How do I decide between privacy (Proton) and convenience and ease of use (Google)?

I’m looking for some advice on what to use for my email and calendar. I’ve read a lot online already about this over quite a long time, but still find myself struggling to settle. The central issue I’ve got is around the competing interests of privacy on one hand, and convenience on the other. Basically I can’t strike a good balance and it’s driving me insane.

I’ve switched into and out of Proton Mail over the past few years. I’ve otherwise used iCloud for my mail and calendar or at one point Fastmail, but I’m currently back with Proton as I hadn’t tried it again since some updates to calendar.

Unfortunately I’m finding the limitations of Proton Mail and Calendar to be too severe for my use case. What I want is to be able to access my calendar and mail in any app, and for them to integrate well with the rest of the internet. I understand those requirements seem to be outside of the reach of privacy protecting products like Proton.

So what I’m now facing is the decision between privacy and convenience. It would be SO MUCH EASIER to live my life if I just used Gmail and Google Calendar for everything. And my threat model is almost non-existent. It’s mostly as a matter of principle against privacy invasion that I’ve been using Proton for so long.

So my question is - what do you do? How do you justify either way? Aren’t we at the point now where it doesn’t matter either way if we use services like Google? Is Proton mostly for a niche audience at this point? Is it more important to just find my emails and appointments easily and conveniently, than to send a practically inaudible message to Google and others to say privacy invasion is not OK?

Hope this reaches some understanding and empathetic eyes!

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The main difference with Proton and Gmail is that Gmail does not encrypt emails upon receiving them nor does it provide an easy way for you to send PGP encrypted email to contacts through the webmail. Privacy products do tend to have stronger focus in certain areas, (zero knowledge encryption at rest). As a result some features are harder to implement or require more thought than a service which has no zero knowledge encryption.

What may be a possibility here is that you store a calendar locally, or if you have the ability to selfhost, use Radicale which could even be hosted on an internal network. Of course writing to the calendar would require access to that network.

Another solution would be a provider like (they use Caldav/Cardav) but that does come at the cost of it being encrypted. They can provide zero knowledge on receipt of email though.

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I think you can use third-party apps for Proton Mail if you pay (Mail Plus is a few bucks a month), not sure about Calendar though.
I don’t mind the limitations for Mail, but I wish (free) Proton will support WebDav (calendar syncing prootocol).

For now, I just switched back to local calendar.

The main difference in usability i’d say is that its great for commercial use - labels, folders, spam, advanced settings and handling of emails - google workspace etc.

Is there any reports that google share the data in the paid workspace programs to the broader data brokers?

I mean people use this for business, I would be very surprised if google scrape this data.

Only other option comes to mind is microsoft’s offering.

Any “private” product that offers this service?

@jonah @ph00lt0

No and as we’ve said multiple times on this, workspace has a different privacy policy. There are totally good reasons for using Workspace where a privacy alternative does not exist.

It really just depends on what feature set is most important to you.

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Thanks - yeah calendar is the big issue for me. Not being able to easily add calendar events from other apps or websites to my Proton calendar, being forced to use the (frankly pretty average) Proton calendar app instead of a third party one, etc. Might investigate the local calendar option.

Thanks. Mailbox might be a good option. I do query whether I really need encryption for most of the email I’m sending or receiving, given that I’m sending to and receiving from mostly Google or MS users, so the encryption is being rendered sort of pointless anyway. I’ll always use PM for certain communications where I do see encryption as practical and effective, but I figure my main communications can do without encryption.

Remember that E2E encryption only works when both ends support it, so you wouldn’t have any special form of encryption in cases where you are emailing Google or MS email addresses anyways, even if you do use Protonmail. The primary benefits of Protonmail are (in my eyes) 1. Encryption at rest, 2. Encryption between Proton-Proton or Proton-PGP communications, or 3. your account, and service provider are private, it can’t prevent the other persons email provider from monitoring their end, but it is still much better than your service provider abusing your privacy directly.

Might investigate the local calendar option.

Have a look at the android app Etar.