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Gmail Chrome Offline Web App Has Settings And Shortcuts Upgraded

Google has spruced up its offline Gmail Chrome app with a settings page, shortcut support, and making it snappier overall

Google enhanced its capabilities for the offline Gmail Web application for Chrome, adding a settings page, better attachments functionality, keyboard shortcut support and other perks.

Support for offline email is a big deal for users who need to read, respond to, organise and archive email without the benefit of a Web connection. This includes some trains and planes that lack wireless networks.

Geared up to HTML5

Google unveiled its new offline Gmail in August, a conversion of the offline messaging in Google Gears to the HTML5 base the company is going with for its Web applications. Google has already built similar functionality for its Calendar and Docs apps.

The new settings page in the Gmail Chrome app will let users choose whether they want to synchronise seven, 14, or a whole month’s worth of messages. “So the next time you get on an airplane, you can sit back and tackle up to 31 days of mail all while offline,” explained the Gmail team in a blog post.

Other added features in the offline Gmail app include support for keyboard shortcuts. Users who have shortcuts turned on in their online Gmail will automatically have them applied to the Gmail offline app. Also, all attachments are now downloaded for offline access. Finally, the Gmail offline app is snappier, according to Google. Basically, messages and attachments download more quickly than before and the company has also squashed some bugs in the app.

Users may install the Gmail offline app from the Chrome Web Store and current users of the app will see the improvements the next time they fire up the service.

Google’s idea is that the HTML5 approach is more efficient for its Chrome Web Store, which provides apps for Chromebooks. These are notebooks based on Google’s Chrome Operating System.

Chromebooks have not exactly flown off the shelves and into consumers’ homes, but hardware manufacturing partners have not given up. Samsung, for example, showed off a metallic Chromebook and the Chromebox, a desktop PC it envisions for more-business-oriented users, at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this week.