Business

Published on March 6th, 2021 | by Mahbub Hasan

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Gmail is frustrating – Why Gmail is a worst option for your Email

Any service that is provided by Google is ‌tangled and scary. Privacy issues, security issues, and other experience worsening stuff that can ruin your days. The company Google seems never made a privacy friendly but nice and working email. See, email is a preferred way of communication for billions and it is an important day-to-day thing. From personal to business, we use Emails for everything. This is because Email is still far better than other options. No matter which service you use, your email will reach your contacts if the address is correct. It solved vendor-lock-in decades ago, and this will be the solution for a good time, unless we invent something else and convince all the people to switch to it.

To email your friends, family or your client to pay you quickly, you need an Email provider. In the vast ocean of the internet, you may have already come across one and already registered an Email account. There are tons of email providers and related tools. Gmail is one of them. It is ‌a big contender with millions of users. If you use Google services for any reason, there is a good reason you have a Gmail account. Google somewhat forces people to sign in to use any features of Android, so they get tons of users every day. So, is it any good? I’m glad you asked. The simple answer is forking no. The long answer I’m writing below.

Obviously it is privacy invasive

Every place Google has their feet on, they all turn into a trap. A black hole that feasts on users’ data. Gmail is no exception. Tracking by ad pixels is scary, but scanning every email you ever received or sent, keeping records of those and extracting personal data cues about yourself is terrifying. Emails are something personal and private. It may contain sensitive information about you.

We use email addresses to sign up for different services. The contents of those emails can reveal so much about yourself. If you signed up for any counseling or therapy bookings, that means you are a person who needs it. Gmail, collects, processes and analyzes these data and builds a complete profile. It constantly snoops on you and learns who you are, your interests, condition, location and more.

The most scary part, where your identity can get stolen, is Gmail and YouTube. This is where you open up, where your secrets are no longer secret. It learns who you are and provides contents based on them. But, there is something more scary about Gmail. It lets not only Google, but hundreds of other totally non-related companies read and access your emails. Un-encrypted emails that are linked to you and easy to trace back to you. Quite terrifying, isn’t it?

Ads, even if you pay

Ever wondered how to get a paid Gmail account to get rid of ads? You cannot. There is no option to get rid of ads, even when you pay. There is a business suit, but it is high priced (it is google after all). Getting an email account from Google is like buying troubles with money. They still track you, emails are still un-encrypted and there are no privacy features. If you search for a premium Gmail account, the results will always be vague and twisted. And if you search “Does google collects data from business emails?” in google, the results are sketchy and you will only find Google’s own blogs promoting themselves and denying every fact that they ‌collect data.

They also tie these ads to your personal information. As I already discussed above, Gmail scans your emails and extracts every data and clues about you and your interest. The ads you will see in Gmail are very dis-respective about your choice. Having a bad day? Google does not care. To them, it is a pleasant way to make some money selling ads for antidepressants. For your hard earned money, you are getting scammed by Google when you use Gmail. And yes, they also scan your attachments.

Gmail is messy

Moment you load Gmail, you will feel how slow and painful it is. The loading time is painful when you use it under standard LTE while travelling. This is ‌due to how heavy and bloated Gmail UI is. Every part of Gmail is utter garbage filled with notes and other shortcuts you cannot re-arrange or move. The UI is good, at least the standard version. They seem terrible at push notifications in any browser that is not Chrome. I do not know if they are aware of any browsers other than Chrome. Although Gmail gets a point for customizability, that does not improve the overall experience.

There are no folders in Gmail. Instead, you have to workaround this issue with labels, which isn’t what I like. If I want to use Delta Chat, I’ll be in trouble. Sorting through search results isn’t available, and sometimes the language processing does not work. Lack of wide integration is another painful thing about it. Google wants Gmail to work with their own ecosystem while external integration is hard and hard. Automated emails are also a hassle.

Pretty low security

While Google does a pretty good job at securing your account, your email isn’t safe with them. To scan your email and extract data from it, they leave emails un-encrypted. Gmail and hundreds of other companies can read your emails. No encryption option provided by Gmail to secure your email. Along with privacy and security, google actually does a pretty terrible job at handling spams. While they advertise a success rate of 99%, they are actually talking about Phishing emails.

Also, many Gmail users get scammed by cyber criminals because of how many people use it and how cyber criminals know how to bypass Gmail spam filters. Also, most of the spam emails come from “gmail.com” domain, so google can never block it. With few efforts and ever changing email templates, newsletters and CAN SPAM hacks, criminals can bombard you with spams and unsolicited emails.

Storage and other issues

Storage is yet another big problem of Gmail. In the standard plan of Google One, you only have a limited amount of storage and it is used by all other Google services like photos and drive. The storage of Gmail is actually tied to the whole Google One storage. Paying such an amount of money for such a quota is unfair, and this does not give you business features. Business email in Gmail differs from standard Gmail subscription. So, you cannot use a custom domain on a personal account and you cannot have administrative features on any account other than business subscription. This is problematic, because you cannot manage and troubleshoot family accounts. Also, a business account is very expensive.

Lack of encryption and necessary privacy features are not the only reason Gmail is insecure. It also does not have any two factor authentication. Since Google account is used to sign in to email, you cannot set a separate password and if your Google account gets breached, all your information, services and mails can get breached too. There is no two factor authentication for Gmail. It is always best to use different passwords for different services and it is best to avoid single sign on because one account breach can lead to many other accounts being breached and stolen.

