Remember the confidential mode in Gmail that was added as part of the large Gmail overhaul in 2018? From 25 June, it will be available to free users and G Suite users by default, meaning they won’t have to go to shuffle through hidden settings to enable it manually.
The announcement was made by Google on the GSuite Updates blog post on May 29. As of now users can enabled confidential mode by opening a compose mail page, followed by tapping on the menu button on the top right, then the confidential mode. That will open the confidential mode page where users can set expiration data and choose an email or SMS (short message service) passcode to authenticate the recipients.
Confidential mode provides users with greater control over the emails sent by them. It allows them to restrict recipients from forwarding, copying, downloading or printing an email that the sender doesn’t want to be reproduced or circulated. In addition to this, a sender can set an expiry date for an email, on the lines of disappearing messages in Snapachat, and the email will be automatically deleted from the recipient’s inbox.
When a message is sent in Gmail confidential mode, Gmail replaces the message body and attachments with a link. Only the subject and link are sent via SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol).
Google points out that Vault can hold, retain, search, and export all confidential mode messages sent by users in the domain, but will not have access to the actual content of the email sent in confidential mode to organization from external parties. Vault is a web based Google service which allows users to archive and search email, hangout chats and Drive files.
For independent Gmail users, the confidential mode will be available without any restrictions. However, for GSuite subscribers, administrators can choose to disable the mode.
While confidential mode can be every effective against misuse or leak of personal or confidential emails, Google warns that it doesn't prevent recipients from taking screenshots or photos the message or attachments in the email. Recipients can also copy or download the messages or attachments using malicious programs on their computer.