Google has announced that it will start offering an offline option for its popular Gmail service. The option is part of its "Google Labs" set of experimental add-ons. Andy Palay, a Gmail engineer, describes the new feature on the Official Gmail Blog:
The offline feature is being incrementally rolled out so it might not be available to you right away. It hasn't hit any of my Gmail accounts, but a few of my friends have already started the offline-Gmail madness. I'm jealous...big time. I want my offline Gmail now!!!
Update: A few readers are missing how huge the potential of offline Gmail is, so I'll try to explain it. Google Gears now enables users to work with Google Docs and Google Mail offline. This is enormous for business users. While it's certainly not as robust as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook, Google's solutions are free. Being able to access them offline helps Google compete with those Microsoft products. For small businesses and self-employed people, the offline options make Docs and Mail a viable alternative.
For you Gmail disciples out there, what do you think of this feature? Have you used it yet? Or are you still playing the waiting game?