To say Chromebooks--laptops running on Google's browser-based Chrome OS--become less useful without an Internet connection is an understatement. Even just a flaky wireless connection makes using one frustrating, never mind having no connection at all.
To correct some of that, Google's been working on offline Gmail and Docs access and, after months of delay, it finally made it a reality. Sort of.
To get access to your Gmail, you'll have to install an Offline Gmail app from the Chrome Web Store. Once installed you'll need to allow your mail to sync with the Chrome browser's storage on the Chromebook. This makes your e-mail potentially accessible to other users; that's not good if you bought or planned to buy a Chromebook as a public or shared computer.
This wouldn't be so bad if Google hadn't hyped the platform's flexibility for shared computing, but it did, so it is. Still, it probably won't be a deal breaker for most users. What might be, though, is that you don't get all of your e-mail. Instead, it's synched by date, downloading approximately 500 messages or about three days to a week's worth. … Read more