Something to look forward to: As helpful as cloud-based storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are, their limitations are all too apparent when you’re stuck without an internet connection. Thankfully, offline modes are here to save us.
While Google Drive already allows users to save individual Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides locally, the company is now experimenting with a feature that expands this function to include non-Google files, including PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, images, and more.
“This feature helps complete the offline experience for Google Drive. Now, users can access their important non-Google files in an offline setting, like when they’re traveling or when there’s poor internet connectivity,” writes Google.
Google is now accepting applications to join the new beta that will allow testers to mark non-Google files for offline access. Sadly, it's currently exclusive to organizations using G Suite, and can only be used via Google Chrome.
Those who do get onto the beta can try out the feature by enabling offline from within the Drive or Docs settings, then signing into the Chrome account associated with the G Suite organization and accessing Drive File Stream. Marking non-Google files as available offline is simply a matter of right-clicking on a file and selecting “Make available offline.”
Google adds that although the feature is not available in ChromeOS, it is working on bringing the offline capabilities to its platform in the future.
While this is a G Suite exclusive right now, expect it to reach other users eventually. Whether it expands to browsers beyond Chrome seems less likely.