13. Januar 2020

Searching and finding the best email app

I like to write emails. In other words, due to my projects and my work as a freelancer, it can happen that I write 20 emails in one day. In order to be able to move through my email inbox as quickly as possible, I need a specific tool. A tool that gives me the opportunity to separate important emails from marketing emails and newsletters. In addition, I want to lose as little time as possible during the writing process. On top of that, this tool should also give me a fast experience. Above all, nothing is more annoying for me than waiting several minutes for an email to be loaded or sent. Therefore I started looking for the fastest email experience. I was on the hunt after the best email app.


Update 19.02.2020: Somehow it feels strange to read through this post, to notice my euphoria about superhuman and to put everything aside now. As of today, I am no longer a superhuman user. The past few months have given me a lot of pleasure because I was able to process my emails every day with incredible speed. Still, I was always torn. I stepped out of the Google Ecosystem recently. I only kept my Gmail address. For what reason? Well, my preferred email client currently only supports Gmail / Gsuite accounts exclusively. I am no longer willing to pay $ 30 a month to use a front end exclusively for Gmail. Especially if the company also allows itself data security and privacy missteps. The overall picture is simply no longer correct. The functions of Superhuman are still unmatched. It is true that they offer the fastest email experience. The intuitive shortcuts enable the user to move through the inboxes at lightning speed and compose emails. However, the above mentioned things predominate for me. In retrospect, I consider the reaction of Rahul Vohra (CEO Superhuman) to the tracking pixel scandal to be wrong. They have deleted the geodata and switched off the pixel by default. Great. However, the user can still switch it on. The victim in the story is and remains the recipient of the email. Because the recipient still has no way to reject the pixel, despite the "fix" from Superhuman. At this point my eyes were opened. Superhuman is no longer my preferred email tool. This allows me to eliminate my Gmail address once and for all. Since I am already a Protonmail customer, I will now concentrate all my email activity on Protonmail. Nevertheless, I am also very curious about what Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson and team are preparing with hey.com. Email must remain private. Tracking pixels have absolutely no business at this point. So you can still read through my journey down below, but disclaimer: I did not find the best email client, I was blinded by features and ignoring privacy. Bad.

My first email experience

I created my first email address with Outlook. At that time, the email service was called Hotmail and you got an @live email address. At that point, I had no idea that there were email clients. I always opened and wrote my emails in the browser. Over time I found out that it is also possible to write emails without the need for a browser using certain software. Without opening the browser and having to log in to any email provider. First of all, of course, I stumbled across Microsoft Outlook. However, I did not understand the reason why I should download software to read my emails on my computer. I had the browser for it. This scenario happened in 2007.

Taking a first look for alternatives

Fast forward to 2020 and I've tested several email apps, both desktop, and mobile. CloudMagic was one of the first. On my first iPhone I found more and more that if I wanted to synchronize several email accounts within Apple Mail, the synchronization got stuck. So I looked for an Apple Mail alternative on the Internet. One app that was suggested to me very quickly was CloudMagic. Several blog posts on the internet entitled CloudMagic as the best email app back then.

Screenshot of an early version of the CloudMagic macOS Email App.
CloudMagic – the best email app back then. Picture via betanews

CloudMagic is dead, long live Newton!

CloudMagic no longer exists today. Although that is not entirely true. CloudMagic is better known today as Newton Mail. Newton Mail is a rather controversial email app. A brief digression with the most important information. CloudMagic already attracted attention in 2013. The service supports both iOS and Android and brought a wide range of support for various email services (Exchange, IMAP, iCloud, etc.). CloudMagic was able to attract a large number of users very quickly. But when the company introduced a subscription model, the turn came. CloudMagic became Newton Mail, got desktop apps in addition to iOS and Android. In 2016, the company asked for an annual subscription of 50 euros.

However, this was later raised to 100 euros. In this way, however, the users were scared away. The company had to close in September 2018. But only a few months later it was said Newton was back. With the same apps and the same subscription model, but at a cheaper price of 52.99 euros. In addition, new updates and functions were also presented. However, Newton was repeatedly caught in the crosshairs of data security experts. Fast Company wrote a whole post only about Newton's Privacy Policy, which they thought was "scary".

