Monday morning, Zoho, the online productivity suite, announced full offline functionality for its Zoho Writer product. Zoho had previously released partial offline functionality for Writer earlier this year, but you could only read the documents and not edit them. What good is that? Luckily, as a little post-Thanksgiving gift, we now have full offline editing, utilizing Google Gears (download Google Gears for Windows or Mac from CNET Download.com).
The offline functionality here couldn't be any easier. If you need to go offline, just hit the "Go Offline" button at the top, give Zoho permission to use Google Gears, and you are ready to go. If you make any edits to the documents offline, when you get Internet access again, you just hit the "Go Online" link and there you are! Everything is automatically synced back to Zoho's servers, and you are good to go.
I have used the offline functionality, built on Google Gears, for Google Reader on many occasions, so I am not one bit surprised at how well it works with Zoho. Google has built a killer platform for offline Web applications. Zoho is leading the way right now, offering offline functionality for its word processor, even before Google Apps does. Zoho currently offers 14 online productivity services, so maybe it's time for Microsoft to start taking note.