Proton, the Swiss company behind a suite of privacy-focused products, including email, has teased a fairly substantial upgrade to its flagship Proton Mail and calendar services.
While Proton has branched out into cloud storage and VPNs over the years, encrypted email remains Proton’s bread and butter, and that’s probably the most interesting aspect of its latest reveal.
Indeed, while Proton often positions itself as the antithesis of Google, at least from a privacy perspective, the company has revealed a busy roadmap for the coming months that will introduce a number of new features that are only slightly reminiscent of Gmail. And that’s not a bad thing.
Google has gone to great lengths to make its ecosystem of products as sticky as possible, and for the most part it has worked, with Gmail among the most used email services in the world.
From a consumer perspective, Gmail offers a great deal of utility, including an email categorization system that automatically groups incoming emails by type into separate tabs, helping users find specific email types (e.g. “social” or ” promotions”). While this system may not appeal to everyone and users can opt out, it represents one of the many promises Google makes to keep users coming back: “we’ll make your life easier,” is the general idea.
With this in mind, Proton Mail will offer similar categorization features in the future. This may raise some questions about how Proton will achieve this without compromising the privacy of user data, as categorization certainly depends on content scanning, but the company said it is working on implementing this in a “completely private way” using the category of the sender. Taking this at Proton’s word for it, this could prove to be a popular feature, one that could help pave the way for those looking to jump ship from Gmail.
Elsewhere, Gmail has offered message scheduling for a few years now, allowing users to configure emails to be sent at a specific time and date, most likely when they’re sound asleep. Again, this is something Proton is also working on, bringing it closer to feature parity with Gmail.
Other upcoming new features include email reminders, whereby users can set an alert to remind themselves to reply at a later time, while also being able to “snooze” emails that serve a similar purpose. It’s similar to a feature offered by Gmail since 2018.
And something more in line with Proton’s focus on privacy, the company said it will add new features to block email tracking, so companies or bad actors can’t know when an email has been opened. mail, thus rendering the data unusable.
As it stands now, searching through emails in Proton Mail has its limitations. For those on the web, searching message content is reserved for premium paid users, but on mobile, it’s by no means an option beyond metadata like the subject line. Going forward, Proton said it is expanding full message search to its mobile apps, with emails downloaded to a user’s device so they can use keywords to search message content via a locally stored index.
It’s a date
However, the upcoming changes aren’t limited to Proton Mail. The company is preparing to launch a native Calendar app for iPhone in the coming weeks, nearly a year after its arrival on Android. Additionally, a new 3-day and 7-day view (similar to Google Calendar) will also be implemented within the Proton Calendar app, while there will also be a “full agenda” view that shows your scheduled day’s activities in a full history list of infinite scrolling.
Finally, Proton will also allow users to create to-do lists and turn tasks into reminders that appear within the Calendar app.
As Proton continues to expand its product lineup, with its recently existing Proton Drive cloud storage service in beta on the web, the company is now planning to roll out deeper integrations across its product suite. For example, email attachments that exceed Proton Mail’s 25MB limit will automatically upload to Proton Drive, with the recipient able to access the file via a secure link – again, this is something Google has offered since 2013.
And in April of this year, Proton acquired SimpleLogin email alias service, a platform that allows users to protect their real email address when signing up for online services. Proton said it plans to build tighter integrations between SimpleLogin email aliases and Proton Mail.
Finally, Proton also revealed that it is bringing single sign-on (SSO) to mobile devices, meaning users of Proton’s various apps will only need to log in once to access each individual service – this is currently available, but only via a web browser.
In terms of timelines, Proton has yet to divulge any specific dates for anything, though it did say that Proton Mail’s email scheduling and tracking block will arrive within the next month, as will the new Calendar app for iPhone and iPad. the 3 7-day and 7-day calendar views.
Everything else will land at various intervals throughout 2023.
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