Earlier this evening I mentioned the new iPad apps for Google Drive and for Chrome. Another, and perhaps more important, announcement from Google today deals with Google Docs offline. Google Docs now works offline on your laptop or desktop if you have Google Drive installed. You can now create and edit documents offline then have them sync to your Google account when you reconnect to the web.
To enable Google Docs for offline use, sign into your account and click the sprocket icon in the upper-right corner. Then select “set up docs offline.” Google Docs will then launch a dialogue box asking you to confirm that you want to enable docs offline. If already have Google Drive installed, you’re finished with the set up. If you don’t have Google Drive installed, you will be prompted to do so. If you need help setting up Google Drive on your Mac or on your PC, please see the directions that I have included in my guide to Google Drive and Docs for Teachers (page 7 has directions for Mac users, page 14 has directions for Windows users)
Offline support is only available for Google Documents right now. It does not offer support for Google Presentations or for Google Spreadsheets. You should also note that you do need to have the latest version of Chrome or Chrome OS to use the offline creation, editing, and commenting tools.
Applications for Education
For a long time the hesitation that some people have regarding use of Google Documents is that you had to have an Internet connection to work on your documents. With the launch of Google Documents offline support in Chrome and Chrome OS, that hesitation may be removed.
In my school district many students don’t have Internet access at home, but at the middle school and high school levels they do have laptops or netbooks to take home from school. Now if those netbooks or laptops have the latest version of Chrome installed, the students can use Google Documents everywhere they go.