Say Goodbye to the Days of Required Internet
When Chromebook made its debut, it was no more than a conduit to all things Internet, especially Gmail, Google Drive, and other Google Cloud services. There wasn’t a single thing you could do on them if you were unlucky enough to have a limited or no Internet connection at all. And, this reputation has stuck with Chromebooks.
Google, however, was quick to rectify this oversight. Today, there’s quite a lot you can do offline with a Chromebook. In order for an app to run offline, the app needs to run everything locally and Google solved this by introducing “Packaged Apps” that can execute locally.
For a quick reference on how to work offline on a Chromebook, here’s a list of various things that you can access offline.
1. Check Emails and Schedule
Thanks to Gmail Offline, you can read, search, and respond to your emails. Of course, sending is not an option, as you need an Internet connection for that, but you can do everything else. If you send replies they will be held until you have internet connection again before they are sent.
How to Enable: Go to: Chrome Web Store and open the Gmail Offline page.
Then click on Add to Chrome > Add App.
A launcher will appear in the corner of the screen. Once you click it, click the Gmail Offline app, and then the option to Allow Offline Mail.
This will prompt the download of your messages so that you can view them and write replies. All operations you do offline will be synced once you go online.
2. Play Music and Movies
For Music and Movies, you will need the Google Play Music and Google Play Movies apps. In order to enjoy movies, music and TV shows offline, you will have to buy and download them in their respective apps, making sure they are synced to your device before going offline. However, Google Play Music also allows you to upload any music you might have in your personal collection and play this when you’re offline too.
3. Play Games
Not all games can be played offline, but there’s a decent collection that you can enjoy and generally something for everyone. In order to find them, go to the Chrome Web Store, click on Games and check the “Runs Offline” box. For instance, Cut the Rope is available for offline play. Then simply download the ones of interest and the next time you’re offline, you’ll have something to occupy your time.
4. Take Notes
Google Keep lets you take notes while you are offline too and while you can save and edit offline, you’ll need an internet connection to sync them and fully save them.
5. Edit Photos and Documents
Since Google Drive introduced offline support, viewing, creating, and editing documents or photos is available while you are offline as well. No need to worry about changes being saved- all of them will be synced as soon as you connect to the Internet again.
How to Enable: Go to the main Google Drive page and click the Cog icon > Settings. Under General Options, search for Offline options. There will be an option to enable syncing of documents to the computer, so check the box next to it. Once you have done so, syncing will begin. Make sure everything is synced before you go offline.
To edit photos, you can use Pixlr Touch Up and apply quick edits, crop images, blur them, add filters or effect, or some text.
To use your Chromebook and all of its features, obviously an internet connection is going to be essential, but in those times when you can’t find one, you’ll still have plenty of tools at your fingertips for work, entertainment and fun. As Chromebook continues to develop and improve, I’m sure we’ll see their offline features increase, closing the gap between them and regular notebooks.