.

This offline access is limited in scope within Google Docs as well. Only word processing received initial support for editing or writing documents. There is no offline access to spreadsheets or presentations yet.

The utility of having documents keep in sync makes Google Docs much more useful. Once reconnected after offline work, all of the editing goes right back into the computing cloud, saved on Google’s servers.

Since Google tends to update products on a rolling basis every two to three months, we’re going to guess offline spreadsheet support via Gears will rollout this summer.

Google Docs Goes Offline
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