TIME Email

Now You Can Make That Embarrassing Email You Sent Self-Destruct

dmail
Google Chrome

A new tool for Gmail lets you revoke access to messages whenever you please

Everyone’s fired off a hasty email that they desperately wish they could take back. A new Gmail tool will let you do that whenever you please.

Dmail is a new browser extension for Google Chrome that gives people more control of how long others can view their Gmail messages. When sending an email through Gmail, users can set a specific time when the message will self-destruct, ranging anywhere from an hour to a week. And even emails without a specific self-destruct timer can still be recalled by the sender at an time, making them unviewable to the recipient.

The product was developed by the people who made the social bookmarking service Delicious. Eventually the team wants to expand the application to let users set self-destructing timers on other types of documents, such as PDFs.

Google itself seems to understand the value of being able to take back an email as well. The company recently made its Undo feature, which allows users to delete an email up to 30 seconds after it’s sent, standard across Gmail.

[TechCrunch]

TIME Security

These Apps Can Help You Unsend an Email

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Getty Images

The right one could save you a lot of embarrassment

Have you ever regretted an email immediately after you’ve sent it? Do you wish you had the ability to unsend a message? It’s not just some tech fantasy: After nearly five years of beta testing in Google Labs, Gmail this week officially launched a new feature called Undo Send. Once enabled, it will allow you a brief time window where you can successfully retract your message before it reaches its end destination.

The new feature is making big waves across the Googleverse, but did you know that Gmail isn’t the only mail app that lets you unsend email? In fact, there are a number of different iOS and Android programs and web services that add an unsend button to your current email provider, even if it’s not Google. Take a look at some of the best unsending options we’ve found below – the right one could save you a lot of embarrassment!

Google Gmail Undo Send

While Gmail’s Undo Send has been kicking around in testing for a while (we briefly discussed it in our 2011 article titled 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Gmail), it’s only now become an official part of the service. It works by holding your emails in limbo for a few minutes after you click send, giving you a chance to change your mind before delivering it. You get to choose the time period emails are held for – 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

Before you can use Undo Send, however, you need to tell Google to enable the feature on your Gmail account. This can be accomplished by entering your Gmail Settings (cogwheel icon). Choose the Settings option from the menu, then choose the General tab. Scroll down and click the check box next to “Enable Undo Send.” Set the expiration timer to whatever is most convenient for you, and that’s all there is to it.

Remember, Gmail Undo Send doesn’t go into other people’s inboxes for you to scrub them clean, it simply delays sending all your emails. As such, you’ll want to note that enabling the feature will add short delays to the delivery of all your communications. Few emails are high priority enough that every second matters, but still, it’s something to keep in the back of your mind, especially when comparing Gmail’s Undo Send against the other options available.

Criptext

Do you feel the need for an Gmail unsend window greater than a mere 30 seconds? If so, check out the new Safari and Chrome browser extension Criptext. It allows you to scrub the contents of any Gmail message any time after you’ve sent it. It doesn’t matter if your message has been sitting in the boss’s inbox all week – if it hasn’t been read yet, Criptext can ensure it never will be. Criptext also lets you create self-destructing emails that erase themselves if not read in a timely manner.

Criptext works by converting the text of your emails to a picture file, which is sent to recipients instead. You can’t pull the entire email – your recipient will always know you’ve sent one – but you can have Criptext delete the created picture file or any included file attachments. The free version of the service also adds a garish advertisement for Criptext to all your emails, so be aware of that as well.

You can get the Criptext extension for your browser by visiting criptext.com. The extension is currently available for Chrome and Safari, support for Outlook and Firefox is coming soon.

UnSend.it

UnSend.it is an email delivery service that, like Criptext, converts your text-based communications to images so they can later be withdrawn. But unlike Criptext, UnSend.it doesn’t just work with Gmail – it’s compatible with most providers. Emails can be sent through the UnSend.it dashboard, or you can set up your existing email client (AOL, Outlook, etc.) to use UnSend.it servers instead.

The biggest drawback here is that UnSend.it is an incredibly new service – so new that the web version is missing important basic features like BCC and attachments. And unsending email still results in its recipient getting a blank email, just like with Criptext. That’s not a huge issue for many people, but do be prepared to explain why you are sending blank emails to your contacts.

