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I'll get down voted for saying this, but the HN crowd's hypocrisy is baffling.

1. Gmail is a channel that Google has under monetized for a decade. This is an opportunity for them to extract value from the said channel. If you're allergic to Google offering free services that use your data for advertising, go pay for email. Google isn't a charity and you aren't entitled to a Gmail of your choosing.

2. Apple is a prime example of successfully monetizing a "channel". They sell you hardware that apparently you own, but cannot run apps that haven't received Apple's blessing. Even their fucking charging port is proprietary (lighting) and to build an accessory compliant with iPhones, one has to pay an Apple tax of $7/unit that can easily be avoided with open standards such as uUSB. Never in the history of computing has your hardware required the manufacturer's blessing to run apps. Why do I mention this? Because an overwhelming majority of those foaming at the mouth at AMP are doing so on their iPhones and iPads - I hope the irony isn't lost on you folks.

3. If you find Apple's practices more abhorrent than AMP and consistently oppose both - congratulations, you're a minority whose reasoning isn't clouded by brand jingoism

4. If you called bullshit on Google because a) mobile pages can be fast(er) even without AMP and b) JavaScript was restricted within email for security, then your opposition to this proposal is the most accurate.


I'm not sure I understand your point. You're projecting a lot, there's more to the world of computers than Google and Apple.

At any rate you choose to buy into Apple ecosystem. A big email provider changing how email works is not the same thing. For the record I host my own email server and use mutt as my main email client. The only Apple device I own is an old pre-iphone iPod.

If Google changes the expectations of email users everywhere then it won't be long until you end up with a broken experience if you don't support AMP email out of the box. Exactly what happened with HTML email: it's not rare these days to receive a multipart/alternative email where the plain text version is simply "see HTML". If AMP mail becomes mainstream it'll be like this but worse. Soon you'll have an HTML page that will tell you to "see AMP content".

I don't know if it's completely on purpose but that's by the book "embrace, extend and extinguish" by Google there.

Falling into the 3-4 crowd myself I also agree with this. Changing emails - perhaps in an automatic fashion - to use AMP is going to do nothing but harm to anyone outside Google. Image inclusion the AMP way [1] alone will ruin HTML email for other services. If Google really wanted to improve emails they would push for full compliance HTML5 support. Because if emails could be built with grid layouts, content could be more semantic, you wouldn't need a plain text version, we'd use less mark up and save on server space and bandwidth.

[1] https://ampbyexample.com/components/amp-img/

Amazing. That link is solid white with JS disabled.

Why does Google routinely refuse to display text unless JS is enabled? Their developer blog does almost the same thing.

It works for me with JS disabled.

I think AMP is built on web components, which require JS.

I'm not seeing where you're demonstrating that Apple only affects people who "choose to buy into the Apple ecosystem" but gmail affects everybody.

I mean, there's truth to the idea that Google have more sway when it comes to trends on the internet, but when you say that a "a big email provider changing how email works", Apple could easily be the big email provider in that sentence

Because Apple owns its ecosystem. It owns iOS and the API apps use. It owns the app store.

Google doesn't own the email ecosystem. It's a decentralized system where thousands of actors exchange messages using standardized protocols. The last people who did what Google is doing were Microsoft. Remember winmail.dat? Remember the various hacks and options that litter open source mail clients and POP/IMAP servers to work around quirks and bugs in Outlook?

Just looking at my muttrc I find:

    # MS Outlook seems to like sending emails using cp1252 but setting the
    # charset to iso-8859-1
    charset-hook ^iso-8859-1$ cp1252
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Dovecot has a bunch of custom options as well. That's what happens when a major actor starts disrespecting the standards, out of ignorance, out of hubris or out of spite.

Between that and how Google seems to want to force Chrome down everybody's throat at all costs it really seems that somebody at Alphabet found an old Microsoft "howto" from the late 90's and decided that was a good plan.

>Apple could easily be the big email provider in that sentence

I don't understand, are you saying I shouldn't criticize Google for doing something because I don't criticize Apple for not doing it? Trust me if Apple ever pushes some custom "iMail" format I'll say the same thing.

I agree completely with your observation about Google EEE here.

Just wanted to say that you can read HTML emails in Mutt by having a browser, like Links2 or Lynx, do the formatting.


> At any rate you choose to buy into Apple ecosystem.

Yes and if I don't, too bad. I just can't iMessage the rest of my family who did.

