I was asked today how useful a chromebook could be if you have limited access to the internet. The person concerned was looking to take a portable computer with him while travelling and writing was an important necessity for him. Google Docs works well offline but I thought that before I answered him I would see for myself how well it performed with no connection.
The first difference I noticed when starting a new offline document was that I was asked for a name for the document. When online it starts by calling it untitled document. From then on it was almost identical with the following features missing.
- Word wrap around images was not an option when offline.
- Saving in a format other than gdoc was not available. Having said that though, print is available and you can then use that to save as a pdf. This would allow taking the document to a commercial printers which was what the enquirer was after.
Auto save still works as it does online but of course it is to a local memory such as the sd card etc.
If you have access to the internet later, you can add the word wrap to the image and it will remember it when you are offline later.
So the answer I gave was YES, it is a useful tool for writing even with limited access to the internet. And with its longer battery life than many windows or mac based laptops it will remain useful for longer.
In addition, the ability to open the chromebook and be writing in under 15 seconds can make a great difference when touring and trying to capture a quick note.