You can sign up for UnSend.it by visiting the service’s website at – naturally – http://unsend.it.

Virtru

Looking for a more professional way to embrace undo send? Take a look at Virtru. It’s an email add-on that allows you to lock files and messages with strong encryption, allowing them to only be accessed by their intended recipient. That’s because recipients need to verify their identity before they can read your email. It’s this added verification step that gives Virtru users the ability to delete email contents before they’re read.

Virtru is well-designed, but its unsend feature is not free to use. It can only be accessed through a $2.50 per month subscription to Virtru. Fortunately, though, the company offers a 14-day free trial, so you can test the service out before shelling out the cash for it.

You can sign up for Virtru by visiting the company’s website.

This article originally appeared on Techlicious

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TIME gmail

Gmail Now Officially Lets You ‘Undo Send’ Those Really Embarrassing E-mails

It only took six years for the most important feature to be made official

Google has finally officially acknowledged that most people send e-mails they really shouldn’t have sent.

Gmail, Google’s e-mail service, has officially added its “Undo Send” feature to the Web-based version of the service. Previously an experimental feature as part of Gmail’s “labs,” the feature lets users retract an e-mail after it’s been sent (think of all the embarrassment you’ll save yourself). Users can choose a time window between five and 30 seconds during which they’ll be able to recall that offending e-mail.

Google first introduced the feature in 2009. It will now be located in Gmail’s general settings tabs (previously hidden in the “labs” section), but users will have to manually enable it.

Google’s new email app, Inbox, also sports the “Undo Send” feature for those who need the safety net when on the go. In late May, the company made Inbox available to everyone after an invite-only testing phase.

Here’s how to enable the “Undo Send” feature in Gmail on the web.

Read next: Google’s New Device Will Help Your Doctor Track Your Health

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TIME Google

Gmail Just Hit a Pretty Major Milestone

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Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images Google's lead designer for "Inbox by Gmail" Jason Cornwell shows the app's functionalities on a nexus 6 android phone during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

It's closing in on 1 billion users

Google’s Gmail, already the most popular email service around, just notched member No. 900 million, the company announced at its annual I/O developers conference this week.

Gmail doubled its number of users in the last three years, USA Today reports. The announcement was made by Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products.

The news comes as Google is publicly launching Inbox, a version of Gmail designed for mobile phones. Over three-quarters of Gmail users log into their email accounts from their phones.

Google’s Pichai recently spoke with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky about the company’s business strategy and being patient.

TIME apps

Gmail’s Android App Just Got Way Better

Gmail
Gmail Gmail

Now you can combine inboxes and view more email threads as conversations

Android users will no longer have to trawl through multiple email accounts to keep track of all their Gmail messages.

Google is introducing a new feature in the Android version of Gmail that will let users view emails from multiple accounts in a single inbox. The new “all inboxes” option will dump all messages into a single window, even if they are from non-Gmail accounts such as Yahoo or Outlook.

The Android update also includes other new features. The “conversation view,” which groups messages on the same email chain in a single thread, can now be applied to Yahoo, Outlook and other email accounts that are viewed through Gmail. The company has also improved the auto-complete search function and made it possible to save documents to Google Drive with a single button press.

MONEY Banking

Google Wants You to Use Gmail to Pay Your Bills

Google is working on a service, code-named Pony Express, that would let you receive and pay bills from your inbox.

TIME Money

Soon You’ll Be Able to Pay Bills Right Inside Gmail

US-TECHONOLOGY-GOOGLE
Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images Google's lead designer for "Inbox by Gmail" Jason Cornwell shows the app's functionalities on a nexus 6 android phone during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

Gmail users could pay electric or telephone bills from their inbox

Google has already been experimenting with turning Gmail into a commerce platform. Now, the company may be poised to take the next step down that path by letting users pay their bills using the email service.