Yesterday the HN discussion was about the terrible state of messaging and the roles many companies played in getting to where we are now.

Email works pretty well between multiple different providers or even your own server. How do plans that will “accidentally” take email closer to the current state of messaging help the internet work better?

What's stopping you from sending and receiving regular sms, mms messages to your iPhone using family? It's not like there is a separate app for iMessage and text messages.

Your SMS messages will even go to their iPads and Macs.

Another example of this was IE's non-standard page rendering standards years ago.

> 1. Gmail is a channel that Google has under monetized for a decade.

I disagree. Gmail brought Google millions of customers. It's all about the ecosystem that they are building, which helps them retain customers. If you use Gmail, than there is higher chance that you will use Google Drive than competition. Another example of this is Google Keep. There is no reason for them to have free notes app, other than making you use more Google products.

Exactly, this is platform economics 101. If you missed this then read: Parker, G. G., Van Alstyne, M. W., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You.

Gaining customers doesn't mean monetizing, and it's particularly relevant to point out that a channel is under monetized specifically when this channel has a lot of users.

I highly doubt that mandatory monetisation of every channel is a sound economic strategy.

EDIT: While not intentional, that was a bit flippant without extra arguments, my apologies. Also, this is more of a general "abstract" comment; Google operates in a real-world, concrete business context that it has to adapt to, and I am not burdened with knowing the details of that.

Google (the search engine), Gmail, and really almost everything in Google's ecosystem are essentially freemium apps since before the words "freemium" and "app" were coined, let alone combined.

You can use Google for free, but if you're trying to sell something you can use it's advertising.

You can use Gmail, and other the services the implicit Google account it gives, for free, but for the niche use cases there are things like Gmail business, or extra disk space on Google Drive once you run out of space to upload those big photos and videos from your phone, and so on.

What Google has expertly done is position itself as a public utility of the internet, despite being a private company. Whatever they are planning to do, I think that if they mess with that too much they risk a lot.

That is what I believe adamsvystun's point was: compared to most other monetisation options, ensuring that they keep this "public utility" position in the public eye is the most lucrative form of long-term monetisation for Google.

EDIT2: It gets worse the more I think about this: messing with email is especially risky, because email itself is tied very strongly to one's internet identity. It is the passport of the web. Think of all the "sign up/log in with" options: email is always the fallback option. So not messing that up is incredibly important to Google.

I don't quite buy into the public utility thing. Any Google product has competitors. The reason people use Google products is because Google advertises its new products on its products people already use massively. I don't think people actually see it as a public utility and are unaware of the competition. When you're in use-case A and suddenly you have a link from the same service to subscribe to use-case B, there's some effort required if you want to study the alternatives, and people prefer the easy way. Google crawls its way from one oligopoly to another this way.

No, the reason is someone at Google had the idea to make a notes app, then they use the data from that app to monetize.

Nice try but there is no logic between your points 1 and 2 to come to the third.

Apple sells hardware and is not a monopoly, so if their customers are happy with their choice then good for them.

On the other hand Google is a monopoly, so a lot of people are not ok with them abusing their position to hijack the web (that they already “own”) and email.

Edit: typo

Their search products are a monopoly, their email is not.

I provide paid email services for my clients, they can use Gmail if they want, or not. But for SEO, it's Google all the way down...

I’m not sure gmail meets the legal definition of a monopoly, but 3 months ago, gmail started to randomly mark some of my emails “spam”, and it has caused me non trivial financial damage, as it turns out about 90% of the people I correspond with are using google’s mail servers, whether @gmail.com or through g-suite.

Feels as monopolish as any other monopoly i’ve seen in technology.

I use Gmail at home but my job requires me to use Office 365. A non-trivial percentage of people I regularly correspond with are using whatever their ISP provided when they signed up.

I've been in your position so I understand your frustration, but what you're describing is not evidence of a monopoly.

People can still run their own email server if they want, and it will work just fine, and receive and deliver mail to other mail servers.

A monopoly situation would have some kind of limits enforced, correct?

I have dealt with spam issues with Gmail and solved them all. I send HTML formatted email to many Gmail accounts. I suspect you have not setup SPF, DKIM or are blacklisted on spam lists. Or if you've done all this, possibly the formats for your emails is suspect. Either way, it's solvable. At the very least, your clients could white list your domain.

Edit: I am not saying it's pleasant, but it's hardly monopolistic behavior...

> A monopoly situation would have some kind of limits enforced, correct?

