You may already be using the online word processor Google Docs to create and store documents online for free, publish them in multiple formats and access them anywhere and anytime you can connect to the Internet. If you are unfamiliar with Google Docs, you can check out a previous Loyola Tech Tip to learn about the benefits of using this fabulous tool. The greatest advantage of using Google Docs is that you can login from any computer to edit your documents. However, if you lose your internet connection and need access to a crucial file, you will be out of luck. That is unless you install Google’s Gears, an open source browser extension that enables Web applications to run offline.
Enabling Google Docs Offline
Once you download and follow the installation instructions from the Gears Home Page , you will be prompted to restart your Web browser. When you reopen your browser, sign into Google Docs and click on the Offline link.
You will be prompted with instructions to synchronize your documents. Once your documents are synched, you will notice a green checkmark status indicator next to your user name in the upper right hand corner. The status indicator will turn gray when you are working offline. If you login to Google Docs without an internet connection you will be able to edit any of your word processing documents or view your spreadsheets. At this time, you cannot create new documents when you are working offline. Keep in mind that you’ll need to install Gears on each computer that you would like to sync your Google Docs with (i.e. your laptop and your desktop). You should only enable the Google Docs offline feature on your personal computer, not a shared computer. Gears is also compatible with Google Reader, which enables you to access your Web feeds offline as well.
Google Gears Help Center