Having an internet connection will no longer be mandatory to read, compose, or search through your Gmail. Instead, you'll soon be able to do all of these offline as Google rolls out an experimental feature in the next couple of days to everyone who uses Gmail in the US or UK.
To turn the feature on, you'll click on Settings in your Gmail account, select the Labs tab, and select Enable next to Offline Gmail (our account didn't yet have the feature). After you save the changes, your browser will reload and display a new 'Offline' link which, when clicked, will download the open-source Gears. Google then uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail.
"As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers," Google writes on its blog . "When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online"
Google says not to worry if you have a dodgy or slow connection - enabling the "flacky connection mode" will synchronize your mail with the server in the background, but browsing will take place in the local cache for immediate access. Sounds groovy.