Google Docs finally offlined!

Since the beginning, when the Google Docs application first became available in October 2006, I have loved using it so much I’ve been able to overlook the one major detraction: it was only available online. Yes, I had a place where I could collect all of my lesson plans, class presentations, quizzes, tests, notes, everything for the classroom–and it was available everywhere I was. Anywhere that had an internet connection, that is.

I had a connection in the classroom, but it was a victim of a sloooow server, making the internet a less than dependable tool during lectures. Still, I made it my primary repository for all materials because of its accessibility and the automatic saving/back-up/revision features. Soon, sharing and collaboration made it easy for me to assess and comment on student essay drafts, a welcome development, but still I had to depend on a connection.

Some months ago I detected rumors tossed about the web that Docs would be available offline as well as online. My heart began to pound. Could this be merely a dream, or a dream-come-true?

A couple of weeks ago, the dream came true, as it was announced that Google was offering a slow release of the offline feature. I waited patiently–well, somewhat patiently–and, finally yesterday, I got my wish. A little green and white arrow icon now appears at the right-hand top of my Docs screen, such a tiny symbol for such huge functionality!

Docs offline capability is powered by Google Gears, which you are prompted to download if you haven’t already done so for offline use of Google Reader. After downloading my offline application, I immediately put it to the test. The download places an icon on my desktop so it’s very simple to access offline. All my documents came up, and it was very easy to edit. When I went back online, my modifications were instantly synchronized; I didn’t have to do a thing except beam.

The one thing you can’t do currently in offline mode is create a new document, but I have figured out an easy work-around. When you are online, create a couple of blank doucments (I titled them Blank Doc 1 and Blank Doc 2), which will then be available for you to ‘modify’ when you are offline. While you’re at it, create a couple of blank spreadsheets and presentations, too, so you won’t be caught off-guard next time you’re without an internet connection and you’ve got some serious work to do.

Here’s a video showing how the whole thing works. Enjoy!


1 Comment

  1. May 3, 2008 at 7:44 am

    […] Google docs finally offlined! […]

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