After Google pulled life support on its free and open source browser extension called Gears, many road warriors were left scratching their head because by doing so Google had also killed the useful offline mode in Google Docs. The company relied on Gears to add features to web apps that were not possible in HTML at the time, like the ability for web apps to cache data and maintain operation without continuous network connectivity. Google has been promising to re-write the offline functionality in HTML5 ever since. While no announcement has been made yet, the Google Operating System blog spotted a black status bar in Google Docs labeled “Offline Docs” and links to switch manually between online and offline modes. This means that the search company is internally testing the feature and will probably make an announcement soon.
We recently wrote about a Q&A session Google engineers had with ReddIt readers, confirming a number of Google Docs improvements, among them the venerable offline mode. In addition, .txt previews are also making a come back while Cloud Print, Cloud Connect, the Microsoft Office Cloud Connect and Android app will all get noteworthy improvements.