We are expecting a major announcement for the Gmail app soon and part of this update may actually include a self-destruct function. Don’t worry, your smartphone or laptop will not explode 30 seconds after opening an email, but it looks like they’re now testing a feature similar to the expiring email of ProtonMail. 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.

Well, technically, based on the screenshots we’re seeing, what you’ll receive is a link to be able to view the confidential email. The recipient will have to log into their Google account to view it and you won’t be able to copy and paste the message itself (although you can still apparently screen shot it). You also won’t be able to forward the email content or download and print the email itself.

When sending a message, you’ll see a tiny lock icon called the “confidential mode”. Once you click it, you can configure when you want the email to disappear. You can choose 1 week, 1 month, even multiple years. You can also require a passcode so the recipient can open it with a code that will be sent via text message. The code is randomly generated by Google. There’s a “learn more” hyperlink there too but clicking it now leads to the help articles but not the exact page yet.

There are of course several questions about this feature that are still up in the air. Will it only work for Gmail recipients since it requires you to log in to your Google account? Is the link to the message really much better than just having the content in the email body itself? Will they be encrypting these emails soon? Currently, there’s no mention of end-to-end encryption. We’ll find out more details when the new Gmail is announced in a few weeks time.

VIA: Tech Crunch