More issues!

And what the hell with the Email attachment limit? Only 20MB isn’t enough. Remote contents are always on unless you go to settings and turn it off. If you use other mail services and clients, you see remote contents will always get blocked to stop tracking you via email and attachments and you can turn them on if you wish. Gmail does not have this functionality. I do not know why Gmail does not have any sort of Privacy feature, hmm perhaps it is because they collect as much data they can and sell ads? Yes, this is the real reason. There are lots of other issues consumers face when using Gmail, Google will never solve that because that will disrupt their data and Ads business. With them, you are a product no matter if you pay or not.

The solution

Escape this trap by switching to a better Email provider. You deserve it. Deserve to ‌send and receive emails without hundreds of companies scanning them. Privacy is a right and you should have your rights. To treat yourself with a better email provider, sign up for an account on Letter.is. There are no complicated packages and the prices are lowest compared to Gmail. Some of the best things about Letter.is are:

Built with privacy in mind

Letter.is is built around infrastructures that are tailored for privacy and security. It is based on Mailcow, an open source mail server that has all the tools to make your email experience faster and secure. It is equipped with state-of-the-art connection encryption technology (TLS 1.3 & minimum of 256-bit key strength) with signed certificates from an European Certificate Authority located in Scandinavia. Every content of your inbox is heavily encrypted and not even Letter.is can see it. The server is located in the EU region which has the most privacy friendly policy and the relays are in countries including Iceland that have strongest policies for protecting users privacy.

Contents you delete from Letter.is will be gone without any trace or any way of recovery. Anything you keep on the server is safe, and anything you delete will be gone forever. They do not store any data, contents or information once you delete them. Letter.is allows crypto payment if you want complete privacy. Not only Letter.is has better privacy compared to any other email providers, they also have better spam detection, virus and malware scanning (powered by ClamAV, a Cisco Talos Intelligent OSS).

Behold, better spam protection with RSpamD

not only Letter.is protects you from spams, but lets you control the spam detection threshold. Increase the levels of spam score. This allows you to control what kind of messages you want in your inbox. If you only want pure no spam messages, you can set the threshold to high by sliding the controls left. RSpamD protects your inbox from spam with high precision at incredible speed. You can blacklist the sender so no email will arrive at your inbox from a specific sender.

Not only spam, but malwares and viruses get scanned before entering your inbox, giving you total protection from malicious attempts. The malware detector ClamAV is powered by the folks at Talos Intelligent. It works for any file format and archive formats and it is blazing fast at scanning due to multithreading. So you can expect complete protection, both for privacy and security. Letter.is does not stop there!

They include Bitwarden

If you want more than you paid for with no BS, Letter.is has tons of features. I’m a big fan of Bitwarden and they include it for free! Bitwarden is undeniably one of the most advanced password managers that syncs your password across multiple devices. And it is free if you subscribe to Letter.is. I really like it for a few reasons. One, it has the most consistent UI and it is fast. Simple and uncluttered UI with all the functionality you need within the reach of your finger is the most useful thing. There are tons of other functionalities Bitwarden offers and you have to try it with Letter.is.

And more features

They do not restrict you in terms of how many domains you can add or how many aliases you can have. You generate unlimited inboxes, because you pay by quota, not by number of inboxes. The support is there regardless of the plan you choose. Need anything custom? You can have it with Letter.is. Letter.is not only have SoGo, a wonderful web email client which is rich in features, but they also have RoundCube. Two webmail clients! This is wonderful when you do not need all the features of SoGo and just want to access your emails with RoundCube. With SoGo, the preferred webmail client for Letter.is, you can access Calendar, Contacts, Events and Tasks. You can secure your login with 2FA (two factor authentication).

The admin panel of Letter.is can be secured with 2FA by using any FIDO2/WebAuthn key. This is my preferred method of 2FA because hardware 2FA’s are more secure than software Authenticators. There is no admin panel in the standard Gmail account where you can manage domains and users. In Letter.is, you have all the controls in a centralized dashboard. You can also view emails rejected by the server without letting other end know. This is very handy for auditing purposes. A nifty tool in Letter.is is, you can create random aliases with expiry time that can be used for temporary email usage. Like when you think a website is sketchy and you don’t want to give your real email address, you can create random aliases that will expire based on the time you selected.

Integration

If you are one of those people who want to make the most of their emails, and want to automate stuff, there are integration options for you. Letter.is has Pushover API integration that lets you integrate with tons of applications using Pushover API. Mainly it is used for Notification, but you can workaround and make chains for integration.

Conclusion

The short conclusion is, Gmail is trash every way possible. If you do not want to be a product of Google and sell your soul to Google, you should switch your email provider. The amount of data they collect, and the amount of violation of rights users get is very saddening. Many external companies have access to your email because Gmail lets them access. They do not offer any encryption and their privacy policy is the worst, just like any other Google services. Millions of users have chosen other ways of email hosting by leaving Gmail. You deserve better. If you want absolute privacy and security with a high-quality email provider with choice and substantial support, you can sign up for Letter.is, which gives you a fully secured and private email service with tons of features. Quickly move all your Gmail mails, calendars and contacts to Letter.is with easy import tool.

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About the Author

Mahbub Hasan

Mahbub Hasan is a creative professional from Bangladesh. In Technofaq, Mahbub writes articles about design, privacy, technology and life surrounding them.



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