Chrome: Google Drive has had offline access to files for a little while, but the process wasn't automatic. With a recent update that's rolling out to users today, all your Google Drive files that you create will automatically be stored for offline access.
iOS/ChromeOS: If you've been waiting for offline document editing in Google Docs, wait no longer. Google announced offline editing at Google I/O today, and Google Drive, Google's Dropbox-like competitor, picked up native apps for iOS and Chrome OS which allow you to view and edit documents in full screen on your iPhone, iPad, or Chromebook. More »
If you're doing a lot of research but don't want to overload your bookmarks bar, ZipTabs is a Chrome extension that will download and archive all your open tabs for later viewing. More »
Amazon's new Kindle Cloud Reader webapp allows you to read ebooks you've purchased via the Kindle store on any device without installing an app to do it, regardless of whether you have an active internet connection. More »
Google Gears was launched back in 2007 -- before Google Chrome, and back when web apps were still in their early stages -- as a way for web app developers to allow offline access to documents. Gears never really caught on, and was eventually replaced by standards-based solutions. Now, Google has announced that it's finally removing support for the Gears plugin from Chrome.
With Google now in charge of its own browser, there's no longer a reason to hack together a plugin for offline access to documents. The removal of Gears is a strong hint that Google's promised offline access for its own Google Docs -- scheduled for "early 2011" -- is almost here.
Chromapaper is a new Chrome web app that makes it easy to save pages to the popular read-it-later service Instapaper. Until today, it was called "Instapaper for Chrome," but because it's the work of an independent developer, Instapaper forced a name change to make it clear that this web app is unofficial. The name Instachrome was already taken by a similar extension, so Chromapaper it is.
Chromapaper has one feature that competing Instapaper extensions don't: offline reading in the browser. Instapaper can be used for simple bookmarking, but saving articles to read when you're not connected is its real strong suit, and Chromapaper is the first web app to bring that feature to Google Chrome. Just click the "offline sync" button to cache your saved Instapaper articles. When you're offline, fire up the Chromapaper app from your Chrome dashboard, and your articles will all be there.
Chromapaper doesn't add a toolbar icon, unforunately, so you'll have to use the old, reliable Instapaper bookmarklet to save articles.
Back in May, Google axed the offline mode in Google Reader. I didn't use it that often, but it was a nice way to catch up on tech news while I made the 6-hour trek to Winnipeg from my home in the North. Thankfully, there's a new Google Chrome extension called FeedStore which brings back offline reading.
Just install the extension and you're ready to go. FeedStore adds an icon to your browser actions area and notifies you when new unread items arrive -- and stashes a copy you can read later. The reading interface is somewhat customizable, allowing you to choose a font and change the type size and line spacing. There's a dropdown for custom styles, though only the default shows for now (which is nice and clean) -- hopefully we'll see additional options added.
The downside, of course, is that a lot of sites offer truncated feeds. It would be nice if future FeedStore versions could pull the full post from source websites.
Tipsters like theworldisasheep saw it, this editor confirmed it, and Google even mentioned it in their blog post, at the very end: the latest release of their Chrome browser often crashes when loading Gmail with Offline enabled. It will likely get fixed in a small new update coming soon, but in the meantime, if you're desperate to get back into Gmail without your browser dying, you can
create a temporary bookmark to the no-labs version of Gmail head to your Options, switch to the "Under the Hood" tab, click "Gears Settings," and click the "Remove" link next to Gmail and Google-related items. You may lose your offline data for now, but you'll be able to re-synchronize it when two of Google's best products finish duking it out. [Google Code]