Google today announced that it‘s removing its Gmail Offline Chrome app from the Chrome Web Store “after” December 3, 2018.
The internet giant first launched the Gmail Offline app for Chrome back in 2011, allowing Gmail users to read and search their emails offline, as well as composing a response to messages — though the emails were obviously not sent until a connection was reestablished. However, back in April Google announced a major upgrade that ushered in native offline access through the main Gmail web app. The company did actually reveal at the time that the Gmail Chrome app would stop working in the future, which is why it recommended all users uninstall it and use the native Offline functionality instead.
“This native capability is easier to use and performs better than the Gmail Offline Chrome app, so we’re removing it from the Chrome Web Store after December 3rd, 2018,” the company said.
Moreover, Google revealed way back in 2016 that it planned to kill off its Chrome apps for desktop platforms in early 2018, though it’s clear that deadline has been extended somewhat, given that Gmail Offline is still available to install today.
In summary, if you want to continue accessing Gmail offline, you’ll need to activate the “Enable offline mail” feature in your settings. And G Suite users will need to make sure their company enables the feature through the admin console.
It’s not entirely clear whether Gmail Offline for Chrome will still function for those who have already installed it after it’s removed from the Web Store, but even if it does, it’s clear Google is pushing in only one direction: It doesn’t want G Suite users or consumers using the Chrome app any longer, and you will eventually be forced to use the native functionality on the web.
As a side point, the native offline functionality within Gmail still only works inside Chrome, so if you’re on Firefox or another browser you still won’t be able to benefit from the feature.
This latest deprecation comes shortly after Google revealed it was killing off its much-loved Inbox Gmail app, which has been used by the company to test new features among early adopters. Google said it plans to focus all its efforts on its core Gmail app.