Zoho releases tomorrow (Monday) an online word processor that lets multiple users work on the document online and offline at the same time.
When offline users go back online, the changes they made offline sync with the online document.
It’s the latest iteration to the company’s Zoho Writer.
This is a useful feature for people who need to create and edit documents on planes and trains, or print from offices without wireless access. And while an increasing number of applications allowing this online-offline syncing, Zoho is one of a select few to offer a processor with this feature.
The new version of Writer uses Google Gears, Google’s open-source project to let any web application work offline. You’ll need to install it to try out offline Writer. Log in to Zoho and click on the button at the top of the page to go offline (screenshot below). Gears — and Writer’s offline feature — works on the popular web browsers Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Surprisingly, Google itself still hasn’t allowed offline editing of its Docs.
Zoho has previously released an offline version of Zoho Writer in late August (our coverage) that let you read documents offline but not edit them. The company promised in August that Writer would have offline editing in a month; despite that delay, other development has happened quickly. A few days ago, the company came out with another upgrade to Writer that includes pagination, headers and footers and spellcheck in 43 languages.
Adobe-owned Buzzword is another offline word-processor, which uses Adobe’s AIR developer platform to enable similar editing features, and only recently opened for general use. Thinkfree, another online office software company, released a way to edit Microsoft Office documents offline and sync those changes with Thinkfree docs, in June.
Another example of Gears in action is Google Reader, Google RSS feed reader.
Zoho, a part of Pleasanton, California-based business software company AdventNet, is known for the sheer number and frequency of products it releases, ranging from project management to spreadsheets to presentation software.