Using the Online Service
I accepted the fact that either the install package was hosed in some way or that I was not understanding something in the documentation. So I moved on to using the online service.
I typed text into the site's text box and clicked Create Vanish Message, as shown in Figure 4. Figure 5 shows the result. So far, everything was working as advertised.
Before going on, let's look at the header of the message. The recipient is notified that the message will expire at a specific time and date. The only problem I have with this format is the time zone. When and if this prototype is released for general use, many users will have trouble converting from GMT to local time.
I copied the ciphertext and pasted it into a new Gmail message, using Firefox running in Windows 7. I sent the message to my office account. However, Gmail stripped the message body. I received a messageless message in Outlook. What I did receive was an electronic signature attachment. Hmmm...
Moving to my Linux system, I tried again. Same result.
Well, I wasn't going to accept failure. So I opened Word 2007 and pasted the encrpted message in a new document, saved it, and attached it to a Gmail message. Gmail stripped the attachment when I sent it. However, the document text was readable once I copied it back into the online service window and unencrypted it. At least I got something to work.
Thinking the problem might be with a Firefox add-on, I loaded Gmail using IE 8 and tried again. This time it worked flawlessly. I was able to paste and send encrypted messages using my Gmail account with no issues. I suspect my problem is with the Firefox Gmail S/MIME add-on I use to sign messages. When I used Firefox and my business Yahoo mail account, I was able to post and send encrypted text with no problems.
I also sent my encrypted Word document without issue. This is nice. I wish it worked in my Firefox installation, however.