What is Proton Mail and How does it Compare to Gmail?

Created in Switzerland in 2014 by a couple of scientists who met at CERN (Europen Organization for Nuclear Research), Proton Mail strives to maintain the privacy of its customers. According to their website, “Proton was born out of a desire to build an internet that puts people before profits, create a world where everyone is in control of their digital lives, and make digital freedom a reality.” Proton Mail even goes to the extent of having their mail database 1000 meters underground. The database is buried under a mountain in Switzerland. Compared to Google, Proton wins the privacy award as Proton Mail does not care about any personal information at all. During sign-up, only an account name and password are required. Proton Mail won’t even track an IP. Contrary to this, Google will ask for a decent amount of personal information during sign-up. Not only this, but they will also track your IP.

While Gmail loses the privacy contest, it wins the accessibility contest. Gmail has a way better free plan than Proton Mail, providing up to 15GB of mail storage and giving access to all Google software. Expanding email storage can only cost $1.99 a month giving 100GB of storage. Additional features start at $6 a month. Compared to Proton Mail, this is significant as Proton Mail’s free plan only offers up to 150 emails per day, 500MB of storage and additional email addresses and domains are not available. While this isn’t bad for casual users, if you plan on moving all your emails onto Proton Mail it won’t hold up that long. Upgrading to premium for $12.99 a month will most likely be a must.

While Proton Mail provides more security features such as the zero-knowledge principle and uses end-to-end encryption almost always, both Google and Proton Mail have implications of 2FA. Proton Mail uses PGP (pretty good privacy) as its standard for communications. This means that no one besides the sender and receiver can access the contents of the emails. Contrary to this, Gmail uses something that is called TLS (transport layer security) which means that emails are secured between the sender and Google servers. This differs from PGP because Google still has access to encryption keys that reveal data. While Google still has amazing security, due to the fact that they still have access to encryption keys, your data is available to algorithms as well as anyone Google gives access to. (court mandates)

Proton Mail is a great service that provides great security and privacy. However, users might need to sacrifice convenience and flexibility. If you are someone who cares more about protecting your emails then Proton Mail might be the one you should go with. Gmail on the other hand is perfect for casual emails and balances collaboration, productivity, and privacy. There is certainly a middle ground between the two services. One might keep Gmail for casual emails and use Proton Mail for more sensitive information. In the end, it’s all up to preference, do you care more about privacy and security or flexibility and accessibility?

Source: https://zapier.com/blog/protonmail-vs-gmail/  

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