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Offline Google Docs comes to Android – but Read-Only for now

Google keeps taking tiny steps toward creating a full-fledged document creation and editing experience to users of computers and mobile devices. Recently, Google unveiled an HTML5-powered app for the Chrome browser that lets you read documents offline—but not edit them. Yesterday, Google brought the same offline viewing capability to Docs for Android, but again without the ability to edit documents and then sync the changes once an Internet connection is reestablished.

Once you’ve updated the Docs app for your Android phone or tablet, you can select individual documents that you want to make available offline. The document is downloaded and it will then be available in a list of offline documents. Once you’ve granted a document offline status, though, the offline version will be updated automatically when you connect to Wi-Fi.

Google provides some more instructions on how to use offline Docs for Android. “You can make an item available offline while you have an Internet connection. You can also request to make an item available offline when your device is disconnected from the Internet,” Google said. “The item will update the next time your device regains Internet connectivity.”

Unfortunately, Google noted that “offline editing isn’t currently supported,” and hasn’t yet said when it will be offered. In September, when the company introduced offline Docs access for Chrome, Google said future versions of the browser would support offline editing, but we’re still waiting for that to arrive as well. On the plus side, Gmail’s offline mode in Chrome can work somewhat like a regular mail client, allowing you to reply to e-mails offline and have them sent automatically when an Internet connection is established.

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