Finally, it is here, and how! Google announced last week that Gmail is now available offline. Now you can use the popular Web mail without necessarily being connected to the Internet once you make some settings.
Gmail messages can be downloaded and stored in a cache. That challenges high-priced software applications like Microsoft Outlook and IBM's Lotus offer. In a sign of what globalisation can do to journalism, it was Hindustan Times columnist Puneet Mehrotra who broke the story in the paper, creating a global buzz more than a year ago.
Also last week came a new leak, that the Gdrive is here. Gdrive? That would be an online storage facility from Google – free – which in my opinion could combine with offline Gmail to create a pincer attack on Microsoft's decades-old monopoly sooner than you think. It is not yet officially launched.
Here is a para picked up from a documentation detail on Google Pack, which is a free bundle of essential software that Google already offers for offline use. “GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents ... GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device — be it from your desktop, Web browser or cellular phone.”
In effect, Gdrive can become like a "virtual desktop computer" on the Web, while Gmail gives you on your desktop something that does not need a constant connection.
I just noticed that an Acer laptop is now available for now around Rs 18,000, and without a Microsoft Windows XP Home software, it costs Rs 3,000 less—and comes with a Linux operating system. Between, Linux, Gmail and Gdrive, we could have a “coalition of the willing” against Microsoft more powerful than before.