Taking another dig at Google, encrypted email provider ProtonMail has now officially launched its new calendar in public beta. The encrypted calendar joins the company’s other products that aim to offer privacy-focused alternatives to Google’s key products.
An encrypted calendar from ProtonMail has been in the pipeline for a while and starting today, all ProtonMail users on the paid plan can access the ProtonCalendar. It will be open to everyone once it exits beta sometime later this year.
This is the second product from ProtonMail that is being launched to rival Google’s offerings. The company had launched a VPN in 2018 and they have plans of offering a cloud storage service to rival Google Drive and an office software as well to rival Google Docs.
“Like ProtonMail, ProtonCalendar is engineered to put user privacy first, and in that respect we are the polar opposite of Google. With the launch of ProtonCalendar beta, we move one step closer to providing a full suite of services [that] can replace Google for users who want more control over their data,” ProtonMail CEO Andy Yen explained.
Having said thus, ProtonMail is not reinventing the calendar in its entirety. Much like the Google Calendar, the ProtonCalendar has a clean interface with month and day views and colour-coded event options. It is also tied to your ProtonMail account.
What differentiates ProtonCalendar from Google Calendar is the focus on privacy. ProtonMail says that it encrypts event title, location, participants and description and no third party nor ProtonMail can peruse the content of the calendar entries.
While ProtonCalendar is on offer to the paid users on ProtonMail for now, and they do not have a full-fledged enterprise product yet, the company offers a professional subscription tier that has features and functionality that are business intensive. And any company that would be interested in encrypted emails will also be interested in other encrypted products like calendars, docs and cloud storage.
Given that is comes at a time when ‘trust’ in big tech is at an all time low, ProtonMail has something going got itself. The company has managed to garner 20 million users since their launch in 2014.
“Our goal is to create and make widely accessible online products [that] serve users instead of exploiting them,” said Yen.
ProtonMail was founded out of Geneva, Switzerland in 2013 by Andy Yen, Jason Stockman, and Wei Sun — all of them academic researchers who were working on particle physics projects at CERN. The focus and promise was to create a mail portal with full privacy via client-side encryption and the company has overtime positioned itself as an antithesis to Gmail and Google’s ability to scan user content from emails to personalise products.