GOOGLE IS testing a self-destructing option for emails in the upcoming revamp of Gmail.
As we reported last week, leaks on a major design shift for Gmail's desktop interface have shown several new features too.
Expiring emails are nothing new in themselves - you only need look at the recent clandestine Cambridge Analytica videos to hear talk of a similar feature in use.
However, that was Protonmail, a client with far less foothold that Gmail, which is one of the top free email clients in the world. As such, the addition of something so secretive in Gmail is a bit special.
Options will include pass coding the email so it can only be opened with a code shared offline (probably an SMS message), a confidential setting that will block you from forwarding, copy and pasting, downloading or printing, and of course the time-based destruction which can be set for anything from minutes to multiple years after sending.
Things we're not sure on as yet are timescale, though the feature along with the rest of the Gmail refresh is said to be in testing already. We are also not sure how universal the implementation of this feature is - it may be just Gmail to Gmail unless they've found some clever way of making it work in Outlook et al.
Let's say for a minute it does work across platforms. How are they going to make it end-to-end encrypted? And how much use is the feature without that?
Finally, we're not sure how governments are going to take to this. Most intelligence-based worries these days seem to be based on a certain amount of FOMO, and for one of the prevailing email platforms to be this much of a red rag to that particular bull could mean we see certain state actors diving in to unhide it. µ
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