SAN FRANCISCO Google Inc said on Monday it is taking the next step to make its Web-based software useful in the real world of spotty Internet access by allowing users to edit word processing documents offline.
The world's top Internet company said it will begin over the next several weeks to allow users of its Google Docs word processing application to edit documents without an active Web connection, on planes, trains and other disconnected spots.
The offline feature of Google Docs temporarily stores documents changes on a user's local computer. Once reconnected to the Internet, any changes the user made will automatically be synchronized and stored on Google-hosted computers.
"This is still early days. We're working to make more Web applications and functions work where connections are unavailable," Google said in a statement.
These include the ability to edit spreadsheets and viewing or editing presentations, among other applications Google now offers online, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said.
Offline editing is a free feature using a technology known as Google Gears that the company introduced around 15 months ago to application developers to build offline features into their own programs.
The technology already works within Google's news feed reader, Google Reader, and applications from independent Web developers such as task-management service "Remember the Milk," from an Australian-based company of the same name.