Be like Gmail? Proton Mail will soon offer email categorization, message scheduling, and more

Be like Gmail? Proton Mail will soon offer email categorization, message scheduling, and more

Proton, the Swiss company behind a suite of privacy-focused products including email, has teased a fairly substantial upgrade for its flagship Proton Mail and calendar services.

Although Proton has expanded into cloud storage and VPNs through the years, encrypted email remains Proton’s bread and butter — and that is arguably the most interesting facet of its latest reveal.

Indeed. While Proton is often referred to as the antithesis of Google , privacy-wise, the company has unveiled a busy roadmap that will bring in a number of new features that are a little like Gmail. That’s not a bad thing.

On schedule

Google has taken great measures to ensure its products are as sticky as possible. Gmail is one of the most popular email services on Earth.

From a consumer perspective, Gmail offers great utility, including an email categorization system that automatically groups inbound emails by type under separate tabs, helping users find specific kinds of emails (e.g. “Social” or “Promotions”? Although this system may not be for everyone, and users can opt out, it is one of many promises Google makes to keep users returning: “we’ll simplify your life,” is the general idea.

With this in mind, Proton Mail will offer similar categorization functionality in the future. This raises questions about how Proton Mail will accomplish this without compromising users data privacy. While categorization relies on scanning content, the company stated that it is working to implement this in “fully private” using the sender categorie. This could prove to be a popular feature that may help those who want to leave Gmail.

Elsewhere, Gmail has offered message-scheduling for a few years already, allowing users to configure emails to send at a specific time and date, quite possibly when they’re fast asleep. Proton is working on this feature, which will bring it closer to feature parity.

Proton Mail: Schedule send Image Credits: Proton

Another new feature is email reminders. Users can set an alarm to remind them to respond to emails later. They also have the option to “snooze”, which serves a similar purpose. This is similar to a feature that Gmail has offered since 2018.

Proton’s privacy-focused focus is reinforced by the announcement that it will be adding new features that block email tracking. This will allow companies and bad actors to not know when an email has been opened, rendering the data useless.

Proton Mail: Email tracking protection Image Credits: Proton

Proton Mail’s search engine for email content has limitations. Proton Mail’s message content search is only available to premium users on the web. However, it is not possible to search through emails on mobile beyond metadata like the subject line. Proton stated that it will expand full message search to mobile apps in the future. Users can download emails to their devices so they can use keywords to find message content via a locally-stored search index.

It’s a date

The changes that are coming to ProtonMail are not limited to The company is gearing up to launch a native Calendar app for iPhone in the next few weeks, nearly a year after it arrived on Android. It will also roll out a new 3-day view and a 7-day view (similarly to Google Calendar) within Proton Calendar. There will also be a “full calendar” view that displays a day of planned activities in chronological order with infinite-scrolling.

Proton will allow users to create to do lists and convert tasks into reminders. These reminders will appear in the Calendar app.

Proton Calendar: Views Image Credits: Proton

Integrations

Proton is expanding its product line and recently launched a beta version of its Proton Drive cloud storage system on the web. The company now plans to integrate more features across its product range. For example, email attachments that exceed Proton Mail’s 25MB limit will be automatically uploaded to Proton Drive, with the recipient able to access the file through a secure link — again, this is something that Google has offered since 2013.

And in April this year, Proton acquired email alias service SimpleLogin, a platform that allows users to shield their real email address when signing up for online services. Proton stated that it plans to integrate SimpleLogin’s email addresses with Proton Mail more tightly.

Proton also announced that it is bringing single sign-on (SSO), to mobile. This means that users of Proton apps will only need to sign in once to access the individual services. However, this option is only currently available through a web browser.

Proton has not yet revealed any dates, but it did state that Proton Mail’s email scheduling and email-tracking blocker, as well as the new iPhone Calendar app, and the 3-day, 7-day, and 7-day Calendar views, will arrive within the next month.

Everything else will be landing at various intervals throughout 2023.

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