Dmail (not a misspelling) is a new Gmail feature that allows users to send self-destructing emails. “Undo Send,” a feature added to Gmail last month, allows users to recall messages within 30 seconds of sending them, but this simply wasn’t enough.
Messages can now be deleted any time after being sent with Dmail.
Users of Google Chrome will need to download the Dmail extension to use the service. Email can be set to self-destruct when sent with a set duration of an hour, day or any timespan the user chooses. The extension also allows users to revoke access to emails that have already been sent but have not been read by the recipient.
The company states that the extension does not need to be on the recipient’s computer to work properly. All emails are encrypted and decrypted using the extension. Rather than deleting the message from the user’s inbox, the message will remain in the inbox and not be decrypted.
Revoking a message will provide a message to recipients that the message has been destroyed and is no longer available.
Encryption is carried out by a 256-bit algorithm wherein the encrypted copy is sent to the recipient. This copy is stored on Dmail servers and not Gmail servers. The recipient will receive the location of the datastore and a key to decrypt the message. Dmail’s Eric Khun states “Dmail never receives the message and decryption key.” Experts state that this allows for further protection for the user in the event a security breach occurs at Dmail.
Recipients and senders are the only person(s) that will have access to the decrypted message.
The company reaffirms that this isn’t as fluid as deleting a message in a person’s inbox. Messages will still exist, but users will not be able to read them or access them on Dmail servers. A step in the right direction, senders will still need to explain why the email to their boss was deleted or revoked.
Dmail is a part of Delicious, a social bookmarking service. The company states that they will be extending functionality for Dmail as well as extending support for iOS and Android later in 2015. The company also wants to add a self-destruction feature to mail attachments, which are still able to be downloaded despite access being revoked.
A freemium service at the moment, there are plans to add new tiers for businesses and power users. No mention of the expanded functionality for the service’s premium tiers has been released. Dmail is still currently in beta and is free to try.
One news outlet stated that both parties needed to download and install the Dmail Chrome extension, but this is false. Only the sender needs to have the extension installed for the service to work properly.
Users will be able to turn Dmail on and off within their Gmail account. The way users send emails will remain virtually unchanged, with the user being able to click the “compose” button directly in Gmail. The only change is at the bottom of the compose email screen, users will have the choice to use Dmail, or revoke an email after a specified period of time.
Many users in beta state that their recipients are confused with Dmail and have asked them not to continue using the service. Businesses will have a hard time transitioning to the service without training personnel on how and why Dmail can be beneficial for security reasons.
Recipients that receive a Dmail message will have the option to view the message in a new window. If a recipient has the Dmail extension installed, the user will be able to read the message directly in Gmail.