Using Protonmail instead of Gmail

I believe everyone agrees that using Google products is not completely aligned with the values and vision of Status. With Corey’s support and directives, we are working on for some time now to get rid of Google-branded products (Gsuite). When we stop using Gsuite, we will also cease to use Gmail. Therefore, we will need to select a new ESP (Email Service Provider).

In order to determine which ESPs are most suitable and practical for Status, we have tested various vendors. The tested vendors are provided below.

  • Protonmail
  • Tutanota
  • Mailfence
  • Librem Mail
  • Hushmail
  • Private-Mail
  • CounterMail

The most important criteria for selecting an ESP are privacy and security. The second most important issue is to receive the best possible user experience (the most seamless experience; like what Google achieved)

We have determined that among the aforementioned e-mail service providers, only Protonmail and Tutanota have the features to provide most of our requirements. As a result, we have extensively reviewed the premium accounts of both Protonmail and Tutanota. If you want to learn more about the comparison and review, the documentation can be accessed from here.

Protonmail was the winner of the comparison. Then we reached out to Protonmail team and tried to determine the costs. We requested a quotation with the assumption that Status has an average of 100 Core Contributor (We have asked Stef the number of accounts to request quotation for) As a result, if we create accounts with 100 Core Contributors, it will cost us 7500 USD per year. That means 75 USD per Core Contributor (per year). [Please see the edit below about the price.]

In conclusion, the first step of our two-step plan to remove Google products (Gsuite) is to setup our own SSO (Single Sign-On) and the second step is to determine the ESP to use instead of Gmail. In Protonmail vs Tutanota documentation, we tried to offer detailed information and answer any questions that may come to mind. Furthermore, Carly contributed greatly regarding the legal and official sides of the process. I would like to thank her and I recommend that you read the notes regarding the legal aspect of this process. Because the decision to not use Tutanota is based on legal issues. Although we have created a detailed documentation, we are aware that you may have many questions and reservations. Therefore, this thread is created to answer any questions that you may have.

As a result, we recommend that Protonmail should be used instead of Gmail to get rid of the Gsuite plan.

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions/reservations that you may have. We will be pleased to answer any and all of them. It will be extremely beneficial to discuss this issue here, in order to reach a mutual decision. If everyone is ready, let the discussions commence! :slight_smile:

Edit: I talked with Protonmail today (28.06.2021), and there are some changes to the price. One user will be USD 48/year. So 100 users will be USD 4.800/year.

8 Likes

I think you should add Autistici (the Italian co-op) to the list and ask them if they would accept a business as ours.

Thanks for this @d0v4hk11n.eth ! I’m so excited to move away from GSuite, and I love the way you’ve set up the notes and related documents :pray:.
The only question I have is how scalable will this be above the ~100 users, e.g. if we get to 200, 500, 1000?

Thanks @d0v4hk11n.eth for all the info - Agreed, Protonmail is a great option :+1:

1 Like

Awesome job and thanks for the thorough research!

How are you getting U2F on Protonmail? I am a visionary user and I can’t seem to be able to activate it.

It seems interesting; I will check it and give you an update. Thanks!

1 Like

Excellent question! I’ve already talked with the Protonmail team about it, and there is no limit for inbox/user number. So, for example, we can create 1.000 different accounts for 1.000 core contributors.

1 Like

Actually, it will be possible with the new SSO coming from Protonmail. You can check out the new beta SSO here. Unfortunately, it is not possible to use today but will be available soon. I’ll update the documents with that information.

2 Likes

working on a feature that would allow you to subscribe to an external calendar through a link.

To me this is critical to have a consolidated view of personal + work calendars, especially on the android app.

8. User Experience is not the best (protonmail)

I migrated to protonmail as main email few months ago, after years of hesitation. The new UI (just moved out of beta last month) is actually good. The main issues are the clunky calendar (can’t sync in another calendar, various types of invites cannot be imported) and the protonmail android app that clearly needs a revamp.

2 Likes

Nice initiative @d0v4hk11n.eth.

What does this mean for other products in the g-suite such as google docs, slides, sheets, etc. We use a lot of these collaboration tools quite regularly for things like marketing briefs, town hall slides, budgeting, and more.

Will we find alternatives to those? What will happen to all of the existing documents both archived and still in use?

Great question! It will affect only Gmail at that moment. However, we are working on a new architecture to replace Gsuite (all applications), and I plan to meet every team to discuss it. I’ll inform you about it.

Thanks for your work on this. Why would proton not work for calendar and drive? While the metadata collection on those services is disappointing it still seems better than g-suite which has complete access. Is it just that they are still early stage products and reliability can not be guaranteed?

It seems like decentralizing an email service can eliminate many problems that providers encumber their user with. In your investigation have you come across any projects working towards this goal that seem promising?

Cryptpad is a nice alternative to Google docs/etc. It’s not as mobile-friendly, but it’s super privacy oriented, and even supports anonymous usage.

details: cryptpad.fr/features.html

Yes, you are definitely right. ProtonCalendar is still in the beta stage. Also, ProtonCalendar does not support syncing with other calendar services. Therefore, we are just considering using Protonmail as an Email Service Provider.

On the other hand, we are working on switching Gsuite products (Google meet, Google docs, etc.) with open-source products.

The new architecture we are still working on will be solutions we can use with our own servers like contacts, calendar, files (like gdrive), photos (like google photos), and video-meeting, online collaborative office applications. We are trying to keep our data on our servers with that architecture. Hence, we need to look at that discussion as only ESP.

Besides, I’ve already looked at decentralized email solutions like Cryptext, etc. But there is no solution for us to ready to use like Protonmail yet. So maybe in the future, I would love to offer some decentralized email solutions to Status if they are stable, like Protonmail.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing. It seems a pretty cool solution. I’ll add Cryptpad to our list to review. Additionally, please note that we are also trying to offer the best user experience for all core contributors. So, if it’s not as mobile-friendly, it can be a show-stopper for new infrastructure.

There is an update for the price; please see the “Edit” on the first post.

I assume there is no other question or a “showstopper” for using Protonmail instead of Gmail.

To switch Protonmail, firstly, we need to handle our new SSO, and that process is going on. I’ll create another discussion topic for the SSO when we ready to discuss it.

1 Like

In the document it’s written that protonmail android app is not opensource, what is GitHub - ProtonMail/proton-mail-android: ProtonMail Android app then? Thanks!

Also, did they hint any timeline for the new android app v4? :slight_smile:

When we talked with the Protonmail team, the android app was not fully open-sourced yet, but today I spoke with the protonmail team again, and yes! The android app is open-source. I’ve updated the document regarding that. (Thanks for reviewing the document details)

Also, I asked about the android app v4, and they said it would be available later this year. :slight_smile: I’m also excited to see v4!

1 Like