The cloud is increasingly pervasive, but there are still times when those of us who have come to rely upon cloud-based applications struggle. Most aeroplanes, many trains, and almost every East Yorkshire coffee shop lack wi-fi and either forbid use of 3G transmitters altogether or suffer from unusably poor signal strength. Google Gears set out to address some of these problems, enabling supported apps (and browsers) to cache content locally so that GMail messages, Google Docs documents, and WordPress blog posts could safely be edited whilst offline. Then Google dropped Gears last year, and threw the company’s support behind HTML5‘s standards-based solution to the same problem. Now, over a year after Google announced Gears’ demise, InfoWorld reports that HTML5-powered offline capabilities should return to Google Apps by the end of this year. I, for one, cannot wait.