Gmail's new 'self-destructing' messages could protect private business emails

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Google promises a "fresh, clean look for Gmail on the web", with features like Smart Reply, the ability to snooze emails, and offline support. It has been acclaimed for its simplicity, robust feature set and usability.

Gmail will be rolling out its new look with new features when the next update is launched in a few weeks.

Google is testing a feature called "confidential mode" in Gmail, which allows users sending mail to other Gmail users to set an expiration date for their correspondence, and informs the user that "Options to forward, download, or copy this email's contents and attachments will be disabled". It will give you the option to put a time limit onto an email that you send and after it expires, it will be rendered unreadable. By the time this feature is rolled out to all users, the exact mechanics of the feature may work differently than described-the utility of an un-downloadable attachment, as the above text implies, is somewhat limited.

The new look also enables Gmail users to place calendar appointments side-by-side with messages, which should help avoid doubling-booking, or missed events. This is similar to the LinkedIn message replying feature.

TechCrunch notes email encryption service ProtonMail already has this feature. Google uses machine learning to tune Smart Reply's suggestions to your writing style, so the more you use it, the more useful it gets.

There's now no word on a final release date for the new Gmail, however, a message to early access testers hints at a launch date in the coming weeks.

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It can also purportedly be used to prevent recipients from copying, downloading, or printing the content of the email.

Following the blockbuster update, Gmail users will also be able to require recipients enter a passcode (generated via SMS) to open their emails.

Well, technically, based on the screenshots we're seeing, what you'll receive is a link to be able to view the confidential email. Finally, an email can be locked behind a two-factor authentication process to ensure that only the intended recipient can read it.

The blockbuster Gmail upgrade comes as Google is expected to announce more big news in the coming weeks. The default layout highlights details and attachments, comfort keeps highlights hidden, and compact is comparable to the current Gmail design.

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