It said Monday that it’s started phasing the Google Gears browser plug-in-derived facility in, beginning with a small percentage of Docs word processor users. It can’t do presentations or spreadsheets yet.
The process will apparently take a few weeks.
Besides storing your files on Google’s servers, they’ll also be stored locally on your drives and the editor will be local too. After that, it’s a matter of synching the two directories.
As long as you have an Internet connection, all changes are saved to the cloud. When you lose the connection you should be able to view and edit your documents and save them locally. When you’re back online, the documents sync up again with the server.
And Google says everything is done through the browser – even when you’re offline.
The offline access will only be available in English. Google says it’s working on other languages as well as making the offline facility available to its Google Apps users.
Zoho took advantage of Google Gears a few months ago to make its web-based text editor available offline.
Microsoft has its web-based Office Live Workspace.