Offline Attachments and Green Robots

This entry is part 23 of 27 in the series Black Belt

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Beginning November 22, 2009, Gmail has added the ability to add attachments to email while in offline mode. This was not previously possible and frustrated many people who use offline Gmail. Now email attachments will behave just as you would expect whether you are online or offline, with the exception that you cannot do inline images when you are in offline mode.

When Gmail sends your mail, it goes through the outbox whether you are offline or online. This allows Gmail to capture all the attachments. If you are online, your message is sent immediately. If you are offline, it sits in the outbox until you are reconnected. Oddly, I would have expected this behavior already since I am so used to it in Outlook.

To get started with offline access:
1. Go to Settings and click on the Labs Tab.
2. Select Enable next to the Offline Gmail option
3. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page
4. Your browser will then restart and you should see an offline link represented as an icon of a white checkmark in a green circle, next to your name in the upper right corner of Gmail. Click the offline icon to start the setup process.

Listen to the Gmail Podcast from March 1st and November 8th 2009 for additional information on setting up Offline Gmail and selecting specific messages to synchronize..

Here’s today’s quick tip. If you have friends with Android phones, enable the labs feature Green Robot to identify in your chat listing which people are online, but perhaps not always available because their Android phone has them automatically logged in. Android users will show up as a green robot indicating they are ready, but not ready-ready.

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