back to article Google Docs offline feature to return wearing HTML5 overcoat

In among Google's underwelming announcements about its delayed Chrome OS platform the company also confirmed yesterday that its Docs 'offline' feature was making a comeback. Mountain View said in a brief statement on its Docs blog that offline support would return to the cloudy word processing and spreadsheet editors in early …


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  1. Seanie Ryan

    have been saying it for years

    does anyone else find it plain stupid that a company builds a 'cloud' service that then needs to have an 'offline' option to run.

    Why not just build an actual desktop app in the first place?

    kind of like having to add wheels to a hovercraft in case it cant hover....

    1. Magnus Ramage

      Cloud app != desktop app

      I both agree and disagree. Yes it does seem odd, and gives the lie to the idea that everything can be done on the cloud and connected. However, it also reflects reality - as someone said on another item today, the cloud's not much use if you're away from WiFi and can't access 3G (because you're out of coverage, for instance, or even because your device is WiFi only). So it makes sense to me that the service should principally be oriented at those who are cloud-based (with all the advantages of working on any device, sharing with colleagues, having your files pulled by Joe Lieberman etc), but with an offline option for occasional use. That's really quite different from a desktop application.

      1. DZ-Jay

        Wait, what??

        @Magnus Ramage:

        So, if an application has a need to be used offline *some* of the time, why does it require the "cloud" at all? Like the previous poster said, it's like adding wheels to a hovercraft: If I recognize that I need to drive the darn thing on the pavement some times, what advantage does it give me to have it hover some times; apart from the added complexity, learning curve, and cost?

        They are adding this feature back because people who use the service requested it. It just shows that some of these "cloud" services are being clouded artificially, just to force a subscription model and keep control of the data. It would be more useful to have a desktop application that can optionally and occasionally be shared through a network. Oh, we had that already, and cheaper, so it most be sub-optimal.


    2. xperroni

      On the case for offline Google Docs

      "Why not just build an actual desktop app in the first place?"


      1- Your company is choke-full of highly skilled web developers;

      2- You already have a well-regarded Office web suite;

      3- You want to screw MS Office.

      Which one of these is easier?

      1- Hire a team of desktop developers and waste loads of time and money rewriting your web suite as a desktop app;

      2- Waste loads of time and money retraining everyone in desktop technologies, then waste loads of time and money rewriting your web suite as a desktop app;

      3- Bolt offline support into your Office web suite.

  2. ratfox

    Where's the martini girl?

    I didn't get it...

  3. OffBeatMammal

    work locally, store in the cloud

    the most efficient, bandwidth effective way to work is locally. bring a doc down from the cloud, cache and edit locally so there are no arbitary network glitches causing issues and when you're done return it to the cloud (incremental saves, change logs etc shold sync off the main UI thread)

    This obsession with putting everying in the cloud and doing round-trip server requests for editing is just dumb, especially when off-line support is added as an afterthought (months later)

    Google have their head in the clouds. At least Microsoft and Apple have office suites that run locally as first class citizens and (in Office 365's case) support the cloud for when you want that (I'm sure Apple is heading that way as well)

  4. Lewis Mettler 1

    offline online

    Being able to operate offline is useful if limited.

    And it makes a whole lot more sense than selling a $300 to $500 desktop application and then advertising the cloud capabilities. Microsoft spends a lot of money doing that. As opposed to what?

    As opposed to building a cloud app (with offline capabilities) that does not require a $300 to $500 investment in an office suite for local use.

    Strange that the Gates foundations spends half a billion to advise low income individuals how to save money but never mention Google apps. Or, Microsoft not providing a cloud based service that does not require hundreds of dollars in investments in desktop crap first.

    To Microsoft cloud apps doe not exist until after you pay them hundreds of dollars. Then they advertise their options in the cloud. How stupid do they think consumers are? If they are Microsoft customers, pretty stupid.

  5. Bob 18

    What's the big deal?

    Google Docs is just a word processor, written in JavaScript, that you download each time you launch it. And when you hit "Save", it stores the file on an Internet-based server, rather than your hard drive.

    You could get about the same effect with a "traditional" application paired with an Internet network drive.

    In competing with Google, Microsoft could set the price at the desktop portions of their apps at anything they like. They are not bound to sell them for $300 - $500.

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