No. A monopoly simply means market domination. It can arise naturally, as has been the case for Google in search in the past.

Microsoft had a monopoly on operating systems without "enforced limits".

The specific legal tests often require e.g. "over 80% of relevant market" by some measures - and I'm not sure Google mail qualifies as a monopoly under this definition.

p.s. having a monopoly isn't even illegal - abusing a monopoly position is. It feels to me that Google is, in many ways, abusing its dominant, perhaps monopoly, position in mail handling.

> People can still run their own email server if they want, and it will work just fine,...

> I suspect you have not setup SPF, DKIM or are blacklisted on spam lists. Or if you've done all this, possibly the formats for your emails is suspect.

In what sense is this "work[ing] just fine?" "Sorry, we threw away your mail for some random reason, and we won't tell you about it" seems like poor service.

>"Sorry, we threw away your mail for some random reason, and we won't tell you about it" seems like poor service.

I did testing and found it was not random. Also, maybe my experience running SpamAssassin in the past helped me. Look up how SpamAssassin filters emails and it may help you with your problem.

There's nothing stopping end users from using non-Google search engine.

Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo... they're all viable products that you can use to accomplish 90ish% of what Google could find, and maybe even more now that Google strips historical data (see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16153840, from a month ago).

Since you're mentioning SEO, I just checked and 15.8% of searches for my website came from non-Google search engines in the last month (in my case, Yandex and DDG are the most popular ones). Bing is also taking a huge chunk of the traffic thanks to Windows 10 using it in the start menu, whether you like it or not. And while one example isn't viable enough to make general statements, it's clear that alternatives do exist and are used extensively.

It's a product that's superior when compared to its competitors. It's not a monopoly though.

> There's nothing stopping end users from using non-Google search engine.

Just so everyone's clear, monopoly doesn't mean (nearly) 100% market share; it means a large enough market share to be able to manipulate the market.

So, to elaborate on your first point, I think you're saying that the ease of switching search engines means that a market share necessary to manipulate the search market would be near 100%, much higher than Google has. Am I reading you correctly?

Do you have an economic or legal reference for that definition of "monopoly"?

Since search engines are all free to use, many of the criteria of a monopoly seem hard to apply, but the classic defintions I'm familiar with include things such as "no reasonable substitute" which is not the case for Google Search.

Courts do not require a literal monopoly before applying rules for single firm conduct; that term is used as shorthand for a firm with significant and durable market power — that is, the long term ability to raise price or exclude competitors. That is how that term is used here: a "monopolist" is a firm with significant and durable market power.


From wikipedia The lowest yet market share of a company considered "dominant" in the EU was 39.7%

Google is dominate for sure.

Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo are not a list of competitors. Yahoo is based on Bing & Google¹. DDG uses a lot of sources, but I believe the bulk of results come from Yahoo and Bing.

I agree there are options, but they are Bing and Yandex. The others are just mashups.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Search

Something can be a monopoly in market, but not in another.

Google isn't a monopoly for users, it's a monopoly for developers. You can't get users without being on Google.

Only if I can replace one company with another, at roughly equal results, can the market be considered competitive.

I can't delist my site on Google and replace those users with Bing users.

If each search engine had only 5% or 10% of the market, though, I could. And I might. That's what a competitive market looks like.

Google is, from that perspective, a monopoly.

You're describing a monopsony, not a monopoly.

And while Google has monopsonic power, it isn't the sole player in the market so it's not a true monopsony. Facebook, Twitter, and other channels have control as well. If you still disagree, look at how widespread Facebook's open graph standards are as proof of the market catering to these companies' purchasing power.

Or just look at the header on the article: https://i.imgur.com/XlGgTaw.png

I would tend to agree, but not their email. That's easily replaced.

Is it? Can you simply avoid emailing GMail users and continue?

Not really.

And yet, thanks to their broken spam filters, you may have to.

Google's market is advertising. If you want to advertise in search, you do not have the freedom to avoid Google and just spend all your money with Bing.

Their email _is_ dominant enough to be considered a monopoly.

Simply because if they start pushing some format, everyone must go along with them. Your private server can afford to not be inter operable with Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, but not Google.

And you can rest assured that email you send, anywhere, will eventually be forwarded to someone on a Google server. If not directly, than via Google Apps.

But in literal terms as well: It happens all the time that I ask for someone's email, and they respond with the username and assume the "@gmail.com".

If by Microsoft you mean Exchange server, not being compatible will be a literal deal breaker in doing business.

