Google has a interesting strategy. Build prototypes of products. Show them or leak them. See if anyone cares. Kill them if it doesn’t work out – there are lots of examples. After many users are already using them.
One other thing that they do is attempt to lock users into the Google ecosystem. Of course.
Tech Crunch is reporting that Google is working on a self destructing email (like Snap Chat for email?). But it only works if both users are on GMail and only if both users use the web client for GMail. Sounds a bit limiting. If one user is not using the GMail web client, they get a link instead that takes them to the web.
They may also be adding a feature to stop printing and stop forwarding.
Again, if they do, it will only work for GMail on both ends and only with the GMail web client.
Information for this post came from The Register.
So what does this mean?
Well first, what seems to be missing is end to end encryption, which seems like a pretty important feature.
But encryption stops them from reading your email and doing things that they like to do. They don’t read your emails to target ads – they have better ways to target ads – but they do read them for other features.
Next, the speculation is that this will only be available under the paid GMail model (GMail for business). The paid version costs either $10 or $25 a month per user. At that price there are competitors.
As of last year, Google said that they had 3 million paying users. Microsoft says that they have 60 million paying Office 365 users and adding 50,000 customers (not mailboxes) a month. Google never wants to play second fiddle.
It is certainly possible that they will give it away for free, but given that they are so far behind Microsoft, maybe not. With GDPR taking effect in the European Union next month and other countries, not including the U.S. following the EU lead, maybe ad revenue might be less predictable going forward. Millions of monthly paying customers might be nice.
If you are looking for a free answer for secure email, Proton mail is a good choice. They also have a paid version with more features, but the free version is pretty good.
Office 365 has nice security features at well below $25 a month. Microsoft has said that they are about to roll out end to end encryption for all paid Office 365 users at all levels.
The bottom line is that if you are looking for a secure email solution there are some decisions to make. To me, Google’s solution is not so great.