Image via CrunchBaseOne of the best things about the offline functionality for Gmail that Google is rolling out is that it won't require users to download any new applications.
Built with Google's Gears developer language, it works within the browser, which users can of course open even if they find themselves without an Internet connection.
As Google's official blog explains:
Gmail uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail. As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers. When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online. Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection.
Not only does this level the playing field for corporate Google App users who have been eyeballing customers of Zoho and Yahoo Zimbra jealously for months, it also helps SMBs and SoHos which use free Google products and have been limping along with an online-only client.