Gmail alongside Outlook is the most popular email service provider that offers apps for mobile devices as well as desktop devices. In this Gmail encryption guide, we take a look at Gmail, its features, how it works, and finally, its encryption technology used. By the end of this article, you will learn how Gmail encryption works, how to enable end-to-end encryption, or how to encrypt your Gmail emails. Considering the fact that email remains one of the most used options for online communication besides instant messaging apps, learning more about Gmail encryption is a must if you want to protect your email communication.
Today, there are two kinds of email services including webmail options and email clients. Gmail, we discuss here is a webmail-client since you can access it on any device you use via basically any web browser that is installed on your device. Yahoo Mail, as well as Microsoft Outlook, are also webmail services. While web-based email services (webmail) can be access using any web browser, email clients always use specialized email software. Gmail also offers a free email client that supports end-to-end encrypted messaging.
Gmail and Its Major Features
Developed by Google, Gmail is one of the most popular, most used email services you can use for free. As estimated back in 2019, Gmail had over 1.5 billion users who actively use the service. As mentioned in the previous section, Gmail can be accessed via any web browser or using the official Gmail desktop or mobile app that is downloadable for free regardless of which device you use.
The most popular email service was developed by Paul Buchheit and it was released back in April of 2004. Today, Gmail is available in over one hundred languages. At the time of its launching, Gmail provided a great storage capacity of 1 GB per user and when compared to other email services active back in the day, this was a huge step up. Over a decade later, Gmail provides every user with 15 GB of storage capacity.
Before we take a look at the Gmail encryption technology employed, it should be noted that users of Gmail can share larger files (up to twenty-five megabytes). Gmail is also associated with Google Drive you can use to insert images, videos, or files into your Gmail messages. Just like its biggest competitor Microsoft Outlook, Gmail servers operate extraordinarily when it comes to filtering malware and spam messages. Other great Gmail features include:
- Schedule your emails
- Google AI for composing emails
- Email notifications
- Emails search tools
- Gmail Confidential Mode
- Gmail offline mode
Gmail as one of the most used email services out there offers a bunch of excellent options and one of these allows you to schedule your emails to be sent whenever you like. Thanks to great Gmail updates, with the service you can move your emails, mute certain conversations, and much more. You can also help of Google AI when composing your emails. To access this option, open Gmail, head to the Settings department, press on the Writing Suggestions button and click Compose.
Gmail is also connected to Google Pay so you can use the service to request and send money. Thanks to the service’s Confidential Mode, you can set an expiry time for every email you sent. If you are waiting for an important email, you can get notified when that email arrives. Gmail is also associated with Google Drive so you can share via Gmail anything from your Google Drive account. Many users do not know that Gmail lets you translate all of your messages as Google Translate is built into the service. These are just several of the many great Gmail features that make email communication easy, fun, and effortless.
Gmail Encryption Technology
This leads us to Gmail encryption technology. Gmail encryption is Transport Layer Security (TLS). In other words, Gmail uses Transports Layer Security encryption technology by default and TLS is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) successor. TLS is widely used in many applications out there besides email including voice-over IP and instant messaging apps. It provides online data and privacy between two or multiple communicating applications for as long as all participating parties use the same encryption technology.
In Gmail technology as well as other services and apps using the same encryption protocols, TLS always features two different layers including the TLS record and handshake protocols. In real life, Gmail encryption ensures that all emails you send using the service are encrypted by default. This makes it almost impossible for any outsider to access and modify your emails as they are traveling from your to your intended recipient’s device.
However, if the intended recipient of your email is using another email service that does not employ TLS encryption which is very rare, your Gmail messages will not be protected this way or will not be encrypted. Besides this most basic Gmail encryption technology, the service also supports Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) that is available for Google Workspace Suite premium (paid) accounts.
What About End-to-End Encryption?
Since 2014, Google that owns and operates Gmail has been discussing securing its email service with end-to-end encryption but nothing has been done in this direction. In other words, Gmail does not provide end-to-end encryption. Nonetheless, you can end-to-end encrypt your Gmail messages thanks to different third-party services and Gmail plugins that offer highly secure, very reliable end-to-end encryption.
Gmail End-to-End Encryption
While Gmail does not provide end-to-end encryption, there is a number of great services that do all the hard work for you such as PreVeil Gmail plugin you can download for free. With this valuable plugin, you can instantly encrypt your Gmail messages and rest assured that your private, confidential data is safe from those prying eyes. With great FlowCrypt, you can encrypt your Gmail with Pretty Good Privacy encryption.
In addition to FlowCrypt, Lockmagic is also an excellent option for encrypting your Gmail messages as well as Mailvelope, and Snapmail which use very similar technology to protect your Gmail account and your Gmail messages. Lastly, you can also Google E2Email Chrome extension which seamlessly encrypts all of your Gmail messages and adds that extra layer of protection whenever needed.