Google may be developing offline version of Gmail, challenge to Microsoft?

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google.pngAccording to “highly placed sources”, Google is currently working on an offline version of its highly popular web-based Gmail email service, making it possible to read and reply to emails even when not connected to the Internet, just as with Outlook, Eudora, Apple Mail, and the like.

Though Google are officially denying this, some see evidence for an ongoing shift towards web applications that also work on the desktop.

Gmail uses the AJAX web development framework, a popular service that runs all sorts of nifty services online. AJAX itself is currently being developed to allow applications to work even when there’s no Net connection. Google could well cash in on this, bringing not just Gmail, but also its other office-oriented software.

Could free desktop applications from Google hurt Microsoft? It’s possible, certainly among home and small business users. Microsoft are already offering US students a copy of Office 2007 for $60, so something’s definitely up.

An offline Gmail could be available later this year.

(Via Hindustan Times)

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Andy Merrett