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Google shuts off Chrome access to offline Gmail, for now

May 27, 2011 |  8:46 am

6a00d8341c630a53ef0148c6b9ad0c970c-800wi Gmail users who like to use email offline might have to downgrade their Web browsers, for now.

On Tuesday, Google shut off offline access to Gmail on Chrome, Safari, Opera and the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The tech giant recommended that Chrome users temporarily switch to older versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox and refuse updates to continue accessing Gmail when not Web-connected.

The shutoff, announced two months ago, is part of a push by Google to switch from Gears -- the desktop software it developed years ago to improve utility for Web applications such as Gmail and Google Docs -- to HTML5.

So how long will this update take? Google promised a new Chrome Web app for using Gmail offline sometime this summer.

"We realize that there will be a temporary gap in Gmail offline access via Chrome," Google said in a blog post, "We are working hard to deliver offline capabilities through a new Gmail Offline Chrome web app as quickly as possible."

Until then, Google said Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.6 will still work for Gmail users without an Internet connection.


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-- Shan Li

Photo: The logo for the Google Chrome Web browser. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press