Should I change email yet again?

A few years ago, I switched my primary email from Gmail to Outlook. My thought process was:

  • Google is the avatar for privacy-violating, data-harvesting “you are the product, not the customer” among the big tech companies. I didn’t want Google to oversee, prod, pry and otherwise harvest my email in exchange for, “But hey, it’s free!”
  • I chose Outlook because I already had an account I was nominally using.

The switch took many months, but now virtually all of my email goes to my Outlook account. My Gmail account is largely vestigial at this point, though I do keep in active, in case I need to log in and find something from the Before Times.

You might see where this is going if you look at the first bullet point again. Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has started turning into Google Jr., with an emphasis on ads, data collection/harvesting and everything I disliked so much about Google.

For example, this, when you use the new Outlook email client (which will eventually be mandatory across all platforms):

That 772 number varies by region (it can be even higher). I can duck some of this by using Thunderbird as my email client, which I do, and I’ve generally been happy with it.

But better yet may be using an independent company for my email, one that treats customers as customers, and not data to be mined. This means paying, of course, which is the primary disadvantage. I did this once before with HEY, and I found it a bit weird, but it brought some innovation to the email space. Then the owners of HEY revealed themselves to be Musk-championing tech bros of the worst sort, so I had to kill HEY. This was a bit painful, so I’m reluctant to do it again.

On the other hand, I write very few messages. Most of my email is in the form of newsletters, updates and things like that. This makes moving my account less painful than it otherwise might be.

The two options I’m considering are:

  • Fastmail
  • Proton Mail

Both can integrate with Thunderbird, both have web clients (Proton’s is prettier, the Fastmail client is more just functional), pricing is similar, though Fastmail offers more storage (30GB vs. 15 GB). Proton offers additional privacy-focused services, though both emphasize privacy and security.

I am currently undecided, but doing a trial of each right now (Proton’s is technically costing me one U.S. dollar for a month).

I’ll have to decide one way or another fairly soon, so I’ll have an update in a few weeks. Whee!

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