So suddenly there’s a lot of attention around email and it’s exposing how many people in the web community still use Gmail. Like actually trust all your personal information and communication (and that of your potentially marginalised or vulnerable contacts) with Google. 🤮

There are a lot of hard problems and lack of alternatives when it comes to rights-respecting technology. But email (as imperfect as it is) has a fair few affordable alternative providers. Small change, big difference.

Maybe I’ve not been saying it loudly or frequently enough for the last however-many years…

Privacy is not a luxury.

Same with accessibility. Neither are luxuries, they’re life-sustaining rights. And you’re unusually privileged if you’ve not had to care about either.

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@laura THIS 👏🏼

I can somewhat tolerate the “I stay on Facebook for my grandpa” arguments. But for email? There are so many better options.

@scully Well, once you have an Android smartphone or pad, it requires a Google account. So it's actually easier to have a Gmail than not having one.
Not saying it's good, just saying so many people have a Gmail account because... they didn't have to put any effort into it.

@vanecx @scully @laura However, you don't have to use it as your *main* email address.

@vanecx @scully @laura Is this not a monopoly type issue? Google is using it's position as the owner of the largest mobile phone OS and app store, to make people register for its email service. There seems to be no reason that somebody couldn't register for the app store using a different email address, just like for all other services.

@vanecx @scully @laura p.s. it only requires a google account if you want to use google services. You can choose not to get one, but then you won't have maps or the app store etc.

@will__ @vanecx @scully @laura Other problem is: yes, there are many other app sources BUT when on the device are present Google Play services, installed apps may not launch when user aren't logged in. Completely removal of Google services solve this problem, but not everyone can do this (lack of skills, not possible bootloader unlocking, lack of alternative ROM for given phone model). I read about apps which block Google processes on Android system - anyone know if it could also help with this?

@nickchuckwalter @scully @laura I use Zoho for mail, it's like $10 a year for mail, calendar, etc. Privacy-focussed and custom domain support

@laura so true! you can say the same about Google Analytics too. most websites still use it despite everything that's known about Google and despite having access to lots of alternatives. we're trying to slowly change that one site at a time...

@markosaric @laura Agreed on both. Do y'all think the Safari changes might finally help with Google Analytics?

@chris @laura just look at the number of marketers and agencies etc complaining about this change to understand that many feel threatened... if there will be actual major change happening is difficult to know but i do hope so

@laura With Gmail, you're also giving up the privacy of your friends/other people who email you, which seems particularly bad.

@laura I am glad other people also see this problem. "Improvement" today go wrong direction, when privacy become more and more restricted to lucky, tech savvy individuals. Like kind of occult, esoteric knowledge. Casual person, who want to have phone, practically don't have a choice. Getting rid of nasty spyware given by default requires some skills. So everyone now has to be IT/network/mobile expert to live peacefully without unwanted eyes? 😕

@laura I have a lot of old emails in gmail. It's a long process to move away from gmail but I'm slowly deleting what I don't need and saving what I do. At this point Google already knows more about me than I do, so escaping isn't quite so important.

@YurkshireLad @laura We hear this a lot. Privacy nihilism is an emotional barrier for us to overcome.

It just seems like there is no hope, no escape and no answer. But, Google does not know everything about you already, as you are a living breathing creature. The people you interact with are also part of the mix.

There is plenty of new information for Google to glean and ultimately use to manipulate what you click on, what you shop for, and to correlate you to events in the real world.

@YurkshireLad you can just copy them from one provider to another via IMAP using e.g. Thunderbird. I've done it twice over the years.

@laura Very true my dear, remember that email was one of the first advances in communication technology, (first generation) but today with the fifth generation, email became irrelevant.

I suppose the launch of hey dot com, a new email service


Ah, I heard of that, thanks. ( from the makers of basecamp )

@STP_KITT @laura

@laura I currently don't use Gmail anymore but I am sometimes considering going back to it because of the amazing categorisation of emails. Are there any alternatives that do it just as well as Gmail does it?

@laura There's @Tutanota, a great option to consider for the reasons you mentioned. They even encrypt the email that goes to non-tutanota email users.

@Citizenzibb @laura @Tutanota Problem with Tutanota (apart from spelling it) and protonmail is the inability to use a client of your choice (no IMAP, SMTP, etc). Posteo looks good, but it charges so not accessible to many. Similar deal with Fastmail. Self-hosting has its own fistful of problems too! Trouble is, people want stuff free of charge.

@theprivacyfoundation @dheadshot @laura @Tutanota Thank you for this information. For my needs, tutanota's web interface seems to do the trick nicely, but what works for me may not work for someone else.

@laura I'm curious your thoughts on protonmail for example. Where does it fall short?

@duckmaestro @laura

I've been using it roughly since it launched; their IMAP support mostly works but is buggy is the biggest drawback for me, but if you use webmail anyway it's fine.

I don't think the UI is even close to as good as Gmail though. But I've seen steady improvements so I'm going to wait it out and see where things go with fastmail as a backup plan if things go south.

@laura I use Yahoo for Email and GMAIL to Collect all spam... I Never READ my GMAIL... only use it when a form requires an email address... let them spam an account i never read...

@laura Beg pardon, but what is wrong exactly with Google for contacts and Gmail?

@Down10 Respectfully, that may be the wrong question. It's not about any one particular google product. But anyway @laura outlined pretty well one of the problems with google that relates to email and contacts in this thread starter.

@laura I probably have some sensitive info about myself there but my communication with others is very rarely over email. There are way better protocols to do that over.

@laura I hate to say it, but I still have a Gmail. However I started using Protonmail and Riseup more often recently. I suppose you can just change your email address on services you use a lot?

@laura @Gargron Tutanota and Protonmail to name a few... both are also FOSS

@laura its so hard to remove yourself from everything when its what u have been doing the last 20 years. Especially when all your photos are still there lol. I need to download all my photos from all my social networks and just store them and shut down everything lol. I(m new to this site. FIrst post I saw aND enjoyed it

@aerokossa @laura It probably always has to be long process. I am person who use far less than average services and I rather delete any data than store (~85% removal rate?) and it was almost four months for me (from migration start to Google account deletion, during this I closed other unneeded accounts registered on this mail, it was the longest part). For people who rather store and who care about some services it may be longer (backups and data moving, finding and choosing alternatives etc.).

There is a function called "Google Takeout". It will generate a link for you which let's you download *all* data stored on Google servers with a single click. The same is possible at Facebook.
I've done that before closing my accounts.

One service I would recommend is Protonmail. They have a TINY amount of space for the free service, but they respect your privacy.


I'm constantly surprised how many privacy centric people use Gmail. It's shocking, to be honest.

Inertia is a very strong force. A lot of people have trouble breaking out of it.

@laura If only I could find a gratis freedom respecting alternative without running my own server.

@laura Personally, I only use Gmail *only* as a public email. Everything private is on my #protonmail account. I like #endtoendenryption and #email should support this standard by default.

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