Google is testing self-destructing emails in new Gmail

Google is working on a brand new design for the web version of Gmail. Yesterday, I published screenshots of the new design. TechCrunch’s tipster Chaim also discovered an interesting new feature in the new Gmail. You’ll soon be able to send expiring emails.

Working on an email service is hard as you have to be compatible with all sorts of email providers and email clients. But it doesn’t seem to be stopping Google as the company is now evolving beyond the simple POP3/IMAP/SMTP protocols.

Based on those screenshots, expiring emails work pretty much like expiring emails in ProtonMail. After some time, the email becomes unreadable.

In the compose screen, there’s a tiny lock icon called “confidential mode”. It says that the recipient won’t be able to forward email content, copy and paste, download or print the email.

You can configure the expiration date so that your email disappears after 1 week, 1 month, multiple years, etc. You can also ask your recipient to confirm their identity with a passcode sent via text message. This sounds like a great way to associate email addresses with phone numbers and improve Google’s ads. (Update: a Google spokesperson reminded us that Google stopped scanning Gmail for ad personalization last year.)

When our tipster clicked on “Learn more”, it opened Google’s help articles but the page was not found. The feature isn’t ready for prime time just yet.

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