Friday, 20 Apr 2018

Gmail tests emails that self-destruct after a while

Google is working on a big update of Gmail. Among the features that are still in the testing phase is the option that allows a user to set an expiration date for the emails they send. These would no longer be readable by the recipient after the deadline.
” This message will self-destruct in five seconds “. If you’re a film buff, you’ve probably recognized that cult phrase Impossible mission , pronounced from the moment the protagonist has finished reading or hearing the secret instructions given by his hierarchy for his next operation. The rest, you know it: at that moment, the media on which the message was recorded goes up in smoke.
If a feature was offered in your email, would you want to use it? If you have an account on Gmail, you could soon benefit from this type of option. Indeed, it was found that Google is currently testing emails with an expiration date – that’s what screenshots relayed by TechCrunch .

Here, there will of course no explosion of your PC or your smartphone as soon as you finish reading an email with an expiration date (still happy!).
On the other hand, by opting for this setting, the recipient receiving said message can benefit from a “confidential” mode in which the sender can determine from when the mail can no longer be consulted and if a password is required. to read it.
ProtonMail and mail expiration
It should be noted that the expiry of e-mails is not a very new function: ProtonMail secure webmail (it provides a service with a high degree of security and confidentiality due to the use of ‘a very efficient cryptographic process when it is well used – namely the end-to-end encryption ) proposes precisely this option .
To use it, it is necessary that the two correspondents use the same service, namely protonmail . In the case of Gmail, the use of this feature, if it is embedded in the webmail, will work with any other Gmail account. On the other hand, its compatibility with another service, like or the solution provided by your ISP, is for the moment uncertain.
ProtonMail proposes the expiration of the mails. When the confidential mode is used, it appears that certain options (transfer, download or copy of the content of the email and its attachments) are cut off. However, it is obviously possible to partially bypass these protections by taking a screenshot – this is demonstrated by the captures made by our colleagues.
As things stand, sending an email with confidential mode results in the creation of a link that will be sent to the recipient. The message itself will not be sent to his mailbox, but he will have access to a link from which he will access the content. However, the option is subject to change, as it is a feature being tested at Google.

Confidential on Gmail?
If the feature is of interest – the fact is that the use of Gmail is widespread in the world, including in the business environment – it can be somewhat paradoxical to seek to pass confidential information on a service that, if it has stopped scanning Gmail’s email to display targeted advertising, did not stop either email scanning or targeted advertising .
Under these conditions, it may be better to opt for the internal messaging of the company, if you must send confidential information to a colleague. For others, if you absolutely want to use Gmail, the best thing to do is to encrypt the attachments before putting them online and send them. Thus, the recipient will only have to recover and decrypt on his computer.
The test on this method of sending is part of an important update from Gmail , which will be proposed shortly. New interface, suggested answers on the web version of messaging, offline mode, access to G Suite applications from the service or the postponement of an email received at a later date. It will take several weeks for this update to be deployed.

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