Anyone familiar with iGoogle or Chrome will know that Gears is open-source software that will let you view, read and work on a number of web-based docs and data locally (ie on your desktop). And now you can do the same with your emails.
Gears will now download emails onto your desktop, and then queue any actions that need web access to perform them next time you're online.
Gmail Gears will also be able to detect your network status, and it'll pop online or offline according to the strength of your connection. There's even a charmingly named "Flaky Connection Mode".
This is a great little tools for searching your email archives, which, let's face it, is where much of our data is stored nowadays. You won't be able to add attachments or manage contacts, but for common or garden email tasks even with no web connection, this is perfect.
It's currently supported on Firefox 2 and 3 and IE7 (Chrome's a given) and you should look for it under Settings > Labs in your Gmail account, although the roll-out is going to be gradual and open only to selected Beta testers at the moment.
Now you've got no excuse for not being connected, even when you're not connected. Let us know what you think below.