The tale of this domain (actually, the sister domain, tralfaz.org) has been told, a few times in these pages.
However, one tale I haven’t told is how when Google Apps became available, I moved from the creaky old email platform (hosted on a local Bay Area ISP, BEST Communications (an ISP that is so dead, I couldn’t even find an archival reference) probably in the 2005 or 2006 time frame.
At the time, it was a sensible move. The might of Google, their reliability, their scale, and their spam handling were top notch. That was before things like collaborative spreadsheets, word processing and others were bundled with the service.
The promise was, since you pay for the service, Google would keep their money grubbing hands off the content, avoiding scanning to help them tailor their ads. In theory I believed them.
For about $100 a year, it was reliable, ample space, and it worked great for my wife and I.
Over the years, Google has piled features on that I just don’t use or need. First with Drive, then with Google Voice, Hangouts, and others that really aren’t needed for my limited use.
Now it seems that there is a monthly service change as Google decides to EOL products. Each one seems to require me to log into my admin page and confirm, or change some setting.
All that would be tolerable. But Google has become so large, so tenticular, so overbearing, that I am seriously considering moving to a new service.
Sure, I could set up an imap and smtp server on Digital Ocean, and get it working. But then I would have to deal with the security and spam filtering. Not something for a hobbyist to undertake, unless you want to spend 1`00% of your time to be tweaking on it. Furthermore, as an independent, not coming from a known domain, would likely get my SMTP server on blacklists.
No, building and running my own server, while it might be fun, would be a bad idea.
So that leaves me to look for options. The natural option is to get a small business class Office365 account. Roughly the same price per user per month ad G-Suite, it does offer more storage, and some other goodies (including a 1TB onedrive account). But it just feels “heavy”. Still, it does look like there are good tools and tutorials for migrating from G-Suite to O365. Kudos to Microsoft for knowing that there is a desire to move away from Google.
And it is also sad that Microsoft, once the evil empire, is now a lot less evil than Google.
I found Proton Mail, a Swiss company, with a lot of really good privacy credentials. Good pricing too, 4 euros a month, is a bit less than the cost of G-Suite. But it has smallish storage, at 5gigs total. While a lot of what is in my main tralfaz account is noise, and could be deleted, the thought of cleaning house is daunting.
Then there is the AWS Workmail, that seems to do a pretty solid job of emulating Exchange, and feels like it might be a reasonable service. Additionally, they have some paired service with migration experts, to help move my data. That might be worth the cost of admission there. For $4 per month per account, it is about 30% cheaper than G-Suite, with a full 50 gig email box. Will have to do a lot of digging into this one.
Plenty of options, but a lot of research to figure out what is the best path. Trading Google for Amazon doesn’t seem like a win for privacy, does it?
As Jethro Tull eloquently put it: “Nothing is Easy”.