Users who have become familiar with the Google-Gears based offline access in Chrome might be in for a bit of a surprise as that feature has been removed starting today. This is a result of the next-generation HTML5 offline capability hitting the transition period for both Gmail and Calendar, culminating with Chrome 12 Stable which is slated to arrive in the next few weeks.
Although this may be a jolt to some, Google had planned on this gap in order to provide a transition period where users would not potentially lose any data that they tried to save while working offline. Starting today, anything that is saved in a users’ offline outbox will be sent automatically sent just like a regular email the next time a user logs in to Gmail until full offline access arrives.
There are alternatives to Chrome until the transition is complete. Users can still get offline access from Firefox 3.6, IE8, an IMAP client such as Thunderbird or Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. Google has posted full documentation about the state of Chrome’s offline access right here.
Are you excited about the new HTML5 offline capabilities coming to Chrome/Chrome OS?