This entry is part 16 of 27 in the series Black Belt

I have to admit I was excited to hear about the Gmail Labs feature simply called Offline. The offline feature allows you to use Gmail when you are offline or on a flakey internet connection. To get started with Gmail Offline, begin by going to Settings> Labs. You’ll first need to enable the offline feature and save your settings.You should now see the “offline” icon as a little green circle, or the words “offline” in the upper right by the settings link. Click on this link and walk through the steps of installing Google Gears. Once the installation is complete you make need to restart your browser – the installer will tell you if you need to do so.

The process will then begin to synchronize your online folder with a local copy that you can use when you are not online. You can hide the status window at any time by clicking the “X” in the upper right corner of the small window. To see it again, click the little green circle again. The sych process will take a while. In my case it took about 20 minutes.

From the sync pop-up you can also take some additional actions including:

  • “Sync Now” to resynchronize your offline folder immediately,
  • pause the sync for the next hour, which is always handy if you are in a limited bandwidth situation
  • Disable oflfine Gmail, which allows you a quick way to turn off the offline system
  • and Offline settings – this goes directly to the Settings> Offline tab where you can:
  • Enable/disable offline mode (yes, this is redundant)
  • Set the date range – allowing you to set how far back you want to keep online data locally. By default this is about six months, depending on the number of messages and their size
  • Specify the maximum attachment size – which allows you to limit the synchronization of large file attachments. By default this is unlimited.
  • Create a desktop shortcut
  • and a link to a troubleshooting page to help you out if you have any problems.

I ran this on my Windows machine under Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7 and it worked fine in both situations.

Using the offline feature allows you to use Gmail in your browser, read, compose, and even archive messages without an internet connection. When you get back online, the changes you made offline will be available online, and new messages on the server will be downloaded automatically without you doing anything special. This really is a useful feature if you use Gmail a lot like I do.

Here’s today’s quick tip:

Listener Dan Johnson Jr. made me aware of a Phishing attempt via email targeted directly at Gmail users. Phishing, with “ph” is an attempt by someone to gain access to your secured information. In this case, someone is trying to get in to your Gmail account. The message indicates that your Gmail account is scheduled to be deleted. The email asks you for your user name, password, date of birth, and country. If you ever see an email asking for this type of information use the “Report Phishing” option on the “Reply” pulldown on the right side of a message so Gmail can prevent similar messages in the future.

One other little cosmetic change to Gmail that I hadn’t noticed earlier was the status bar when doing file attachments. Now when you specify a file attachment an animated gauge will display showing you how much of the attachment has been uploaded. While not necessary, it is a nice touch.

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One Comment

  • Whit says:

    Do they have a term when someone put their whole message in the subject heading, in email, and leave the body blank? TY -whit