An awful lot of big players won’t host their email on someone else’s service, so gmail is just not an option. If you deal with any business using primarily windows, there will also be a huge probability it’s running a Microsoft stack in full, from account management, email to file hosting.

"Your private server can afford to not be inter operable with Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, but not Google"

Seems we are not living on the same planet.

What do they do from an SMTP point of view that's different to the usual/RFCs?

> Your private server can afford to not be inter operable with Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, but not Google.

Citation needed. This is the opposite of much of the world of work, where emails often both originate and terminate in Exchange Servers, not touching gmail servers.

Don't be ridiculous, Google is a platform company. Any service they create contributes to the same platform. Hence, if search is a monopoly so is the rest of the services.

More important:

1. You knew the trade-off when you purchased an Apple device.

2. This is an unexpected change on a service your digital identity is tied to.

That's why the equivalence the OP is making here is absurd.

It’s not like people have been warning about (2) years ago, pointing out that tying your digital identity to a free service provider puts you at the mercy of its decision making. If people at least used their own domain and forwarded mail to gmail, the fallout would be limited. But alas, people don’t.

Nice try, but there's no logic to choosing restrictive technologies under the guise of the manufacturer not being a monopoly (which is debatable if the segment under consideration is "phones greater than $500").

Shooting heroin is a choice, but it isn't wise, just as choosing to institute the manufacturer as an app gatekeeper, nay UNIVERSAL overlord of the hardware, software, services & content - something unprecedented in history.

And you're making me defend Google though I do not want to, but for accuracy's sake, they are neither a monopoly in email nor are they forcing other providers to choose AMP within their email. Just download all your Gmail data via IMAP and siphon it off to Apple's email client/server. And pray hard that Apple will CHOOSE to let you read emails tjhat weren't originally received/sent via their server/hardware/asshole

> I'll get down voted for saying this

No, you'll get down voted for the way you are saying it. There's a difference, and it's an important one.


It's not wrong that AMP is a terrible thing in a pretty package.

While the idea of having standards for mobile and slow connection might be a noble one, forcing everyone into it by using mobile search results as ransom is an evil practice.

Especially since it's a google run, if it was set up as a non profit foundation with people on the board from different major players as a collaborative project then, yes It might be different.

And I don't disagree with that. I think the view that drives AMP is misguided and self-serving for Google.

I do, however, like to come to HN because it tends to be a very civil space in which to share opinions, not a vehicle for attention seekers to spout whatever false equivalences their brain just come up with.

As far as I'm concerned everyone here is entitled to their opinion and I have never seen anyone's voice silenced in this forum. But when you start a message with "I know I'm going to get down voted but..." you are hedging on the value of your own opinion. You know it's unpopular but at the same time you are so concerned with the public validation of it that need to present yourself as a victim and the rest of us as some kind of oppressors.

Saying something unpopular in most cases shouldn't get you downvoted, but often "I know I'm going to get down voted but..." also is a lead in to complaints of hypocrisy. It reminds me of a friend that used to start off particularly rude statements by saying "I don't want to be rude but..."

> It reminds me of a friend that used to start off particularly rude statements by saying "I don't want to be rude but..."

I don't see the contradiction here.

I interpret these kind of phrases as: "I don't like to be rude, and normally I'm not, but in this case I need to make an exception."

Frankly, not everybody actually meant to say that, but this interpretation still helps to deal with those situations in a civil, non-escalating way.

I suppose, although the normally I'm not would mean not hearing it so often that it becomes a well-known identifying personal tic.

I challenge you to make a positive comment towards AMP on Hacker News without getting downvoted.

Sometimes it really is the content.

Oddly, I was seeing the opposite. General criticism seems to get downed quickly. Often with no dialogue.

> No, you'll get down voted for the way you are saying it. There's a difference, and it's an important one.

Voting for the shape instead of the content is superficial.

No, it's essential discussion quality management. Doesn't matter how good your argument is if you're so rude/condescending/etc that no one can engage with your point.

You're making a lot of assumptions about your readers here, and you're doing so in a style that's not going to convince those for whom those assumptions hold...

I'd just like to point out here that Fastmail is a great alternative to Gmail, one I like much better and regret not switching to it sooner. If you have your own domain, migration is as easy as importing your email and changing a few MX records, and it costs $3/mo for the largish package if you prepay.

The thing that's missing here is the email _client_ story. I really like Google's Inbox and there's no amount of money I can pay anyone else for a similar experience.

