Report: Google's Gmail will soon include a time-limited Confidential Mode, UI redesign

You may see this new version of Google's Gmail by early May.

Credit: Google

As part of a Gmail redesign expected soon, Google is adding a new Confidential Mode as well as a sidebar that will display the calendar next to email messages, according to a report.

It isn’t clear when the new Gmail will be available, though The Verge reports that it incorporates several features that are already a part of its mobile app, including the “quick reply” feature that allows you to select from a few canned response, as well as the ability to snooze emails. More dramatic changes include the ability to add a sidebar to explore your calendar or notes taken in Google Keep. 

The sidebar also appears to allow users to essentially work within two apps simultaneously, instead of, say, flipping between a calendar and email tab.

What’s more interesting, though, is a so-called Confidential Mode, a way for users to place restrictions on what can be done with emails sent to other users. The Verge reports that users will be able to set limits on whether an email they send can be forwarded, downloaded, or printed. A screenshot the site obtained also shows a popup that reads, “Content expires Dec. 6, 2018,” an indication that users will be able to set time limits on how long contents can be accessed, as well. 

What this means for you: The Verge speculates that the new Gmail will roll out sometime around when Google’s developer conference begins on May 8, a day after Microsoft’s own Build conference begins in Seattle. One of the features that Microsoft recently added to its own Outlook.com service was a way to prevent email you send from being forwarded. Email management could be the next front in the ongoing wars between competing email services. 

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Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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