barbara on February 24th, 2009

How many times have you wanted to look up an email someone sent you to, let’s say, find the address that you are trying to get to because you forgot to print the email out or write it down, or are working on a project but need some info that you can’t get to because you don’t have Internet access?

I do this all the time and even though I have an Internet stick to get wireless just about anywhere, I really don’t want to waste my valuable data time looking something up.

WELL, now you can now look up anything that’s happened in your gmail for the past 3 years without connecting to the Internet!!

The Google Applications is Gears.  Gears is open source that allows you access to Web-based applications even when you are not connected.  This can be particularly handy if you are using HotSpot wireless or the Internet Stick to access as you can view past emails and compose emails without it costing you money.  Any messages you compose while offline will be sent automatically once you are connected again.  In the meantime they are stored in your Outbox.  Just think of the amount of airtime you can save by preparing the emails ahead of time and then connecting to send.  It gives you more time to surf while you are connected.

Installing Google Gears

Go to http:\\gears.google.com and click on Install.

Run the installer and restart your browser when requested.

Log into your Gmail and click on the green Labs beaker.  If you don’t have a green labs beaker, refer back to blog post: http://www.barbarawestly.com/2008/12/enabling-google-labs-on-my-gmail/

Once you are in Google Labs, Find the application called “Offline.”  Click “enable” and “save changes.”  Once you have saved, there will be a new tab called “Offline” right next to your green labs beaker. Click on the “Offline” tab to get the following message:

Click on next.

Click on “I trust this site” and “Allow”.

Decide what shortcuts you would like on your desktop and then click “OK”.  Offline will then start downloaded all of your emails, attachments, etc to your computer for the last 3 years.  Unfortunately, there is no option to tell Offline that you want a shorter period.  There is a little trick though.  The copy starts at the newest and works its way backwards.  If you disconnect your computer from the Internet at the point you don’t want any more data, it will stop downloading.

Once you have enabled “Offline” it will copy everything you send and receive to your computer as you work. Also, now that you have it installed, whenever you happen to browse an application on the Internet that has links to Gears, it will come up with the Gears Security Warning to set it up for that application.  There are not a lot of applications at this point, but like all Google Apps, there are developers out there looking at how they can integrate this feature into their web applications.  If you don’t want to add it, just click on “Deny”.

This is another great Add-on to Google and I think it will fast become one of my favourites.


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