Can anyone on HN suggest a online service that protects my privacy, has IMAP support and is preferably free?
In addition is it possible to delete most of the data Google currently ties to my profile?
Any mail host carries the risk of a privacy breach, either accidental, such as a hacker attack, less so, such as selling the service to someone who cares less or completely on purpose - simply turning around and selling your data.
All of these scenarios are vastly less likely to happen for Google in my risk analysis.
Many people seem to have a problem with the outcome of the process being ad revenue rather than spam suppression, I emphatically do not share that concern.
> But still, I don't completely buy the notion that as long as Google doesn't resell my data to some "unscrupulous" marketer they are respecting my privacy. If at some point in the future they buy-in to Zuckerbergs "everyone should be open about everything" philosophy
My argument centres around the fact that they already have a very profitable business model based on this data and thus they are unlikely to "pull a Facebook".
If they start changing direction on the business model, chances are that it will be foreshadowed some time in advance, and luckily it's downright trivial to switch mail providers as opposed to "switching" away from Facebook.
Yes, but on the other hand, that only prevents them from getting any new emails; they still have all your emails up to the moment you decide to change.
The best way for Google to know a lot about me is for them to not give me any good reason not to let them track me, scan my email etc. Any meaningful breach of privacy will erode that faith. Regular ads don't have that faith (an adblocker is invariably the plugin I install), Facebook don't have it (Facebook disconnect is the second one). Google can very easily be added to that list.
Also, Google is large enough and public enough that any significant erosion of privacy will trigger public intervention. A kind of "too big to fail".
The question is, does this undeniable loss of privacy matter and can we know how great that loss will eventually be? I think it does matter, partly because we cannot know or control the extent of the loss and we cannot easily take it back (if at all).
There's also a great security risk if so much sensitive information is stored in one place. Google is certainly more competent than I am in securing their database. But the incentive for someone to steal it from them is orders of magnitude greater as well.
I have also installed tiny tiny rss (because I used Google Reader) on a server. I also installed Coppermine to host photos. So far, I am very pleased with my shift away from Google. I also try to use duckduckgo and scroogle as much as possible. I will say that I believe Google does have the best search engine. Google search has been the hardest habit to break. Perhaps there is another search engine that respects its users privacy?
I worry about OAuth. I think we should battle to end OAuth - forcing users to be part of a social network/service to use their service is a horrible practice.
Remember, if you aren't paying, you're not a customer, you're the product.
I use Hacker News without (as far as I know) being their product.
I pay for Cable TV and yet I'm still their product.
It's not as clean-cut as that; you need to read the small letters and always use caution, paid service or not.
Your HN usernames are required on the YCombinator app forms. There is a good chance that they will go through your comment history to get a feel of your personality. I would think that this figures in their "buying" process (they are buying a part of your company after all). If you look at it like that, you are the product.
Of course if you support a site, you'll be happy to help promote it. But what happens when you change your opinion on a matter that becomes important/illegal in the public eye, without the option to remove your now-offending content? Or if you plain just want to stop supporting a site? If people are guarded when making comments because of this risk, is the free service improved or worsened?
Email, picture or opinion, make no bones about it - our content is always product in some way. Content lock-in should rarely be tolerated. I'm surprised it is here, TBH. I happen to greatly appreciate this community, but I in no way agreed to give ownership of my thoughts in return for the right to interact. I'd rather pay with a content export/removal option than hand over the sum total of what little wisdom I have.
Many are just coming to the realization that they are the product. Hopefully people will care and the established model will implode.
Using OAuth as a authentication solution is the dangerous part; personally, I won't sign up for anything that doesn't provide either email/password or OpenID as an alternative, but I don't see what else can one do to "battle" that.
"When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content." -- http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/
"We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users".
Develop new services sounds pretty open ended to me.
We offer our consumer edition free-of-cost and ad-free and we intend to continue this indefinitely, and we charge only business customers. This is the same policy we follow with our Office suite as well - whatever we offer free, we offer it ad-free.
While I'm very sympathetic to your business model, it's still a loss-leader for your business offering. Can you guarantee that you will never attempt to monetize this (probably) huge and growing dataset? Tomorrow, next year, and (especially) after a private equity manager starts waving cheques with many zeros on them in under your nose?
I've used (and continue to use) Fastmail for many years behind a personal domain.
