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One of the best new Gmail features doesn’t work yet

Published Apr 26th, 2018 6:50AM EDT
Gmail Update Confidential Mode

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Google on Wednesday started rolling out its most significant Gmail update in years, which includes both a design overhaul and a number of exciting new features that may improve the way you do email from your computer.

Not all Gmail users received the update on day one, and some people out there may still have to wait a short while to get it. But it already looks like one of Google’s newest features for Gmail isn’t available to early adopters.

Called “Confidential mode,” the hot new Gmail feature that you can’t use just yet doesn’t seem to be there.

Confidential mode lets you secure emails that contain sensitive information so the recipient can’t print the contents or forward them. You can also set self-destructing timers to emails, so they expire after a period of time. And, you can add two-factor authentication on a per-email basis.

As soon as the option to enable the new Gmail was available on my accounts, I tried to send a self-destructing email to see how it works. Alas, the button that lets you customize the security of emails wasn’t turned on so I couldn’t send a silly self-destructing email to my colleagues here at BGR.

The gif animation at the top, which Google included in its official announcement, shows you how Confidential mode is supposed to work.The button that lets you access the Confidential mode menu isn’t there for the time being. Google did say that some of the new features will start appearing in the coming weeks, so the new Gmail isn’t broken.

Obviously, there are ways to circumvent Google’s privacy protections. You might not be able to forward or print the email, but you can still take screenshots or photos of a protected email if you really want to keep some sort of copy. The process just involves a few extra steps.

Overall, the Confidential mode feature is great if you’re sending sensitive data to your contacts, data that you’d like to be accessible to the recipients for longer than supposed to. You’ll just to have to wait a while longer to use it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.