Google has announced that its Offline Gmail is now ready for public consumption, with the tool coming out of Labs and into the main service.

Offline Gmail was launched in Labs back in January, using Google Gears to create and use a cache so that users could browse mail without a connection.

That functionality has now been tweaked to the extent that it is ready for public consumption.

Graduation party

"Now, we're happy to announce that Offline Gmail is graduating from Labs and becoming a regular part of Gmail," Google software engineer Aaron White blogged.

"If you're already using it, then you're all set. While you'll no longer see it on the Labs tab, you can tweak your settings and turn it on and off from the Offline tab under Settings."

Offline Gmail can be turned on through the settings link in the top right corner, with the 'Offline' tab giving you the option you need.

Key functionality

Obviously offline mail functionality is a key feature for Gmail - an increasingly popular webmail service. With Chrome OS using Gmail as its main mail component, the capacity to browse mail without a connection is of paramount importance - although the functionality will probably be via HTML 5 rather than Gears when the pared down operating system arrives late next year.