Gmail's upcoming visual overhaul will include a privacy-focused 'Confidential Mode' feature

Rosemary Collier
April 14, 2018

The new feature will likely be announced alongside Gmail's redesign for the web, which is expected to take place during Google's upcoming I/O developers conference starting May 8. Google, if rumors are right, working on enhanced confidential mode, which will allow the recording of the email as well. "We need a bit more time to compose ourselves, so can't share anything yet-archive this for now, and we'll let you know when it's time to hit send", the company teased.

According to TechCrunch, users can configure the expiration date to have their emails disappear after 1 week, 1 month, multiple years, etc. Notably, it looks like recipients of the confidential email will have to log into their Google accounts once again to read the email.

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While these "confidential" emails are hard to forward or copy for the sender, it's important to note that there's no word of end-to-end encryption - suggesting that Google can still read the contents of your emails and comply with law enforcement if they're required to give information from your account - so don't send anything you wouldn't be fine with the authorities seeing. In the past, Google has said user privacy is worth just $25 and that Gmail users don't have legitimate privacy concerns. As per some reports from the web, it seems like that Google is also working on a Confidential Mode which is said to bring the self-destructing emails along with some other privacy-focused changes.

Gmail's redesign will have some other snazzy new features as well.

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TechCrunch states that the feature isn't ready yet, as their source arrived at a non-existent page after clicking on the "Learn more" option to open Google's help articles.

As of now, it's unknown whether the feature is going to be compatible with non-Gmail users. On the other side, the confidentiality of mail content will be protected by a link, which only will be revealed after identity verification.

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There are many similarities between ProtonMail and the new Gmail design, but one of the main differences between the two services is how they handle the self-destructing emails. TechCrunch's report notes that a confidential message doesn't have to be encrypted, which means that it's likely that Google can still see the content of the email.

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