Honest question: do you think you really like it or are you really used to it?

When Google made the move to Inbox, I switched because I wanted to be using their newest interface. Over time I came to absolutely hate it and that drove me away from Gmail.

My wife still uses it so I occasionally find myself in the Inbox app on our tablet. Just a few days ago, actually, I read something in her inbox and for the life of me I could not figure out to mark it as unread from the inbox list. Maybe I was just missing something obvious, but it was very frustrating to not have such a simple action easily available.

I find it surprising that my search seems more comprehensive and faster in mutt than by the king-of-search's very own.

Yeah, I use notmuch in emacs for my mail, and searching is way better than in gmail.

Gmail's interface is very limiting, actually. It's pretty good for a web app, and probably better than Outlook/Exchange, but when the competition is so poor it's easy to seem good.

> do you think you really like it or are you really used to it?

Chiming in with a "both" - I tried switching away from Inbox for a bit but I love me them bundles. I don't want to switch between a bunch of folders, I just want mail in those folders to appear grouped in my inbox

Edit: and Snooze. I don't think I'll ever like using a client that can't snooze an email anymore

I'm someone who definitely dislikes it but I'm too used to it. The automatic categorization is so useful that I feel like I can't be without it.

Yes I really like Inbox.

It works really well as a 'TODO' list for email, plus with niceties for travel and what not.

I really like how Inbox encourages getting to "inbox zero" (and maintaining it). It makes it very easy to archive things, snoozing emails for later is great, and reminders allow to add some short todos to the inbox where they are less likely to be missed.

I thought the same, until I actually made the switch. Mileage varies of course, but in my case it turns out I don't miss any features at all. Ever since email clients started to look more like todo apps I've hunted for the perfect client, but turns out I didn't need much more than a simple client and some flags. It also helps that FastMail makes email aliases super easy, so I have many different emails going to the same inbox, allowing for super fast and easy filtering.

Oh god yes. I have a few aliases and gmail was terrible with them. Fastmail is perfect.

I have lots of aliases. Anytime I sign up to anything, create an account on a site or otherwise hand out an email address it'll most likely be an alias. My pattern is basically <top-level domain>@<catch-all inbox>.<mydomain> and this lets me ban an alias quickly if I find it's being misused (i.e. sold or leaked to a third party.) No need to deal with dodgy unsubscribe methods that probably doesn't work any way, that alias is just dead now.

FastMail does this incredibly easy since you can set up an inbox to allow any alias, so you don't have to create them up front. I just type it in and whenever an email comes in it'll be routed properly. Gmail has this too I believe, but only with the + syntax (e.g. myalias+account@gmail.com) but unfortunately too many places have broken email validation routines that doesn't know how to deal with + signs.

Not only that, but Fastmail has native support for this. You can do alias@user.yourdomain.com or user@alias.yourdomain.com and it will be routed to user@yourdomain.com. Domain-wide, no-fuss spam protection.

> If you're allergic to Google offering free services that use your data for advertising, go pay for email.

... and don't ever write emails to anyone who uses GMail. And tell all your friends who use GMail they shouldn't write emails to you.

I use Fastmail and I can communicate with everyone just fine. I simply had to follow their instructions for setting up my domain. Without that configuration, near every email provider will reject your mail - for good reason.

"you're allergic to Google offering free services that use your data for advertising, go pay for email"

Yes, email is such an important tool that it would make sense for all of us to pay for it. That said, the big internet companies trained millions of users to expect everything for free on the internet (intentionally or not). Many people seriously think "if it is on the internet, it should be free - I am paying for my internet connection, aren't I?". If you don't believe me, try talking to a non-HN, non-tech-savvy person about it.

The fault is on these companies as much as the users. It would take a big change in mindset to make non-advertising models work in consumer world

Indeed. If I try to offer non-gmail email options to people, even here on HN, people will go “Oh. But they cost money”, as if that’s something deeply unnatural.

Me, I’m happy to pay, because it means that I know I’m a customer, not a product.

This probably isn't so true for the pay email services, but I just wanted to note that these two things are by no means mutually exclusive. Plenty of services are more than happy to take your money and "make you the product." It's so easy to do on the web, few can resist.

For me, I confess paying for it has the risk of it being held hostage if I miss payments. Worse, my data can turn into leverage for increases price.

Which is why you should always choose a service which offers full access via standards-based protocols so that you always have the option of owning your own data.

And why I regularly download backups of my email from Fastmail.

