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13 Jan 12 Gmail Offline Chrome Web App Gets Settings, Shortcuts

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) enhanced its capabilities for its offline
Gmail Web application for Chrome, adding a settings page, better attachments
functionality, keyboard shortcut support and other perks.

Support for offline email is a big deal for users who
need to read, respond
to, organize and archive email without a Web connection. This includes some trains and planes that lack
wireless networks.

The search engine provider
unveiled its new offline Gmail in August, a conversion from offline messaging
enabled by Google Gears to an HTLM5 approach the company is going with for its
Web applications. Google built similar functionality for its Calendar and Docs

The new settings page in the Gmail Chrome app will let
users choose whether they want to synchronize seven, 14 or a whole month’s worth of
messages. “So the next time you get on an airplane, you can sit back and
tackle up to 31 days of mail all while offline,”explained the Gmail team in a blog post Jan. 12.

Other new features in the offline Gmail app include
support for keyboard shortcuts. Users who have shortcuts turned on in their
online Gmail will automatically apply to the Gmail offline app. Also, all
attachments are now downloaded and available for offline use.

Finally, the Gmail offline app is snappier, according to
Google. Basically, messages and attachments download more quickly than before.
Google also squashed some bugs in the app.

Users may
install the Gmail offline app from the Chrome Web Store here. Current
users of the app will see the improvements the next time they fire up the app.

Google’s idea is that the HTML5 approach is more
efficient for its Chrome Web Store, which provides apps for Chromebooks. These
are notebooks based on Google’s Chrome Operating System. Chromebooks haven’t
exactly flown off the shelves and into consumers’ homes, but partners such as
Samsung haven’t given up.

The consumer electronics maker
showed off a new, metallic Chromebook and the Chromebox, a desktop PC it
envisions for more business-oriented users, at the 2012 Consumer Electronics
Show in Las Vegas this week.


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