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Zoho Taps Google Gears to Let Customers Access Documents Offline

Takes Writer Offline, Adds Comments

“For Zoho Writer, we added support for nine languages last week, comments and offline support this week, and yet another significant new feature will be added next week,” said Raju Vegesna, Zoho evangelist, as he announced that Zoho customers can now work with their Zoho Writer documents while offline via the new Go Offline feature in Zoho Writer.

The offline move is Zoho’s first step toward making its online office applications available for offline use via the open source Google Gears platform.

“When our customers ask for new features, we do our best to implement them as quickly as possible,” added Vegesna. Initially, he explained, Zoho users will have read-only access to their Zoho Writer documents when offline:

"Read/write functionality will follow shortly. Going forward, Zoho plans to bring offline capabilities to other Zoho applications."
Zoho users can work offline by logging on to Zoho Writer and clicking the “Go Offline” link at the top of the Zoho Writer screen, he said. Zoho Writer automatically downloads their personal and shared documents and takes them offline. Once offline, users access their documents using Zoho Writer’s browser-based interface at http://writer.zoho.com/offline.

Zoho relies on Google Gears to enable Zoho Writer to run offline in Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers, bringing offline access to Windows and Macintosh computer users.

Continued Zoho’s Vegesna:

“Originally, we had been working on our own platform for enabling offline web applications. Now, supporting Google Gears makes more sense because Google made it an open source project, so we can contribute to the technology when appropriate. In that regard, Google deserves a lot of credit for making it possible to take web applications offline.”
Zoho Writer’s new Comments feature, Vegesna said, simplifies collaboration among several users working on the same document. When users add comments inside a document, a small icon appears in the content. When the document is shared, the comments may be used for discussions among multiple users within the document. Comments can also be viewed and edited from the “Comments” icon in the status bar.

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