The only concern I have with them raising prices or disappearing entirely is the service interruption of moving my DNS to some other email provider.

I'm assuming bitrot of your backups is also a concern. Or do you have a suggestion on automating integrity checks of your data?

Completely agreed. You should also not turn yourself into a hoarder of data just because you can. :)

> 1. Gmail is a channel that Google has under monetized for a decade. This is an opportunity for them to extract value from the said channel. If you're allergic to Google offering free services that use your data for advertising, go pay for email. Google isn't a charity and you aren't entitled to a Gmail of your choosing.

This is part of the reason for why I've always used a vanity domain for e-mail that uses Gmail as a backend. I've used Gmail since beta invites were scarse, but there are a variety of reasons for why I won't trust any given e-mail provider permanently. The fact that most of them are free is just one, albeit an important one.

I'm sure Google could monetise Gmail more than they have, but I've always thought the real business success of Gmail was sharing its login with google.com and moving Google to a position where many searches are done with a personal identity that they can track anywhere. It seems before Gmail there wouldn't be much reason to actually log in to Google, and having users logged in makes their product better and I'm guessing gets them way better data.

I think that Youtube was more successful in that space (for regular people at least). I base this entirely on the fact that around the time of G+, the redirect urls for all Google products started going to YT, which I took to mean that YT had a much broader cookie pool.

FWIW, I agree entirely with your point, but I think Youtube is the secret sauce that makes it work.

Is there a way to keep my.name@gmail.com but moving to another provider?

I'm quite a bit uneasy with Google lately but it's not feasible for me to move to another e-mail provider because my user account on many other websites is tied to my Gmail account and not all websites support e-mail changing.

At this point, I would argue that Gmail reached a public infrastructure status and it's not acceptable of Google to take actions without public consent.

It is perfectly acceptable if Google decides to charge for de services as it will happen with any public infrastructure that has running costs but it's not acceptable for Google to force people into situations or engineer their behavior just because provides the service free of charge.

For example, in my country, the electricity is generated by private for-profit corporations. However it would not be acceptable if these corporations start changing the voltage of the frequency of the electricity and force people to use devices designed specifically for that electricity network.

I don't remember Google forcing me into using Gmail but I also don't remember anyone forcing Google to provide an e-mail service. They did a great job, it revolutionized e-mail but they did it to compete with Microsoft and Yahoo, thus for profit(back in the day everyone was using Hotmail or Yahoo).

> Is there a way to keep my.name@gmail.com but moving to another provider?

Yes and no. GMail does support IMAP access (Go here to enable it: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#settings/fwdandpop). IMAP is a standard that allows you to access an inbox remotely.

OTOH, as long as you are using @gmail.com in your address, you are at their mercy. Go to https://www.gandi.net and purchase a domain name, it'll cost you <$10/year and you will own it. Make it nice and professional (yourlastname.net for example). firstname@yourlastname.net is the sort of email address you'll own your entire life.

FastMail is a paid alternative to gmail which people consistently recommend here. I am happy with GSuite personally as I really like the GMail interface, but you can look here if you want an alternative: https://www.fastmail.com/ (~$5/month plan for custom domain)

GSuite is the paid version of Google's services (~$5/month); as you said, it is perfectly fine for Google to charge for services. And as it happens, you can use your own domain on GSuite, so you could use your new email there. https://gsuite.google.com/together/

PS: If anyone is having trouble and needs help setting this up, shoot me an email (profile).

I like Gmail a lot, my problem is with the lock-in due to the domain.

I don't really want to move to some other service - what I want is the assurance that Google is not going to do something funny with my account or service and unfortunately if they do I will have no recourse.

When I got my Gmail account in 2004 Google was this amazing website that will give away free services and their motto was "Don't Be Evil", at least that was my impression. I still like most of their services, just don't like the "free" deals anymore.

It takes time to solve the lock-in, but it's worth it. I started switching to my own domain 18 months before I jumped to FastMail. First my new email address forwarded to Gmail, and I just switched which email was on each account as I used it. When I switched to FastMail and repointed my email there, most new email came with it, and then I'd keep an eye on Gmail to see what still came there, so I knew what I needed to change.

I've been switched for over a year now, and I check Gmail once every couple weeks now, instead of daily, like I did when I first switched. (I also have a Gmail vacation responder set up to automatically email literally anyone who emails it to tell them I don't check it often and what my new address is.) Yes, I'll probably keep the address forever, but it certainly isn't used much anymore.

