The very few things ProtonMail needs to become my everyday email

I’ve been a ProtonMail user since public beta, and there is a lot to praise:

  • Even though their system of browser-based encryption cannot be guaranteed to be secure, they claim very loudly that their email is system is zero-knowledge. That would make it significantly more privacy-respecting than anything the big players (Gmail, Outlook.com, GMX, Yahoo!) can offer.
  • I like the subdued purple color scheme. The Android app has bad contrast because it’s purple on white instead of black on white, but they’re working on that.
  • Labels work well and there are a lot of label colors to choose from. Colors, whee!
  • My data won’t leave Switzerland. This doesn’t do much for you if you’re not Swiss, but for me this makes ProtonMail win over Tutanota, another respectable zero-knowledge email service, but based in Germany.

There are very few features that I think are missing from ProtonMail before it could become my email system for daily work:

  1. Proper quoting support in the editor. Now it’s limited to shitty top-quoting, and their editor is particularly thick about when it enters and exits a quote level. So you can’t even copy/paste from a proper editor and expect it to work.
  2. Viewing email source (and editing your own emails in source mode while problem #1 above remains)
  3. Support for plain text emails. HTML only is ridiculous. Yes, I’m one of those people.
  4. IMAP/SMTP access.
  5. Import of an existing GPG private key for custom domains.
  6. Export of your mailbox so you can make backups.

I know that most of these things are already on their todo list and will be tackled eventually. It’s beautiful to see how they grew from a niche email product for privacy nerds to serving over 500,000 people in little more than a year, and these six things are the only ones I can nitpick about.

What about you, are you a ProtonMail user? Did you post your top suggestions to their feedback system or vote for other people’s ideas there?

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no affiliation with Proton Technologies AG, but I’d love to see them succeed.

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