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I read something about the announcement of Chromebook from Google and it seems that is heavily cloud-based OS, but I didn't understood if it works also offline.

Which activities can be done without a network connection?

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One of the problems with the marketability of the Chromebook -- that it only functions when connected to the Internet -- is also a misunderstanding. Google's Chrome OS doesn't have any locally installed apps like a word processor or spreadsheet manager, so many believe that Chromebooks are dependent on and useless without Wi-Fi or cellular data connectivity. But when Chromebooks ship on June 15, they'll come packaged with offline versions of Gmail, Docs, and Google Calendar.

Sundar Pichai, vice president of Chrome's product management, announced at the Google I/O developer's conference that the company has been using offline versions of Gmail, Docs and Calendar for months, and that not only will Chromebooks sport this feature, those three core services will be available offline to everyone this summer. Source - PC World

In Short: Yes, it has an offline support for three apps: gmail, calendar, and docs.

Additionally, 3rd party apps will also be able to build in offline support. Example

I should also mention that it has a card reader, and a built in media player. Meaning, if you have movies, music, or pictures on your SD card you can watch them regardless if you have a network connection or not.

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Really, Docs are available offline?… – T. Webster Dec 26 '11 at 0:47

Which activities can be done without a network connection?

Nothing. You can log in, if inclined use the terminal and write some text notes but apart from that nothing.

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There are a number of apps that feature offline functionality. There is a section or "collection" within the Chrome Web Store just for apps that will work offline.

This is the URL

Additionally, apps that feature offline functionality are indicated by a little lightening bolt icon.

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I experiment with Chrome Packaged Apps on my Chromebook and this is how I test my apps locally (before publishing to the Chrome Web Store):

  • go to chrome://extensions
  • check the "Developer mode" box
  • click "Load unpacked extension" and navigate into a folder containing a Chrome App
  • launch the app from the Extensions page or from the Chrome launcher.

The model is a little different from native apps for other platforms. Instead of compiling a binary executable for a particular platform, a Chrome App is written in HTML/JavaScript/CSS and uses the Chrome runtime and APIs, similar to Java apps running on the JVM.

An API list is here which may give you an idea of what kinds of activities are possible. Some notable examples that might surprise you:

  • serial port functions
  • filesystem
  • Bluetooth
  • text-to-speech
  • push messaging
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