Yesterday, Google announced its decision to discontinue Inbox by Gmail, citing the fact that many of its features are now available in Gmail proper. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising to see the purge continue, and now Google has announced that it will discontinue the Gmail Offline Chrome app as well. The shut down officially happens later this year.
Gmail Offline has been with us for a long time. It was originally launched back in 2011, but despite that seven-year run, the Chrome Web Store page for Gmail Online still refers to it as a beta. Indeed, that same listing says that the last update was delivered on August 9, 2013 – more than five years ago at this point – so it isn’t like development on Gmail Online has been particularly active lately.
These days, Gmail for web offers native offline capability, which pretty much erases the need for a separate Gmail Offline app. In a post to the G Suite Updates blog, Google says that native functionality within Gmail “is easier to use and performs better” than Gmail Offline, so it’s made the decision to remove the app from the Chrome Web Store on December 3. Inbox by Gmail, on the other hand, won’t be shutting down until March 2019.
Enabling offline functionality in Gmail for web is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is head into your individual settings, click the “Offline” tab, and then check the box next to “enable offline mail.” After that, you’re free to delete the Gmail Offline Chrome app and then continue forward using only Gmail for web.
So, for those who got a lot of use out of Gmail Offline, this could be seen as the end of an era, but it makes sense that Google would want to consolidate users around Gmail for web instead of having them use a bunch of different apps. What do you think of this move? Head down to the comments section and let us know!