Google turns on end-to-end encryption, but not for everyone

Google has just enabled a new option that allows certain Google Workspace users to use end-to-end encryption to send their messages in the web version of Gmail.

Google has just announced the implementation of end-to-end encryption in the web version of Gmail. However, note that not all messaging users are affected by this new feature. Indeed, the Mountain View company has indicated that, at least for now, it will only reserve this functionality for users of the Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, and Education Standard versions of its Google Workspace suite. As end-to-end encryption in email is still being tested, eligible Google Workspace users can apply to join the beta until January 20th.

Full control over encryption keys

Specifically, the introduction of client-side end-to-end encryption allows you to encrypt all your messages using your own encryption keys in addition to the encryption Google uses by default in Workspace. This therefore means that the encryption of the message to be sent is handled directly in your browser before your message is sent to Google’s servers. You should also use an external key management service to manage your own encryption keys.

The American giant will thus not be able to access your encryption keys and will therefore not be able to decrypt your data. The messages you send and their attachments, if any, will be completely unreadable by Google. However, encryption does not apply to the message header, i.e. time stamp, subject and list of recipients

One-click encryption enabled in your messages

To enable end-to-end encryption in a message that is being sent, Google has added a new button to the top right of the message compose window. By clicking the button with a padlock, you can activate the additional encryption. The top banner in the message window will then turn blue, indicating that your message is end-to-end encrypted.

┬ęGoogle

If you’re interested in end-to-end encryption in Gmail and have an eligible Google Workspace account, you have until January 20, 2023 to submit your request to join the beta testing program.

Gmail is not the first service from Google to benefit from end-to-end client-side encryption. Before Mail, Google had already rolled out several of its tools, including Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Meet and Google Calendar.

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