To call Fastmail reliable is a bit of a laugh. They've had at least three severe outages in my time there (we're talking 24+ hours without mail access). To their credit, nothing was lost in the end, however I was fuming by the end of the last one and determined to switch to Gmail. However inertia has kept me from doing so -- last time I checked it was tricky in Gmail to import a complicated set of folders like I have and retain the structure, so it's always been something I plan to get around to once I have time. Yeah right.
FWIW, I don't think there's been a significant outage since the Opera purchase. And I'm quite pleased with what I've seen of FM's beta interface.
Google has the Migration for Microsoft Exchange tool, which does IMAP sync with any normal IMAP server. The tool is Windows-only, they used to have a web-based version but they discontinued it (WTF Google?!). It requires 2-legged OAuth, which requires Google Apps for Business. But Google Apps for Business has a free trial with no billing info required. So what I do is sign up for Google Apps Free, upgrade to Business, do the migration, and downgrade to Free.
If your mail in stored in a mail client (POP3-style), you can add Google Apps IMAP to your mail client, and drag and drop your folders/mail from the old account to Google IMAP. Be sure to hold down the Ctrl key (or whatever) to copy not move. This method also works if you are going to normal Gmail.
There is also imapsync, a Perl command line tool, and a few other tools that do things like Maildir to IMAP sync.
I did it through a client (mail.app), synching with IMAP. It worked flawlessly.
I think any way you look at it, there is a basic compromise you make with Gmail: either Google holding all of your info, or someone being able to hack into your account due to security vulnerabilities. Also, not to mention the tools and email filters Google provides.
If you are looking for Gmail replacement definitely try out fastmail.fm
I personally don't see how targeted advertising is any more intrusive than spam filtering. Sophisticated spam filters scan for keywords and classify words based which emails you read and reply to, emails from contacts whose emails you read and reply to, etc.
It's all automated in either case. Nobody at Google is reading your mail.
Encrypt your email if you want privacy. For even better privacy, don't use email at all (encrypted or not the headers need to be in the clear).
Encrypting your incoming email fixes that particular problem. It's still not as good as getting others to use PGP, but on the other hand, it doesn't require getting others to use PGP ;)
Here's a demo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOpCmUXLmTA
Note: This is _not_ the same thing as Hotmail.
It's $5/mo (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/compare-plans.aspx). If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that you get:
* No ads
* 24/7 phone support
* Uptime SLA
* Proper mobile support (everything supports Exchange w/ proper syncing, push email, device wipe, searching the server, etc better than IMAP)
* Calendaring and other Exchange features
* Great webmail (I like the latest version of OWA a lot)
* Custom domain support
Google Apps for Business gets you all the features of P1 and E1, for $50/year ($4.17/month), or $5/month if you pay monthly. And Google Apps Free gets you most of the features at $0/month.
Also, Office 365 has silly User Agent checking, they don't support any Linux or Chrome on Mac, even though they support Firefox and Chrome on Windows and Firefox on Mac . My understanding is if you change the User-Agent string it works in Linux.
Silly pricing, silly compatibility restrictions, less features at a higher cost than Google Apps. I'm not getting the appeal.
(This is just a general hint - not against Microsoft. I don't know how they do their job.)
The "Gmail man" ad:
I have greylisting and MailScanner to cover spam. filtering. Personally I use spamd on my OpenBSD firewall for greylisting, but have used a Postfix greylisting setup in a corporate environment. MailScanner combines SpamAssassin and Anti-Virus scanning of your mail before delivery. I rarely get spam.
Making sure not to run an open relay isn't all that hard, it's even easier if you use a webmail interface outside your own network.
Learning how to run a small mail server isn't hard. Yes a little up front research is mostly all it takes. My mail server runs mainly hands off. A little up front cost in time saved a recurring monthly cost.
1 - http://flurdy.com/docs/postfix/index.html
2 - http://www.mail-toaster.org/
My employer uses Exchange (for some reason still running Exchange 2003!!!) and I have always struggled getting mail clients to play properly with exchange. I have finally given up and am running Outlook virtually.
However if I must, I will.
But if your government forces Google to make a wiretap interface for them, they have no choice.
Either way they are in the hands of the government.
True, I could move just migrate the email, contact list, and calendar somewhere else. But then I would have two contact lists that need to be synchronized between my new provider and Google Docs and forward any notifications from Gmail.
Then I realized just how much I rely on Google's email search. Finding an email within tens of thousands is instant on Gmail. It is nearly impossible with anyone else.
In the end, I abandoned trying to move away from Gmail / Google Apps. After all, there is nothing stopping the admin of any email system from casually reading inboxes or being forced to turn over data to a government authority. And Google does have some history of fighting back for information requests, where I can see much smaller providers folding under pressure more quickly due to limited resources.
