We Chromebook and Chrome users love web apps a lot, but we also hate them (occasionally) because most of them only works online. I have pointed out this being a major drawback of Chromebook and Chrome OS in my previous posts, 9 Reasons why you shouldn’t buy a Chromebook and 5 things Chrome OS should learn from Joli OS.
But things could change. We gradually see more and more offline web apps emerged in the Chrome Web Store. In this article I’ll introduce 5 productivity and work related web apps that work without internet connection. Choices are certainly endless, do let us know your favorite by leaving a comment here!
Offline Google Mail
This is not the first time Google made its services work offline. In the past it was done through Google Gears. Earlier this year many of these offline features were pulled down to prepare for a new stage of offline working enabled by HTML5. This September we begin to see the results and this Offline Google Mail web app is one of them.
It’s not just a hyperlink to Google Mail. It can run as a background app in your computer and notify you whenever you receive a new mail. Every time you run it on Chrome it synchronizes the internet and the storage in your computer so that you read the freshest emails even when internet connection stopped. It also brings a tablet-like user interface which maximizes the use of screen real estate.
This app is far from perfect, though. A much complained missing feature is access to Contacts when offline. Contacts are as important as emails for mobile workers. Some other features on (my) wish list are keyboard shortcuts, caching of attachments, tasks integration… After all it’s a good start, please work hard Google guys!
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Some users have more than one Google accounts. For example, if you run more than one blogs, quite likely you have separate GMail accounts for different blogs. Sometimes this cause trouble because you need to sign out and sign in to check emails. This is particularly annoying for Chromebook users since by default the account you used to log-in the computer is the account you entered Google.
How to Use Multiple Sign-in?
In fact, some Google services have already supported multiple sign-in, meaning that you can sign-in to more than one account (actually 10 accounts) using the same browser session. The process is easy.
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Google just renewed a few elements of its web page design. Here is a brief summary:
A Black Menu Bar
On the top of every Google’s page you could find a black menu bar, the sandbar. This black bar rolled out approximately at the same time when Google+ was announced. It integrates different Google services to allow users to access them all from the same place. If you use Google+ this would be the notification bar as well.
Clean Colour Scheme
The search screen of Google has been purified. Most items are turned to grey with currently chosen one shown in red and search button in blue. This colour scheme is probably chosen to let visitors focus on the search results. Everything’s neat and tidy now while looks better than the original design.
More Graphical Buttons and Menu Elements
Have a look at Google Calendar which also received a new look. Apart from the blue search button, add new is changed to create button in red. All buttons are more graphical (compared with the text links and boxes in the past).
This minimalist design, particularly the use of red and grey colour, simple lines and outline icons, reminded me of a cool iPhone calendar app, Calvetica:
Sheer coincidence? May be. No matter what, I like the new Google UI. It’s neat, simple and stylish. Do you like it?