I wrote about offline Gmail nearly a year ago when it was a brand-new feature in Labs, but last week the program graduated, and is now a regular Gmail feature. If you're not familiar with the concept, offline Gmail allows you to use the regular Gmail interface to read, write, edit, search, and organize email messages when your computer is without an Internet connection.
If you weren't using the feature while it was in Labs, here's how to enable it:
- Click the "Settings" link in the top-right corner of Gmail.
- Click the "Offline" tab.
- Select "Enable Offline Mail for this computer."
- Click "Save Changes" and follow the directions from there.
I first tried out this feature while I was on a flight in the pre in-flight WiFi days (it's hard to believe planes have only had WiFi for a few months!), and it's a great way to focus on reading and organizing mail without the added distractions of new messages popping up in your inbox. In fact, I'd like to use it for productivity and organizational purposes even if I do have an available connection! Turn the wireless off, unplug the ethernet cable, and enjoy an hour or two of reading, writing and filing sans distraction.