Privacy Protective Alternative Better than Gmail, Google Docs, and Drive



According to the Wired, the DuckDuckGo plans to launch its own desktop web browser sometimes later this year to complement its existing search engine and the mobile browser. It is also working to achieve an anti-tracking app for Android and a way to possibly block trackers in email.

The private-browser maker Brave, meanwhile, is now moving in the opposite direction with its own search engine.
Proton’s Yen says that all of these companies are still having the same revelation: To truly take on the likes of the Google, they would need to build ecosystems instead of just buiding one unique service.

Skiff dark mode

The building of more private web services is also now becoming pretty easier as more companies are creating encrypted products and also publicly sharing the technical details of their work. To support the end-to-end encryption in the Skiff, for instance, Milich says that the startup drew heavily on the existing white papers and the technical documentation from other of the encrypted services, including the WhatsApp, the Signal, the 1Password, and even the Proton.


The Skiff document lock

“Most of those things just make it even more better to build products like ours,” he says.

Milich also had to also point out that the end-to-end encrypted products can be faster now than they used to be then. Skiff, for instance, make use of a concept that is called the conflict-free replicated data type, or the CRDT, to encrypt documents even when multiple people are just collaborating in real time. The CDRT used to be “outrageously slow” for something like a document editor, Milich says, but that is not the case anymore now.

Some of the privacy concerns around the services like the Gmail and the Google Docs can get overblown. While the Google used to mine the content of your emails for some targeted advertising, it had abandoned that practice for all users in the year 2017.

The company also promises not to data mine other of your apps where you store personal content, such as the Google Drive and the Google Photos, and users can even delete the data that the company does collect at any time.

But the Google’s privacy-conscious competitors say that those promises are not enough. Both the Skiff’s Milich and the Proton’s Yen point to the WhatsApp as a cautionary example of how the Big Tech companies can easily go back on their word: The service’s new privacy policy forces their users to share metadata with the Facebook proper, and the service also made it possible for businesses to chat with users without using encryption.


Vivaldi reader

And while those companies could possibly pivot toward more private products, Milich says that it won’t be easy at all unless they start from the scratch. Facebook, for instance, made an announcement back in 2019 that it was working on an end-to-end encryption for the Facebook Messenger, but had to acknowledge in April that it won’t do so until the year 2022 at the earliest.


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