Re/code has viewed documents describing a new service dubbed “Pony Express” that would allow users to link up their electricity, phone and other utility bills to their Gmail account. Users would be able to pay the bills within Gmail using a credit card or a bank account withdrawal. The bills would be bundled together in a special Pony Express folder within Gmail or Google’s new email app Inbox, according to the documents.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Launching a bill-paying service would give Google more access to users’ personal and financial information. It would also keep users more tightly tethered to Google’s services. However, many utilities already offer online payment systems, so it’s not clear whether people would adopt a Google version of online billing en masse.

TIME How-To

How to Email Like Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Adam Berry—Getty Images Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, speaks during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.

Many people have at least two email addresses: There’s the one you get for work, then there’s the one you use for personal business. And you might even have one to give all the companies who will send you junk mail until the world ends.

But these accounts don’t physically exist in your office, home, or city dump, respectively. They’re typically off someplace in the cloud — unless, like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, you decide to host your own email service in your home. While heading up Foggy Bottom, the potential presidential hopeful exclusively used an email server registered to her home in Chappaqua, New York, according to the Associated Press and New York Times.

The situation has quickly became problematic for Clinton. Public officials are supposed to be archiving their correspondence under open records rules, so the revelations have raised questions over why Clinton opted to use a private email setup rather than the State Department’s service.

While Clinton’s move to use a private email solution might seem like an unusual choice, it’s technologically easy enough for most people to set one up — check out this explainer from Ars Technica for the wonky details. But few people bother with a private email server. Why not?

“The big caveat is that you must know what you’re doing in terms of setting it up securely, and that’s a fairly difficult, non-trivial problem for most people,” says Katie Moussouris, chief policy officer for San Francisco-based HackerOne, a company that works with friendly hackers to help organizations like Yahoo, Twitter, and even government agencies detect vulnerabilities in their own technology.

 

An outgoing email generally follows this route: It’s stored in a server, sent by a client (software ranging from Microsoft Outlook on your computer to the Mail app on your smartphone), and traverses various networks en route to its destination, where it’s received by the recipient’s client and stored by their email server. (And vice versa for incoming email.) Setting up your own email service lets you control the two closest parts of this path — your local server and client. That can help make your data safer, especially if you encrypt the data stored on your server and the messages you send.

But doing all this still means three-fifths of your email’s path runs through areas over which you have no control. In fact, the only way that emails sent to or from Clinton’s account would remain truly secure would be if they went to or came from accounts that were similarly locked down. Then “you would have all of the infrastructure under your direct control,” says Moussouris, who has more than 15 years experience in Internet security and has also worked as a hacker-for-hire.

Despite these security holes, there are still reasons that a person would want to set up their own email service. As that Ars explainer points out, if your email is hosted in the cloud —say, by Gmail — “it’s not yours.” If you control the servers, you own the content — though governmental policies surrounding transparency and police search and seizure rules certainly weigh in here.

But most people aren’t trying to protect sensitive State Department data. Instead, one reason people run their own email services is so they can use their own domain name in their email address. If this was a reason for Clinton, it was a foolhardy one, argues Moussouris. If being a high-value target for hackers is a reason for using an (allegedly) more secure private email service, choosing an domain name like clintonemail.com, as Clinton did, only gave her a higher profile.

“Such an obvious name would make it an interesting target for a hacker,” says Moussouris. “People with that high of a profile, whether it’s a politician, celebrity, or high-level executive, they should already be operating with that in mind.”

Besides, consumer-based services not only allow users to use their own domain name while hosting their emails in the cloud, they also provide end-to-end encryption, ensuring that their messages stay safe while traveling through the web.

But if you still want to email like Hillary Clinton, Moussouris recommends relying on an expert — if you can find one. “Qualified security people are very rare,” she says. And that’s one of the problems with this setup for Clinton.

“I couldn’t imagine a top-notch security person going to work for anyone in Washington, let alone an individual in, essentially, a non-technical function,” Moussouris says. “We have a scarcity of talent in the security industry, and we see this when we try to hire good people all the time.”

As a result, Moussouris assumes whoever set up Clinton’s private email server was a staffer, unless they were very well paid. And if that’s the case, the best way to email like Hillary Clinton is to spend a lot of money.

TIME Security

What’s More Secure: Gmail or Government Email?

Ministers Attend The London Conference On Libya
WPA Pool—Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her phone at the opening of the Libyan Conference, a meeting of international allies to discuss the next steps for Libya on March 29, 2011 in London, England.