Ironically, I had issues with my Gmail address long before I wanted to change providers: My main Google account address has my old last name, and Google's archaic infrastructure[1] for identity provides no way to change it. I had a newer Gmail address forwarding mail to it, because I didn't have a way to move all of my purchases like Android apps and the like, over to my new address' account.

[1]Microsoft has no issue with your account having multiple Microsoft-owned and/or third party email addresses and letting you change the primary one. There's some wonkiness with different services not recognizing your primary email has changed, but largely speaking, this is manageable. I have the same Microsoft account as I had years ago, everything carried over, but now identified by my current email address.

If you have no issue with Google's services other than wanting the assurance that you can get support and are treated like a paying customer, I recommend GSuite. Although I'll (hypocritically, since I don't use it) still recommend Fastmail anyway since I think GMail needs way more competition. I'll let actual fastmail users convince you there :)

I think at some point I will give Fastmail a try, thanks :)

And Gmail needs more competition than just FastMail - so make sure to look at RunBox and Zoho. I pay for both and both are excellent services, having switched from FastMail after their huge pricing shift a couple years ago.

Zoho's webmail is currently much better than RunBox but the latter is undergoing a beta test of a new modern interface.

I've used Gandi for years, but only migrated to FastMail fully about two years ago I think. The migration was painless, much more so than I expected, thanks to the integrated support for migration. It's a great setup, can't think of a single instance where I've had an issue with it. It just works.

The only thing really bothering me is that you can't seem to set a default email app in iOS so mailto: links won't open the FastMail client. This is a super annoying client issue, but the service works incredibly well, no complaints here.

N.B. I have no affiliation with FastMail or Gandi whatsoever, just a very happy customer.

I love Gmail's UI but years ago I realized that I couldn't trust my online identity to a single entity.

What I did was to sign up for Fastmail with my own custom domain and forward stuff to my @gmail.com address. This way I continue using Gmail but with my own domain.

I could do this with GSuite (and in fact I did for a couple of years) but GSuite accounts often have limitations compared to regular Gmail accounts and I didn't want to deal with that.

What kinds of limitations?

I'm assuming robteix is referring to various features which are first pushed to regular Google accounts before GSuite accounts.

Google has been a lot better about this lately, but it still happens.

AWS WorkMail is also a good alternative, I'm looking into that now that I have a domain name I can consider "home".

> Is there a way to keep my.name@gmail.com but moving to another provider?

Yes, forward them to your new email, preferably using your own domain name. Start giving out your new email to people, reply to your gmail email from your new email. It takes time but after a few years you can ditch the gmail completely.

That is not entirely true though, is it? The forwarded e-mails won't become non-Gmail over time and I will still be dependant on Google to forward the e-mails to me.

Somewhat. You have to remember to notice and tell everybody who sends to the gmail address to change. Some mail programs make this easy for your friends some do not. Over a few years people update their address book, and eventually almost nothing goes to gmail anymore.

Late last year I moved from gmail to fastmail + custom domain. Fastmail's migration tools made moving my messages extremely easy. Changing my email address on the various sites I use was a bit tedious, but I never once found a site that didn't allow it to be changed.

> I'll get down voted for saying this, but the HN crowd's hypocrisy is baffling.

I did not know we were a uniform, homogeneous crowd...

Apple can lock down their devices however they damn please. No matter how much they lock it down, it will not directly affect the majority of people, who use Android. If Apple made everyone use Apple News, only a minority of people will be inconvenienced. (Incidentally, the MFi program has nothing to do with this.)

But _publishers_ are pressured to support AMP because Google, the most popular search engine by far, prioritizes AMP results. If they do anything with AMP they can likely have their way. And the same will likely apply for email.

This comment is quite judgmental. I’m wondering how it’s the top comment

First rule of comments on HN, you don’t talk about downvotes.

> 3. If you find Apple's practices more abhorrent than AMP and consistently oppose both - congratulations, you're a minority whose reasoning isn't clouded by brand jingoism

Yay! I won something on the internet today!

1. I do pay for email, just recently renewed my 2 year plan on fastmail. But I still do have a gmail account since I used to be heavy Google user until they started to be bad. I am still trying to move away from Google services all along, but it quite hard. The only thing I can't move away from is Youtube because there is no alternatives that has the content.

2. I use an iPhone, but it's only because I believe that Apple respects my privacy more than Google does with Android. I don't really like using an Apple device, because some of the reasons you mentioned. But I value my privacy over those things.

