As Google’s annual developer event nears, the company is making a concerted effort to enable more offline use for its Chrome browser and Chrome OS platform. Earlier this week, the company created a new collection of apps in the Chrome Web Store to highlight web apps that can already run in Google’s browser without requiring full-time connectivity. And the long-awaited offline editing ability for Google Docs is coming “soon” per the company.
Now that the newest ChromeBook is boosting my productivity while also allowing for online fun — see why in this video overview — I’m looking forward to the wider range of opportunities offline browser use can bring. While we have connectivity in more places than ever, there are still times when the ability to work offline is needed. And by shutting down a wireless radio, devices can run longer.
Google is making it easer for developers to get their web apps in the new Offline collection. The simple addition of offline_enabled in the app manifest is all it takes. Of course, it’s up to the developer to ensure their app does indeed work offline. Google Docs technically does work offline, but for now it only offers viewing access for documents. The same holds true for Google Calendar: You can see your events, but not make modifications.
That’s set to change soon, however. Last month, when Google introduced the new ChromeBooks and ChromeBox, it said, “Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect.”
With the company suggesting at the end of May that offline access was coming to Google Docs in a few weeks, it’s highly likely the feature will roll out later this month at the Google I/O event.