Screenshot of the Newton Email App for macOS
CloudMagic became Newton – Supercharged Emailing. Picture via Newtonhq

Moving on to Bluemail

So at the time, I was looking for an alternative to CloudMagic or Newton. Since I was using an Android phone at the time, I was somewhat limited in my search. In the end, I became a Bluemail user. Basically, the app convinced me from the start. I liked the UI because it was very clear. However, since I was using several different email accounts at the time, I finally wanted to synchronize all of them in Bluemail. With 5 email accounts, however, it quickly stalled.

The synchronization became slower and slower. Finally, I had to remove individual email accounts and add them again a few times so that my emails would be synchronized. Nonetheless, this shouldn't be too big an issue. Yet, what ultimately drove me to stop using the app was actually customer support. Since I got in touch with it about a few issues but rarely received an answer, I felt left alone. So I was there again without an email client.

Picture displaying two screenshots of the Bluemail Android App with the Bluemail Logo in between them.
Bluemail – great app, very bad support. Picture via conncet

I thought I have found the best email app

At the same time, I had been using an email app called Spark on my MacBook for a few months. Even if there was already one or the other email app that raised my enthusiasm, Spark played in a different league. It met all of my requirements. All my email accounts synchronized very quickly. The UI was outstanding. Readdle, the company behind Spark, kept introducing new features. It was clear to me that all the functions were straight focusing on boosting the users productivity. Spark had everything. A smart inbox feature, a calendar, a great search function, and reminders.

Picture displaying the Spark Email App on all available apple devices. In chronological order from left to right Apple Watch, Iphone X, MacBook Pro and iPad Pro.
Spark – I thought I found the best email app. Picture via Spark

The only downside and that was a big one for me, there was no Android app. I only used Spark on my MacBook. In spring 2019, however, came the news that I have been waiting for. Spark is finally also available on Android. I was thrilled because I thought that I had finally found the right and also the best email app for me. Cross-platform, fast, great design, and safe. For sure? Well! Spark was increasingly criticized for its privacy policy.

Spark and its flaws

It was found that Spark stores its users' access data on Spark's servers. Sometimes even unencrypted. In addition, the server infrastructure is located in the USA, which is never a good sign for data protection. Many users were also concerned about how an app with such a range of functions can be free. It was therefore assumed that Spark would resell the stored data. Nevertheless, it is now known that all email clients save data on their servers, as this is the only way to send push notifications on iOS devices.

However, it is important to know whether this data is encrypted using OAuth. If so, the data is safe. A Reddit user sent a breakdown of the privacy policy by posting and called not to use Spark for emails. In January 2019, another Reddit user clarified a few things and provided clues as to why Spark is harmless when it comes to data protection. Spark does not use any special data protection methods and acts like any other email app.

So I knew that I could basically continue to use Spark. Still, I had a certain bitter aftertaste. I used Spark until October 2019. But then an app called Superhuman caught my attention.

Email for professionals

Superhuman was the first topic of conversation in 2017 when the service went online. However, the story of Superhuman starts earlier. I signed up for the company's email list back in 2015. In 2016 I received an email from Rahul Vohra, CEO, and Founder of Superhuman, as he was doing user research at that time. Because of my email app at that time, Rahul's email never caught my attention.

Picture displaying an iPhone X and a MacBook Pro both showcasing the Superhuman Email App.
Superhuman – Could this be the best email app? Picture via campaignmonitor

Would you pay $30 a month for reading your emails?

Superhuman has been in the media constantly since 2019 at the latest. The email app became particularly well known through an article in the New York Times. Opinions about superhuman split very quickly. A particular sticking point is the relatively expensive subscription model. A Superhuman user pays a whopping $ 30 a month. For that sum, you would also get Spotify, Netflix, and Apple Music together. However, these three providers will not solve your email problem. In addition, there was a lot of noise about Superhuman as many people felt that the service was very elitist. In brand communication, they only target executives, founders, leaders, and so on. Can't freelancers also have the need to solve their email problems?

Earning some bad noise

In addition, a tracking pixel that users didn't know about was the biggest nuisance. Superhuman had implemented a tracking pixel that allowed the email writer to determine exactly when an email was opened. So far nothing new. Marketing emails have been doing that for years. But Superhuman's tracking pixel went one step further. Because it also showed the email author the location of the recipient. Not the address, but the location was limited to the state. The Internet then exploded. There were advocates of this technique, but the opponents definitely outweighed it. Former Twitter VP Mike Davidson wrote a blog post on why Superhuman is spying on you.

