Google Drive introduced offline mode for documents, slides, and spreadsheets earlier this year in May, and now it is launching offline mode for PDFs, images, and Microsoft Office files as well. The expanded offline access is currently available in beta for G Suite organisation users only. Eligible customers will need to apply for the beta program to be able to test the feature out. There is no word on when this feature will roll out for all Google Drive users, but now that it is being tested, it should happen soon.
The arrival of offline access will convert more users to store content on the Cloud. The biggest problem is the non-access of Google Drive data in limited connectivity areas. Offline mode for non-Google files, images, and PDF will solve that problem to a large extent. This feature isn't available for Chrome OS users for now, but Google says it is working on it and will bring the support soon.
Administrators and end users can apply to test the beta out. Admins must first enable Drive File Stream use and installation for their domain, and enable offline for supported domain and devices. They can apply for the beta programme, and all the admins who opted into the testing of offline mode for Docs, Sheets, and Slides will automatically be whitelisted for this beta as well.
End users will also need to enable offline mode from within Drive or Docs settings. They will need sign into Chrome with the account associated with the whitelisted Google Group and access Drive File Stream. Once all of that is done, you can test the feature by marking a non-Google file as available offline (right click on a file and select Make available offline). The file will show up in the offline preview feature as well.
Additionally, users can also right click and open any non-Google files using native applications. This means that in offline mode, a Microsoft Office file can be opened using the native Microsoft Office application.