Since 2019, Google has been running an experiment that allowed users to mark non-Google file types, like PDFs, images, and Microsoft Office files, available offline when using Drive on the web. This was meant to expand the capability for those individuals to have access to their files while traveling or somewhere without a reliable internet connection. Today, the company is officially making it available to all Workspace tiers, Cloud Identity Free, Cloud Identity Premium, G Suite Basic, and G Suite for Business customers as well as those with personal Google accounts!
Those using Google’s very own file types – Docs, Sheets, Slides, and so on could already mark items for offline usage, but until now, the standard, widely accepted file types most people have used for their entire lives have remained excluded. It’s refreshing to see the company add such an important feature to the user’s toolbelt, especially since it hopes to either win over Microsoft users or allow them to use Google services in conjunction with its competitors.
In addition to its web functionality, the ‘Available offline’ feature is also now an option for Chromebook owners directly through their Files app. Simply select one or several files and then slide the toggle at the top of the screen. Then, you can open these offline files in your browser or relevant application without the need for wifi or ethernet.
Something important to note is that non-Google file types that are saved offline will need to be opened using apps that are already installed on your computer if you’re trying to access them via Drive on the web while offline. This, of course, goes for Windows, macOS, and Linux users. Chromebook owners can open images, PDFs, and even Office files while offline directly through the Chrome browser, taking the pain out of the entire process.
If you’re not already seeing the ‘Available offline’ toggle in Drive on the web or on your Chromebook’s Files app, you may just need to wait a bit longer as it just began rolling out yesterday. It’s going to take up to two weeks for it to be visible to everyone who has a Rapid Release domain. Anyone with a Scheduled Release domain will need to wait two weeks from September 14th, 2021.