Google is preparing to give Gmail a makeover, but the revamp may include more than just new layouts. Google is reportedly introducing a confidential mode that will prevent the recipient from downloading, printing, copying, pasting or forwarding the message you send them.
The tool, denoted with a lock icon in leaked images obtained by TechCrunch, will allow you to set a date for when the email will self-destruct. You’ll also be able to add a passcode to the email. According to the TechCrunch report and additional details found by The Verge, it sounds like Google creates a link to the confidential email and then emails that link to the recipient, who will be required to log in with Google account details or enter the SMS-generated passcode to view the message behind the link.
Like other services that allow you to send disappearing messages, such as Snapchat and Instagram, Gmail’s confidential mode doesn’t prevent someone from taking a screenshot or photo of the email.
It’s unclear whether this feature will only be available to Gmail users, or if people who use Gmail with non-Gmail accounts will also be able to send disappearing messages.
The new feature will likely be announced alongside Gmail’s redesign for the web, which is expected to take place during Google’s upcoming I/O developers conference starting May 8. The company is rumored to be including three layouts, a sidebar to view your calendar or notes, smart replies with prewritten responses and a snooze button to mute email threads until you’re written to answer them.