How many times have you heard someone to store something in the “cloud”? While cloud-based storage like Dropbox and Google Drive can be beneficial, they still have some limitations. The most apparent limitation being what happens when your internet connection goes down, or just doesn’t exist. That’s where offline modes for cloud storage comes into play.
Google Drive already stores Docs, Sheets, and Slides files locally on a user’s computer if they want, but now they’ve begun experimenting with a brand new feature; one that would bring this functionality to include files from outside of Google, such as other documents, images, PDFs, and more.
Google wrote about the change, saying that it helps to complete the offline Google Drive experience. Users are now able to access important non-Google files whenever they need them, even without an internet connection.
Google has opened up applications for people to join the beta for this feature that allows testers to mark files for offline access. Unfortunately, this beta is only open to organizations that use G Suite right now, and it can only be done through Google Chrome.
If you are lucky enough to get accepted into the beta and want to get started, then you need to enable offline from within your Google Docs or Google Drive settings. Then, you need to sign into the account associated with the organization on G Suite and access Drive File Stream. That turns on the feature to gain offline access for files. Doing that is as easy as right-clicking on the file in question and choosing “Make available offline.” Once you’ve done that, the files are ready and waiting for you no matter what.
Google has stated that while the feature isn’t currently available in ChromeOS, they are working on bringing offline capabilities to the platform in the future.
While the beta is currently limited to G Suite right now, you should expect it to be available to everyone eventually. Whether or not it expands to browsers beyond Chrome is another question entirely, and a possibility that seems less likely.