A new feature in Gmail that lets you send self destructing emails is now available to everyone. In May this year, Google announced a raft of new features in a redesign of its popular e-mail platform, used by more than 1.4 billion people worldwide. Many of the changes were focused on bolstering privacy and giving users more control over the emails they send.
What is the ‘Confidential Mode’?
For those unaware, Gmail has a new interface altogether. Note that this mode is available only on the PC browser and not on the Android or iOS app. With ‘Confidential Mode’ you can protect sensitive emails by setting a passcode, not giving an option to forward and setting an expiration date (after which the email will be automatically deleted). Additionally, the recipients of a ‘Confidential Mail’ will not be able to download, copy/paste, forward or print a physical copy of the email. However, recipients will be able to take a screenshot and of course, click a photograph of the email contents.
By default, users are logged-in to the “Classic Gmail view”. To access the ‘Confidential Mode’ along with other new features, you will have to shift to the new interface of Gmail. To do so, click on the ‘Settings’ icon (the one with a gear image on the top right-hand corner just below the display picture) and then click on “Try New Gmail”. It will take some time to reload with the new interface. Note that you can always get back to the “Classic view” by following the same step.
Confidential Mode Features –
- Gmail’s new Confidential Mode lets you decide how long an email exists before it deletes itself from a recipient’s inbox.
- Confidential mode prevents people from copy/pasting and forwarding emails, but they can still take screenshots.
- send self-destructing emails where the contents disappear 5 minutes after reading
- send private emails to multiple addresses, so that nobody will see the other recipients
- track clicks on any link or attachment within the message
- send the email later at a specified time
- set a reply timeout, so that you get reminded of an unanswered email
How to send email in ‘Confidential Mode’?
Once you are in the new Gmail interface on your browser, follow these steps:
* Click Compose.
* In the bottom right of the window, click ‘Turn on confidential mode’ by clicking on the icon clock/lock icon in the last row beside ‘Send’ and ‘Attachment’ icons. (If you have already turned on confidential mode for an email, go to the bottom of the email, then click Edit to make changes for a particular mail.)
* Set an expiration date and passcode for an email after which it will no longer be available on the recipient’s inbox. Note that recipients cannot download attachments as well.* Set a passcode: If you choose “No SMS passcode,” recipients using the Gmail app will be able to open it directly. Recipients who do not use Gmail will get emailed a passcode. If you choose “SMS passcode,” recipients will get a passcode by text message. Make sure you enter the recipient’s phone number, not your own. The click ‘Save’.
Is this ‘Confidential Mode’ is safe to enable?
Experts feel that the ‘Confidential Mode’ can be abused by stalkers to send harassing emails which automatically gets deleted. This means stalkers can feel safe about the fact that mail will be automatically deleted leaving no evidence behind. Thankfully, in ‘Confidential Mode’ the timestamp, subject and sender details get saved in the recipient’s inbox and stays there (unless purposely deleted) while the contents of email get expired.
So, if you need to gather evidence against a stalker, you can save these details and also save a screenshot of the contents of the mail. And of course, you have the option to block a sender on Gmail as well or report the user to Google for further action.