A couple of weeks ago, Google introduced key design changes in Gmail, and some of the features introduced on the web version have trickled down to the Android app. The latest addition is Confidential Mode that hit our phones a couple of hours ago. It is a server-side update, so there is no need to check the Google Play for the update.
Similar to what Telegram introduced years ago, Gmail users can now set a self-destruct timer for a defined period on all outgoing emails. The emails will be received like normal emails for all Gmail users, but those using other services such as Yahoo and so forth, the email will be opened in a secure web portal.
Setting up a confidential email is straightforward: just start creating a message and hit the overflow menu on the top right side of the app. You will see the all-new Confidential Mode option. Afterwards, you are prompted to send the expiration period of the message. Also, you can protect the email with a password that you can share with the recipient. Prior to sending the message, you can edit the confidential fields before hitting the send button.
Another thing is that confidential messages cannot be forwarded like ordinary emails. In other words, the message will go, but if the recipient’s Gmail account is not signed in somewhere, the message may never be seen.
Also, we are not sure if confidential emails will be synonymous with ‘secure’ or ‘encrypted.’ Perhaps, ‘confidential’ protects users from sending an email to the wrong person by accident or stop prying eyes from viewing messages. Unlike in Telegram, users can take a screenshot of a confidential email. What is more, we are not sure that after expiration, all traces and metadata of the mail are permanently deleted, a feature that will make a lot of people happy – but we doubt that is the case.
Useful? Probably yes.