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Google gives Google Docs offline capabilities

On a plane? Doesnt matter. Get to work with offline cloud-based apps

One of the big disadvantages to using cloud-based office apps is that you have to be connected to the Internet to use them.

Well, Google took care of that issue today.

At its annual Google I/O developers conference on Thursday, Google announced that it is adding the ability to work offline to Google Docs, the company's cloud-based office apps.

That means people working on shared documents will be able to do their work offline and then when they are back online, their document will automatically sync up with the cloud.

Such offline capability could be handy for people who might need to work while travelling by plane without wireless Internet access, as well as for people who need to keep working when the network goes down.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said this is a good move for Google Docs but he's not sure why it took Google so long to do it.

"Offline access is something that Google should have made a priority and delivered before now," Old said. "Web access isn't nearly as ubiquitous as some might think and being able to do useful work offline is critical to most business people."

Google has been embroiled in a competition with Microsoft, which also has been pushing cloud-based apps for the enterprise. Microsoft, which has an obvious foothold in the enterprise with its Office software, has taken those apps to the cloud with its Office 365 suite.

Both companies are going after the lucrative enterprise market and they're using office-related applications to help them get there.

Olds said adding offline capabilities to Google Docs could boost Google's enterprise efforts. "The lack of offline use was certainly a big stumbling block for many potential Google Docs business users," he added. "Now that they have it, Google might see adoption pick up a bit over time."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

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