Confidential mode also allows users to set an expiration date after which the email will become inaccessible.
These changes may be inspired in part by big shifts in both work and personal communication, with work teams collaborating through Slack and other chat apps, and friends and family communicating through Facebook Messenger, Kik, WhatsApp and other platforms, all taking the place of traditional email communication.
In addition to the new features for the web, Google is also rolling out some features for mobile as well such as high-priority notifications that will notify you of important messages.
Google said this would be "useful for when you have to send sensitive information via email" as it would "help you stay in control". As an added security measure, you can require a recipient to authenticate via a text message, before they can even view the email. Google is getting much more deeply involved with our messages, and the result moves email in the right direction. That means an email can be tagged to not allow it to be forwarded, downloaded or even printed. Previously, potential phishing emails were identified with a small bar warning readers that they should be careful clicking any links.
Perhaps most noticeable new feature is the new collapsible Side Panel, which makes other Google apps like your calendar and notes accessible without switching between tabs. An expiry time and date can be set on "confidential" emails, after which point the recipients will no longer be able to access the original message.
Attachments are accessible without going into the email, since they show up as clickable rounded icons under the subject. Tasks also works closely with Gmail and Google Calendar on the web, making it easy to create new tasks from important messages or appointments. Starting today, users will see the new changes in Gmail for Web.
In addition, confidential emails don't ever get saved locally - they're in the cloud and you need to have a 2FA code to access them. Google will also pop up new elements called unsubscribe cards recommending you unsubscribe from senders or mailing lists that frequently end up unopened or deleted. Now Gmail is adding more offline support, so users can read, write and reply to emails offline.
Oh god, change! Is there anything worse than when something you use every day is changed by the developers and it upsets your routine? You can enable the new-look Gmail by hitting the Settings button to the upper right of your inbox and then selecting Try the new Gmail; if you decide you don't like it, you can - for the time being, at least - revert back by selecting Go back to classic Gmail.
The other new features will be familiar to anyone who has used Google Inbox, the company's more experimental email client.