Rahul Vohra then spoke up with a blog post. Superhuman then deleted all of the geospatial data they had collected up to that point. In addition, they also removed the geolocation from the tracking pixel.

The read receipts that resulted from this tracking were switched off by default. So someone who wanted to know when their sent emails were opened had to activate these read receipts manually.

I wanted to form my own opinion about Superhuman

Aside from all the attention Superhuman got, I still wanted to try the app. Users who have been using it for some time rave about the app. And the few screenshots I saw also made a very good impression. So I went to the Superhuman site to sign up. But then the first setback. The app is invitation-only and has a waiting list. After a short research, I found out that this waiting list already had 200,000 people by October 2019. However, if you get a referral from a Superhuman user, it is possible that you can skip the entire waiting list.

The most personalized onboarding

The reason why Superhuman is only gradually adding new users to the platform is as follows. Superhuman wants you to process your email faster than ever. Superhuman uses keyboard shortcuts that allow you to move through an inbox super fast. The user no longer has to take his fingers off the keyboard because a mouse is not needed to use the app. In order for this usage relationship to be adapted to the user, each individual user is "trained" by a 30-minute zoom conversation with a Superhuman employee. Superhuman is characterized by this onboarding. It gives the user an incredible feeling when a company takes 30 minutes for you to explain the product to you.

I am hooked! Did I found the best email app?

First I also thought that Superhuman is a very elitist product. Still, I wanted to try it out. I write a few emails a day and usually get three times as many. It is important for me to move through my inbox as fast as possible and sort out which emails are marketing and which actually need my attention. I would also like to be able to sort my emails. If there are emails that need my attention at a later time, I would like to put them in a folder and receive notification later that these emails are still open. After all the blog posts I've read and all the videos I've watched, I thought Superhuman could do just that and much more.

Jumping the waitlist

I got in touch with an existing Superhuman user via Twitter (Brendan if you are reading this, I am extremely thankful for your referral) who was so friendly and gave me a referral. It only took a few minutes and Superhuman got in touch with me. As a first step, I had to fill out a survey about my personal email workflow. After that, I apparently qualified to actually become a Superhuman user.

Next, I had to make an appointment for my onboarding. Shortly before I wanted to confirm the appointment, I learned that Superhuman does not offer a trial. On the day of onboarding, the specified credit card will be charged with the monthly fee. I thought for a moment and finally decided that it would be worth the $30 for a month to test it. So I confirmed the onboarding appointment and was full of anticipation.

UX on another level

Onboarding gave me an experience that I have never experienced before. A zoom call with a stranger. A situation that feels very familiar after just a few minutes. Seu Mei was my contact person in the course of onboarding. First, she wanted to get an idea of my current email workflow. She was particularly interested in how I treat read emails, how I mark emails that still need my attention, and how I move through my email inbox. She made notes. Finally, we jumped straight into the Superhuman app. It was the first time that I saw the app live on my MacBook. Because the activation only happens in the course of onboarding. I was immediately impressed with the UI. Minimalist and clear. Everything had its place.

Artwork showing a grid of the Superhuman Email Inbox Zero images and in the middle of the picture is a Screenshot of the Superhuman Email app itself.
Clean, minimalistic. and elegant. Picture via globelnews

The master of shortcuts

Then it started with the feature for which Superhuman is ultimately known. Shortcuts that make the email experience super fast. Seu Mei showed me the most important shortcuts and then let me try them out directly. I was amazed at how quickly I could move through my inbox. In just a few minutes I had processed most of my unread email. Seu Mei also showed me the so-called "Split Inbox" feature. This enables the user to create a sender as a new inbox. This means that all emails from this sender go to a specific inbox. Very useful if you know which emails need more attention and I receive them in a separate inbox. The same feature is also pleasant for newsletters. So I can create my own split inbox for newsletters and add all the newsletters I receive.

Cmd + K = <3

Therefore I can clean up my inbox directly by assigning the emails that need my attention to their own inbox right from the start. So Superhuman convinced me from the start. The "most powerful" shortcut from Superhuman is Cmd + K. This opens the "command center" of Superhuman. You can compare this with Mac Spotlight or the Alfred app. This shortcut gives you your own control center where all functions come together.