And the argument against self hosting has been repeated here already, but the risk of loss of service is far, far the worst thing to happen for email. If you don't care if your email becomes undeliverable for hours or days at a time, you really don't need to be paranoid about email.
In the dashboard all the options are down the bottom to delete all your info etc.
You can just setup your account in for example OSX Mail, after synchronizing your messages will be in ~/Library/Mail (albeit not in a really nice folder structure like pure mbox or maildir, but you should be able to convert them without much hassle). Or you could use offlineimap (http://www.offlineimap.org), which gives you an IMAP dump/backup of your messages (in maildir format if I'm not mistaken). That said, the possibilities of getting your mail from IMAP are almost endless, just choose whatever suits you.
Btw, keeping 20000 mails just about anywhere might be convenient, but I really wonder what for (to clarify, I have maybe 300 mails right now on my own server and I regularly dump old stuff, while dumping for example registration mails right away due to security reasons)?
I'll give offlineimap.org a look..
To answer your other question, I have 20k emails because Gmail doesn't delete by default, so I just archive as I go..
I'm a zero-inbox type so I use labels and searching a lot. Those 20k emails are surprisingly well organized..
I'm currently trying to do this as well and the only viable solution sounds self-hosted email. I tried a bit with hushmail and Tor (also look at hushmail's Diceware for password encryption) but it has a tight limit of 25MB for free accounts.
Zohomail is an interesting alternative. They say that they do not sell ads because they are a profitable subscription-based service. Email is free for personal use, has good IMAP support and a decent webmail interface. You can also use your own domain for free. The only problem I've found with them is that the email filtering is limited to a few common fields (e.g. no specific headers).
Lavabit seems quite interesting.
Anyone going to write a Gmail clone for installation on your own servers finally? I would pay quite a bit for that.
Already presented my disclaimer: I have been working with Gmail since it's inception. Before that I used all kinds of different clients; all not very nice. The best I used was mutt by far. But that pre-gmail ;) I'm talking about the client, not about Google as cloud mail storage provider, although I really don't think they are evil yet as people seem to think.
So this is more a shootout than a face value comparison, although most points, I believe, would annoy me as well without the gmail comparison.
Biggest: speed. Basically that's my biggest issue. ZOHO is slow. Very slow. This is not only the mail app, this is everything (the project management app makes me bang my head against the wall every week I have to enter hours as it takes... yep, hours...). But for the mail app, something I use intensively, this is really quite unworkable. My colleagues at the client all use Outlook with Zoho as they cannot work with the mail client as it is too slow to really work with.
With gmail you click on a message and as by magic, instantly it opens the entire thread. For the current page even when your network is gone. With Zoho you see 'loading' then you wait. And wait. And then it appears. Next mail. Loading... The agony. It's like it was the year 2000 and we just had Ajax.
No internet detection; when internet is down even for a little bit, Zoho mail becomes unusable. It takes forever to notice internet is down and it will be showing 'loading' forever and nothing works even if you are back again. Refresh fixes it, but it seems brittle. Sometimes the CSS breaks, sometimes it just give random error messages when you click on anything. Even though the internet was back for a while already.
This is probably a matter of taste, but screen real estate; when i'm reading a message i'm not interested in the rest of my messages. I want to use most of my available screen for reading that message (like gmail...).
Spam: I get tons of spam; I have ancient email addresses and they attract 100s of 1000s of spam mails per month; in gmail I notice NOTHING of this, really absolutely nothing. In ZOHO the spam filter is almost not noticeable for me, I keep clicking spam until my wrists are locked up.
And then the little things, the ergonomics; it just feels clunky. Not as bad as the project management app (I am no interface designer, but come on :(, but it just feels old and heavy. If Google taught anything for mail client designers; not everything has to look/work like Outlook.
This all makes me say ZOHO web mail is not ready for heavy mail users even though a lot people use it for that; a lot people also use Lotus Notes, that doesn't prove much. I will pay more attention and mail you with my findings because now I only see the big points clearly, but the whole experience is actually just 'not good'.
You did a marvelous job of building this company; my compliments. You have a lot of good products and you managed to build this impressive array of products at an amazing rate. But that has it side effects; polishedness is one of them. I know a lot of people who work with Zoho products every day and for some of them they still cannot find how to do some things ( I won't name my nemesis again here ). Would it hurt to add employee 1401 who is a $400k/year UX guru to overhaul everything? I think it would make all the difference.
