Gmail gets revamp ahead of EU privacy crackdown

Google has revamped Gmail ahead of an upcoming European privacy crackdown.

The world’s most popular email service — with over 1.4 billion users — unveiled on Wednesday a redesign that makes it more functional offline, with features added to improve security and privacy.

Users will now be able to make their sent emails disappear form recipients inboxes in predetermined amounts of time, as well as send “confidential” emails whose contents cannot be forwarded, copied, printed or downloaded.

The changes arrive a month before the EU’s GDPR law goes into effect. It gives individuals the right to know where and how their personal data is being used, and requires publishers like Google to get consent before using personal data for advertising purposes.

It is the Alphabet unit’s most extensive update to software in its G Suite workplace bundle since accelerating efforts to steal business from Microsoft’s dominant Office workplace software suite. Previously, G Suite added instant-messaging and spreadsheet features.

“This is an entire rewrite of our flagship, most-used product,” said Jacob Bank, product manager lead for Gmail.

Unreliable offline access to email has long discouraged would-be customers, while recent high-profile corporate data breaches have increased their desire to lock down email. Analysts estimate G Suite generated about $2 billion in revenue last year, 10 times behind Office.

Google declined to specify costs associated with the redesign. But parent Alphabet reported Monday that first-quarter capital expenditures nearly tripled year-over-year to $7.3 billion.

Cosmetic changes bring Gmail’s website in line with Office by placing Google’s calendar, tasks and note-taking services within the same page as emails.

With Reuters

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