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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gmail Offline Mode Launched

Google is pretty fast-moving as company cultures go, with new products rolled out on a regular basis. And yet Google's popular Gmail email service is only just now getting around to providing offline access, as PC World reports, a feature that open-source Zimbra has had for nearly two years.
Excuse me, therefore, if I stifle a yawn at Google's announcement. While Google may claim nearly 70 percent of the search market, its rival, Yahoo, which acquired Zimbra in September 2007, is outpacing it in email innovation.
It has ever been thus. Google's heart appears to be in search, not alternative services like email: it's rarely first to market with cutting-edge features for Gmail.
Will it matter? Perhaps not. But as Google and Yahoo look beyond the consumer search market to enterprise IT, I believe things like enterprise-class email, which Yahoo has in Zimbra, will come to matter more and more. Google won't forever have the luxury of playing catch-up with Yahoo/Zimbra on a two-year time delay.

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