Thanks for replying here!
When you view an email, only text is shown. You can "View as HTML", but images are blocked. http://i.eho.st/pp2fukzy.png
Personally, this renders the web interface useless to me, so I view my email through Outlook.
Makes sense, it's sort of the goto open source webmail app.
What does this mean?
I would pay for an email service with an off-site delivery for Gmail recipients. Basically, it should hold any email that is to be sent to GMail servers and instead send a note saying "You've got mail, pick it up here https://<url>. Anything like this out there?
For me the solution is my own vps, self-hosting. I'm 90% there, having set up the new system, backed up my GMail contents, added a webmail solution and now I'm looking at the last (but so damn important) 10%: Choosing a backup solution (and I won't fully migrate until I have a backup in place that I successfully restored once).
I understand that this isn't for everyone, but for me this proved little work so far and it's really flexible (I'm authenticating via yubikey now, for example).
Whatever the case, I'm happy to be off gmail.
Edit: It's not free. It costs like 2 dollars a month for the smallest account.
I look around once in awhile, and I never do find a good solution. My current solution is Thunderbird's Lightning extension, and I cringe every time Thunderbird updates, which is often now that Mozilla has the constant update fetish.
I would love to find a reasonably priced calendar solution with a company that I believe will be around for at least five years.
I really wish fastmail did calendars. Are you listening FM?
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It's my understanding that virtually no one at Google has the access privileges required to read your email. That won't be the case at most smaller mail hosts. If the host supports IMAP, they can read your email, there is no way around that. I trust Google's security way more than most companies.
If it's about programs scanning your email, well, spam/virus filtering has to do that. And I personally don't care what some computer bot knows about me, as long as a real person doesn't snoop around.
In my opinion ads are not an invasion of privacy, and if you want free you will get ads. Google Apps for Business can have ads disabled, only $50/year.
Fastmail seems to have an impeccable reputation.
I have been using sherweb for several years now. Works very well. It's a bit more expensive but you also get a lot more, too.
Think calendar, contacts. Plus, most smartphones work wonderfully with the Exchange mailbox.
They are located in Canada.
Last but not least, the webmail interface finally works well in other browsers than IE.
They also support IMAP.
Are there any good hosters based on Zimbra out there?
They are based in the UK, so you have to convert their pricing, but Their service has been fabulous. It's Zimbra. I eventually ended up moving to iCloud, with my new phone, I ended up losing some income streams, and wanted to cut down costs, but otherwise I'd still be with them. There is also 01.com, I used them some too, they are fine, if you need a US based provider.
Personally, I'd suggest going to gandi.net and getting a domain name from them for $15/year, which comes with email: 5 real accounts, umpteen forwarding accounts, IMAP, SMTP, and a decent webmail client (roundcube). Plus, you get an email address at your own domain, not tied to any one email provider, making it easy to switch later if you want.
Edit: It has IMAP, but isn't free.
I originally used fastmail's free account just to have a backup smtp server for when gmail or whoever I was with at the time went down. gmail does go down, happened more than once to me.
fastmail has a $5/year account, which is probably where you want to start if you're concerned about "free."
I think their next level up is about $20/year.
1) You don't know who has (or will get) access to the emails stored at the servers.
2) You don't know if your account will not be hacked.
In my opinion, you either need to:
a) host your own email server, or
b) periodically download your emails through pop3s to your own encrypted drive, not leaving them on the server
Now, does anyone have a replacement for the UI/client? Something good and multiplatform that a) deals well with multi media (images, attachments, etc) and b) still retains MH semantics?
The use of MH style semantics is what attracted me to the whole thing back in 2004.
I used pair.com for this and other purposes for many years, happily, and I'm thinking of going back. I'm on fastmail at the moment. One surprising development: pair.com used to be freebsd-only, and now they offer ubuntu as an alternative.
They have a cloud solution too.
Personally i think this is the best email services.
Here's one that costs some money: http://fastmail.fm/
Yearly plans give you the extras you'd want and are around $35/yr
I've been using them for a few months now, definitely worth the price. Really quick and easy to add new virtual domains, and the spam filter is decent enough for my inbox. Highly recommended.
Seems to me that Google has a better track record than y other IPS email provider you could chose at this time.
Aside from the fact that Apple is in the ad business (to limited success and motive thus far, though if the hardware sales profit train slowed down you can guarantee they would grow more interest), even if they weren't they still are incredibly interested in data about their customers. All businesses are interested in slicing and dicing and categorizing and maximizing sell through, etc.