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Offline Gmail?

An article posted on Hindustan Times indicates that Google is preparing an offline version of Gmail.

The article claimed says —”According to highly placed sources,  Google has developed an offline version of Gmail. Gmail Offline will allow users to browse, reply, save drafts and do everything that currently Gmail does in an offline mode even when you don’t have an Internet connection. On current indications, this would mean that you would download a software client for this. When you get online your Gmail client would automatically synchronise (sync) with the Gmail server (network computer) and send and receive e-mail. A Google spokeswoman in India officially denies such a thing but there is ample evidence to believe Gmail Offline is in fact a reality and may soon be hitting a browser close to you. This has tremendous implications for corporate e-mail, but more on that later.”

The ground for Gmail Offline was set on March 31 this year when Google launched Google Gears, an open-source technology platform under which software developers could create offline Web applications. The following three features that Google Gears provides are noteworthy – and here is where the framework for Gmail Offline is based.

A local server, to cache and serve application resources (HTML, JavaScript, images, etc) without needing to contact a network server. Think of it like a box in which you can put your household goods while moving house while waiting for a packer’s truck to arrive.

A database, to store and access data from within the browser.

A worker thread pool, to make Web applications more responsive by performing expensive operations in the background. Think of it like assistants quickly and quietly working to help you pack your goods while you have many things to do.

The ground has already been set with Google Gears helping create an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) application, Google Reader, to help download Web content like news and blogs through an offline software. The Google spokeswoman confirmed that the Reader is being made available offline. E-mail is only a few steps away, as downloading and synchronizing are the main activities performed.

Gmail owes its superb speed and functionality to the AJAX framework. For the uninitiated , AJAX is a Web development technique used for creating interactive Web applications. In January it was reported that a team of AJAX experts was working on a new capability to enable Web applications to work offline. A short while later the AJAX community also began creating an offline model of Gmail and Blogger on their own. Blogs like Sitepen.com decided to sponsor and fund tools like “The Dojo Offline Toolkit” which allow applications to work offline.

In the AJAX version done by independent developers around January, a small download of between 100 kb to 300 kb a button comes on the upper-right corner in a Web application saying “Work Offline.”  Two months later, Google launched its Gears programme – echoing the AJAX practice.

Google, Gmail, Gmail client, Offline Gmail, Hindustan Times

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