Feb 28, 2017 11:17 AM EST
Google Gmail To Get A Big Boost But Gmail's Open Source Project Might End Up Going Nowhere
Google Gmail is about to get even better as Google announced this week its latest security effort to make the email system more secure. Google will be releasing an experimental version of the company's E2Email encryption technology to the open source community. But without strong leadership and backings from the companies like Google, the project might end up going nowhere.
Google's E2EMail Goes Open Source
According to ZDnet, the Mountain View-based company has just announced that E2EMail, an experimental end-to-end encryption system, has now been open sourced to GitHub, a code repository site. The move will allow some IT security experts to contribute and improve its security.
In a recent Google blog post, Google engineers KB Sriram, Eduardo Vela Nava and Stephan Somogyi has described the E2EMail code as a Chrome extension for integrating OpenPGP into Google Gmail that will give users a way to encrypt email messages beyond what is currently available by default with email clients.
The primary goal for now, according to a Google description on GitHub, is to give email users a way to improve data confidentiality for doing email and small messages.
Originally developed by Google engineers, the E2Email is a Chrome extension that simplifies the installation of PGP encryption on Google Gmail and allows users to easily encrypt outgoing emails using PGP encryption and open PGP-encrypted emails.
Unfortunately, the open source E2Email tool is not yet available via the Google Chrome Web Store. For those users who want to install it, they will need to go through a series of complicated steps to build the extension and then load it in Google Chrome web browser. Thankfully, Google has also included instructions in the GitHub code repository to help users with the installations process and getting started.
Google first started its works with E2EMail in June 2014, at that time, Google described the tool as some sort of Chrome extension that can be used for encrypting, decrypting, digitally signing and even verifying messages within a web browser using OpenPGP. Since then, the search giant has been actively working on the tool, with some help from the open-source community.
Without Strong Backings, Google's Open Source Project Might End Up Going Nowhere
The cybersecurity community has gained abuzz this week after Google's big announcement that it will open-source E2Email, Google's latest open source project that designed to ease the encryption implementation and brings encryption to Google Gmail.
While the announcement is a good news for most Gmail users, the project may wind up going nowhere if there's no one step in to take the leadership role and to start code discussions and make some goals.
As mentioned earlier by the Google engineers in their Google blog post, E2Email is not a Google product and a fully community-driven open source project, which means that Google is not committed to this open source project.
The blog post may likely raise the possibility that the open source E2Email project has been abandoned, and for Google, open-sourcing is a last-ditch effort to keep it alive and working.
Open-sourcing a project like this isn't enough to convince third party developer to contribute code to enhance the effectiveness of the tool. The open source environment is known for being littered with abandoned software and coding projects due to lack of developers' interest, strong backings, and last, project goals. Finally, the crowd will likely not expect something big from this Google project.