GMail users will soon be able to compose messages and check e-mail without having to be connected to the Internet. Google is building a platform on Google Gears that will allow GMail users to cache messages, read your inbox, label messages, and write replies without being online. Then when the system connects to the web, the changes will be automatically applied.
This new feature is currently in beta and available in GMail Labs. This feature will be rolled out slowly to everyone and won’t be rolled out right away.
“Offline Gmail is still an early experimental feature, so don’t be surprised if you run into some kinks that haven’t been completely ironed out yet. We’ve been using offline Gmail internally at Google for quite a while (I’ve read thousands of messages and answered hundreds en route to visit my son and my daughter). And it’s saved me more than once when my home network connection ran into issues (we have squirrels at home that love to chew through outside cable wires),” wrote Andy Palay, a GMail engineer.
To see if you have the feature available, log in to your GMail account and click on the Settings link. After that click on the Labs tab and click Enable next to Offline GMail. Click Save Changes. When clicking on Save Changes, you’ll notice a Offline0.1 link at the upper left. Click on that link and you’ll be given instructions to set up GMail offline.