Web office suite Zoho has announced it will be launching an offline component of its Zoho Writer offering, with other applications to follow over time.Zoho, which in February made the traditional notebook a virtual thing of the past, utilized open source project Google Gears to put together its offline solution. Use of Google Gears is interesting because Zoho Office is considered by many, if not Zoho itself, to be a head-on competitor against Google Docs & Spreadsheets. And TechCrunch's Michael Arrington points out that Zoho will be making the offline leap before Google does, assuming such a move is on Google's radar. But while it's been fast to jump on some New Media boats, including early inclusion of wiki into its Web office suite, Zoho hasn't quite made it onto the SaaS ship yet. Users will need to install a plugin that then enables them to use the tool offline. It's possible the offline component is a little jump-the-gunnish. It's currently only read-only, with read-write functionality to follow in the next month or so. Fast on the heels of Zoho Writer offline will be spreadsheets, presentation and other apps. Offline variants of the Zoho suite will play nicely with IE 6 and above, and Firefox 1.5 and above.