Gmail users can now send self-destructing emails

Google is slowly rolling out a number of changes for consumer Gmail users and G Suite users.

Some of the changes improve usability and productivity, while others are meant to maximize data and user protection. Some of the new security options should help enterprise users meed GDPR compliance needs.

Gmail self-destructing emails

New Gmail security features

Gmail confidential mode will allow users to:

  • Set expiration dates for emails or revoke previously sent messages
  • Secure access to the contents of emails by requiring recipients to enter a password
  • Restrict the recipients’ ability to forward, copy, download or print emails.

These things will be possible because these emails will not be actually downloaded in the recipients’ inbox, but will be placed on a separate page/window where their content can be viewed, and the email will show that page.

Additional authentication via text message to view the email allows the protection of the data in it even if the recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the email is active.

The inability to forward, copy, download or print emails should reduce the risk of confidential information being accidentally shared with the wrong people. The option does not prevent the recipient from making a screenshot of the message or taking a photo of it via their phone camera, though.

And, finally, the security warnings that Gmail shows for suspicious emails will be bigger and will provide instructions on what actions the user should take to deal with them adequately.

Gmail self-destructing emails

Availability

These options are immediately available to consumer Gmail users. They can turn them on by selecting “Try the new Gmail” in the Settings.

Only users in the G Suite Early Adopter Program (EAP) will be able to use them in the coming weeks, after they are turned on in the Admin console. Broader rollout will follow.