3. I consistenly opposes both and I really hope that I am not in the minority.

4. Yes. Thank you.

> If you're allergic to Google offering free services that use your data for advertising, go pay for email. Google isn't a charity and you aren't entitled to a Gmail of your choosing.

The problem is that Gmail is the most prominent e-mail provider and at the same time they make it difficult for other e-mail providers to operate, especially small ones. Gmail's spam detection is totally opaque and you can't do much if your mail lands in junk folder. For this single reason Google is no longer in a position when you can cut them some slack for anything related to Gmail.

I have one point of contention: Google is already monetizing Gmail with Gsuite. Gmail is to Gsuite as Fedora is to RHEL. It's a public testbed where they try out new ideas before moving them into LTS.

Regardless, many of the disagreements with you seem to have stopped reading at (2). I am completely aware of the irony of my using Google devices while simultaneously criticizing them for their shitty practices. If you were to point that out to me I'd agree with you. Pointing that out to me isn't a personal attack, it's a statement of the facts of human nature: we are all hypocrites.

I can honestly see why AMP is a clever idea from a technical standpoint. Heck, if Google made the switch while keeping the same look and feel (minus the dynamic content), I doubt most people would notice beyond "Gmail somehow got faster."

> If you're allergic to Google offering free services that use your data for advertising

Just as a reminder for everyone (and I appreciate that the parent comment does not directly claim that this is the case), Google claims not scan or read your emails in Gmail to show you ads, nor to sell your information to advertisers.

Source: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6603?hl=en

Just thought I'd point that out before the FUD/tin-foil kicks in too much :)

Also a reminder, Google has lied about this in the past. E.g. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/3/23/alumni-lawsuit-a... .

That being said, I think it's probably true that they've stopped doing so.

Your argument boil some down to ‘its Google's platform, they can do with the want with it’.

Which is true. It's equally true that people can point out if changes Google make are problematic for users.

No hypocrisy required.

Never in the history of computing has your hardware required the manufacturer's blessing to run apps.

Except for every game console that has existed since the early 80s.


c) without amp sites work with no misbehaving header bar that they cannot fix. Every time I scroll down it pops up. If you have an iphone, you know how safari header behaves and it is convenient/usual. This damned amp plate only allows you to scroll down and close. Note: I’m not talking about “tap clock to scrool to top” here. If you don’t understand these UX details, well, don’t blame then.

I’m pretty okay with google substituting ssl/dns/content even for their cash flow, I don’t care until they turn my browser into common-standards web crap. It turns safari into chrome, which I tested on an expensive sony sevice and couldn’t stand any more than two days.

Edit: I know that my “don’t care” is not popular among hn users, but it resembles regular non-tech folks thinking — amp is that thing on some sites that annoys you when you scroll and share links. 98% of us really don’t care and notice inconvenience only.

AMP header breaks even Chrome UX for me.

It somehow ends hiding the address bar and replacing it with the AMP one once I've started to scroll down, and the only solution is to scroll all the way to the top again.

I have the address bar set to never hide, which makes this even more annoting.

I would think that Google uses your Gmail to build your profile and to serve better ads to you. There is nothing more personal than your private email, so having access to your private things is a gold mine for their ad business.

What a tremendously unconstructive post.

>I'll get down voted for saying this

Well don't mind if I do. (read the guidelines friend, this kind of crap is specifically frowned upon).

> Google isn't a charity and you aren't entitled to a Gmail of your choosing.

This is a pet peeve of mine. What does this mean? That you can't force to charge their ways? Yeah, maybe you can't. Doesn't mean you're not allowed to make criticism? If course not. The argument "they're a private company therefore they do what they please" is a facile but invalid way to shut down criticism.

>You can't complain about Google because Apple does other unrelated bad stuff.

Well and you can't complain about Apple because Monsanto does even worse stuff and I don't see you mentioning then. Classic whataboutism.

In other words, if you really wanted to do constructive criticism you would have (1) presented your arguments clearly instead of playing the victim in your very first sentence, and (2) you would have limited yourself to the facts of the matter and not to external stuff (which you only kinda did in your 4th point).

> Gmail is a channel that Google has under monetized for a decade

Not because they're all nice and charitable.

But because Google sometimes sucks at monetizing things.

They already make a profit without AMP in Gmail.

I have had a corporate Gmail in the past, and will probably get it again for a new company. is it going to be AMPed?

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