Why I stopped using Google Mail

I have been using a Google email address for the best part of twenty years. I have used it as my primary email for that whole time. However, over the last few years I’ve grown more and more uncomfortable with using anything provided by Google – especially email. What I wanted to do briefly is to explain why I have decided to stop using Google Mail and start using Proton Mail instead.

Becoming uncomfortable with Google

Back when I signed up for my Gmail address, Google’s motto was: “Don’t be evil”. I naively thought – as I suspect many other people did – that Google were well-intentioned. They just wanted to provide tech services to the world, and they did it for free – so long as they had the opportunity to advertise. I was impressed with Gmail’s no-nonsense approach, and I felt happy to sign up with them.

Fast forward twenty years, and things have massively changed. People have begun to realise that – as the saying goes – if the price is free, then you are the product. More specifically, your data. All free services collect data, but Google collect a vast amount of data when you interact with their services. When I naively signed up for a free email service all those years ago, I never thought that I would effectively be signing away my right to keep my data private.

Quite apart from all this going on, it seems that over the last few years Google – along with Big Tech in general – have been becoming an instrument of the state. For example, Google have been known to censor search results, such as the Great Barrington Declaration. YouTube (owned by Google) have censored videos (including mine) which they deem ‘misinformation’. They have more recently been in trouble with their Gemini AI image generation.

Who’s to say that, at some point in the future, Google might start scanning your email messages to determine whether you’re some kind of extremist. I can well imagine governments asking Google to do this (and maybe they’ve done this already). Given the way that extremism has come to mean just about anything which dissents from the mainstream narrative, I don’t trust that I wouldn’t get flagged.

All of this has led me to question my usage of Google services. I moved my regular search engine to DuckDuckGo some time ago, but up until a few days ago all my email had come through Gmail. A few weeks ago I started investigating Proton Mail, and I decided to take the plunge and transfer my email there instead.

Moving to Proton Mail

I chose Proton Mail because I’ve seen several other people using Proton Mail addresses, but there are other privacy-oriented providers available. Proton Mail has the advantage that all your email is encrypted – not even they can read your email. This means that your email is kept private and cannot be scanned for the purposes of advertising (or any other purpose).

You can get a free account, but I have actually paid for an account as this gives you a bit more space. I much prefer this business model: now I am a paying customer, Proton are providing a product to me. I am not the product they are selling to advertisers! To be honest, it seems that this is a much better state of affairs than where we’ve ended up with “free”, advertising-supported email services.

Although I haven’t moved completely away from Google – I still use various of their services including YouTube – at least my email is now private. As it should be.

Getting in touch

My previous Gmail address does still work for the time being, but I have set it up to auto-forward messages to my new address. If you email me at my old address, when I reply it will come from my new address. If you’d like to update your address book anyway, my new address is phillsacre “at” proton “dot” me.


Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts

Get new posts by email