Future Tense

Gmail Reportedly May Soon Let Users Send Self-Destructing Emails

Google's email service is undergoing its first redesign in seven years.
Google’s email service is undergoing its first redesign in seven years.
David Ramos/Getty Images

Gmail users may soon be able to send emails with a built-in expiration date. Google confirmed to the Verge on Wednesday that it will be launching a redesign of its Gmail service in the coming weeks, the first time it’s done so in seven years.

A tipster has been sending screenshots of the redesigned platform to TechCrunch, and it appears that users will be able to set a timer for their emails to self-destruct after they’ve been sent. The duration can be anywhere from a week to multiple years. The feature, according to the screenshots, is part of a new “confidential mode” that also allows people to have recipients verify their identifications via text message and prevent emails from being forwarded, downloaded, copy and pasted, or printed. Google had also launched a super-secure version of Gmail in October with its Advanced Protection service, which incorporated the use of a physical key for verification.

Google has yet to confirm that this feature will be included in the redesign, though as TechCrunch points out, other emailing services already have a self-destruct option. ProtonMail, for example, allows users to send emails with a maximum expiration time of 28 days. Recipients of an expiring email who do not use ProtonMail have to instead view the text via a link, which becomes unusable after a set amount of time.

Facebook announced last week that it would be adding an “unsend” feature for all Messenger users after it was revealed that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives had such an ability. Developers at Facebook are also reportedly considering implementing the feature through the use of an expiration timer.

According to the Verge, the redesigned Gmail service will also include a snooze feature that lets users temporarily remove emails from their inboxes, a new sidebar through which you can use other Google apps while viewing your inbox, and smart reply suggestions.