Consider this before emailing your Social Security number — or State Department business

From a lone entrepreneur in Nigeria to the U.S. Secretary of State, email security is a major issue that impacts everyone. While third-party email providers like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo claim their services are safe and secure, sometimes it seems smarter to use your work address instead.

But Hillary Clinton opted to use a personal account instead of a government account while serving as Secretary of State, according to the New York Times. That revelation is causing headaches for the potential presidential candidate because she may have violated rules requiring public officials’ correspondence to be archived.

It’s still unclear why Clinton chose to use a personal email account instead of a State Department-supplied one (or which email service she used). Some observers, however, say it was a security risk for Clinton to go off the government grid. But when it comes to hacks and brass tacks, which email service is actually more secure: Consumer services like Gmail or government email?

“Neither,” says Justin White, a former director of information security compliance for the state of Colorado, who has also worked as an information security consultant with Microsoft, Costco, Wells Fargo, and the state of Washington. When asked which service he would use to send sensitive information, White, a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, begins to answer one way, then another.

And then he pauses and says: “You’d have to torture me to force me to do it.”

There are several reasons for White’s wavering response. First, while some governmental email systems are highly secure, that’s not true for every department. For instance, he says, if you were going to send some sensitive information to another agency, if that department has poor security on its servers, your data is put at risk of being intercepted — even if the other office is located just next door.

Secondly, there’s no way of knowing which governmental agency has good email security and which doesn’t, because, for security purposes, they don’t typically reveal their protocols.

“Some people are woefully unprepared at securing their own email servers at an agency level, so for all you know, people could already be intercepting emails,” says White.

Still, the State Department probably has very good email security for classified messages — security that Clinton apparently opted out of using.

But on the other hand, consumer services like Gmail aren’t hacker-proof, either. They often tout the exact measures they use to keep messages secure as a means of marketing — but by doing so, they’re also helping hackers untangle their safety measures. From unencrypted data to servers that aren’t protected and breaches that haven’t been fixed yet, hackers catalog security deficiencies to find ways to break in.

“You could go on any forum as well, and see what other people have researched about any of the different cloud or (email) solutions,” says White.

Is email encryption a magic bullet solution? The disappointing reality is that between the senders’ and receivers’ servers, there are many opportunities for intercepting or hacking into emails. It’s enough to make a person go all Janet Napolitano (the former Secretary of Homeland Security once said she doesn’t use email).

But that’s not to say we should all revert to the digital dark ages — we just need to be conscious about how secure our email services really are. For Clinton’s part, she might have just opted for more secure methods than email for truly sensitive communications. A State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday Clinton could have used secure voice and video chats instead, or opted for something truly old fashioned: printed documents.

TIME How-To

Here’s How to Send Money Over Gmail

Didn't notice that little dollar sign at the bottom of every Gmail message? You're not alone

Gmail users in the United Kingdom may notice a new attachment icon today shaped like a British pound sign which does exactly what it suggests: attaches money to an email.

American users need not be envious. Google already released the feature this side of the pond more than a year ago, even if it was easy to overlook that mysterious little dollar sign at the bottom of every message.

Here’s a refresher on how it works:

1) Open a new message in Gmail and click on the dollar sign icon beneath the text box.

2) A pop-up window will appear prompting the user to link an existing credit or debit card to Google Wallet. Already have Google Wallet? Skip ahead to step 3. Otherwise, grab your credit card and fill out the billing information to set up an account.

3) Type in the amount you want to send to the recipient, hit “send,” and it will land as an attachment in the recipient’s inbox, regardless of whether they’re using Gmail or an alternative email service.

4) Here’s the rub: Recipients also need an existing Google Wallet account to receive the payment. The money automatically uploads to their Google Wallet balance, or it can be transferred directly into a banking account.

5) Swallow the fee. Google tacks on an extra 2.9% fee for credit or debit card payments, but the user can avoid the fee by sending money directly from a banking account or by living in the UK, where no fees apply. The receiver gets off scot free.

That’s it, an incredibly handy feature which is only limited by the number of users on Google Wallet and their keen eye for mysterious icons.

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