New ‘self-destruct’ feature lets Gmail users set expiry date on emails

Google is rolling out new security features to its G Suite business customers, as well as to consumers, with Gmail in particular receiving some cool new abilities, like expiry dates and revocation of already-sent emails.

The new Gmail has a new web interface, but the coolest new additions are under the hood. Just a month after blessing the email service with new phishing protections, Google is now giving Gmail a new super power: Confidential Mode.

“With confidential mode, it’s possible to protect sensitive content in your emails by creating expiration dates or revoking previously sent messages,” writes David Thacker, VP Product Management, G Suite.

So, if you drunk-reply to someone important and you realize you messed up before they got a chance to read your gibberish, now you have a way to bail yourself out. And setting an expiry date ensures that sensitive information doesn’t live in the recipient’s inbox for too long, which should count heavily against potential cyber attacks.

“Because you can require additional authentication via text message to view an email, it’s also possible to protect data even if a recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the message is active,” Thacker continues.

With the SMS feature, Gmail is essentially getting an extra two-factor-authentication (2FA) layer, in addition to the layer protecting individual accounts upon login.

Gmail now has built-in Information Rights Management controls which allow users to remove options like forward, copy, download or print, helping reduce the risk of leaking confidential or sensitive data. The security warnings within Gmail have also been made clearer – another effort to give users a clear call to action.

The rollout of Gmail’s new Confidential Mode to consumers will start in coming weeks. For the time being, it’s rolling out for select G Suite customers.

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