Gmail rolls out its offline options

If you use Google's Gmail service for your correspondence, check underneath the Labs tabs in the upper right corner. You may be one of the lucky ones in the first wave of those with access to the service's new option for reading and composing mail offline.

Using Gmail while offline has, of course, long been possible for anyone with an email reader compatible with POP and IMAP. But the option to do it via Gears-based functionality is new, and can handle work offline, work online (of course), and work over what the service calls "flaky" connections. (Gmail engineer Andy Palay assures readers of the Gmail Blog that live wire-chewing squirrels were used in the testing of the system.) Offline Gmail will include mailbox search and threaded conversations.

Not among the fortunate first wave? Take heart. Though cautioning that the system's still experimental, Google says the option will roll out fully over the next few days. For more information, the blog post above includes a video with lovely hand-drawn (why ask why?) images such as the one excerpted.

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