Screenshot of Superhuman's Command Console
Superhuman's Cmd + K is all you need. Picture via mobilespoon

I was excited. Personally, I wouldn't call myself the power user that Superhuman describes on their website. Nevertheless, I compose and receive a few emails a day accordingly. Still, Superhuman had an immense impact on my productivity. Since I already paid for the first month, I thought I would put the app through an everyday test.

The only setback

A small setback to my euphoria was the fact that Superhuman is currently only available for macOS and iOS. Since December 2019, however, it has been clear that Superhuman is working on an Android version. Nevertheless, when it will finally find its way into the Google Playstore is still unclear. So my test focused on the two existing versions for iOS and macOS.

Update 19.02.2020: I still think that all of the above saying about Superhuman is true. Their UI/UX is great, it simply is. The way they are forcing you to use shortcuts to give you superpowers is also great, simple as that. But those features do not compromise ignoring data security and privacy. Fullstop.

Why I think Superhuman is the best email app It isn't

After the first month with Superhuman, I could confidently say that Superhuman is the best email app in my eyes. The overall package of functionality and design is just right. I am also willing to pay for a tool that makes my work so much easier. Superhuman is putting a lot of attention to details. The Design is clean, minimal, and just elegant. After trying a lot of different email apps, Superhuman simply built the most beautiful inbox.

But it's not only about looks, but also about the feel. Superhuman is definitely the fastest email experience I have ever had. Remeber when Paul Bucheit, the creator of Gmail, set the 100ms rule for every interaction? Well, Superhuman decided to cut down as low as 50ms. Coming from any other email app you instantly feel how much faster Superhuman is.

Screenshot of the Superhuman Email App UI displaying a list of Emails.
Shortcuts everywhere! Picture via capiche

Productivity Powerhouse

All the features implemented in Superhuman are aiming at improving your productivity. Superhuman is shortcut-optimized to give the users the power they need to move and navigate through their inbox twice as fast as usually.

Superhuman wants you to save time, by organizing your emails. One top of that, with features like reminders, send-later, undo-action, social-media integration, and much more, Superhuman gives you the power and control over your emails.

My current email workflow stack

So Superhuman is not 100% integrated into my workflow, as Spark did, for example. Still, I prefer Superhuman over any other email app. The fact that the app is not yet available for Android also forces me to answer my emails primarily on my MacBook. I am currently doing the following. When I'm on the go, I occasionally check my emails on my Android smartphone using Spark. As I'm gradually trying to tear myself away from Google, I also want to be able to do email without the Gmail App. At the moment I only stick to my Gmail address, otherwise, I managed to find an alternative for all Google services that I used. In a blog post, I explain in detail how I took the step away from the Google Ecosystem.

As soon as Superhuman supports further email services and is also available on Android, there is no going back to any other email app for me.

I do not count myself among the elitist circle described by Superhuman. Basically, I don't feel addressed by this either. As long as I use an app and it actually has an impact on my workflow, the product pays off for me.

Get a referral

If any of you are also interested in using Superhuman, just send me an email and I will be happy to send you a referral. Please do not forget to include your email to which I should send the referral. As already mentioned, Superhuman is currently only available for Gmail and Gsuite accounts. Further email services are planned.

To summarize: I have found the best email app I did not

Personally, I can now say that I have found the best email app. Even if it has little quirks, it still fulfills my only productivity problem. Because this was the way I treat my emails. Superhuman was my salvation for this and brought my productivity back again.


Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a penny more, but I'll get a small commission, which supports this blog and also my side-projects. So considering buying something through my links. Thank you!

You are a forward-thinking creative mind and you are interested in new apps, tools, software, resources to boost your workflow and productivity? Well, you should definitely consider subscribing to my weekly digest Creativerly. Every Sunday I drop you a nicely and carefully curated email, packed with useful tools, apps, software, resources, books, blog post, for creative folks. If you want to get a taste of it, you can scroll through the archive or just go ahead and subscribe.

9. Dezember 2019

My personal Google alternatives – You do not need Google

Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking about privacy and data security on the internet. I am not a big fan of Google but much of my work is relying on a lot of their services. Recently I decided to step out of the Google ecosystem and with this blog post I want to show you, that you can do that too. I went on the hunt after some Google alternatives.

Feeding Google with data

Once part of the Google ecosystem, unencrypted plain date hovers over their servers. Several articles in the past have revealed that Google has repeatedly worked with the FBI and the NSA on user data. Although I've been using Google products for a long time (especially Gmail and Drive), that's no reason to completely ignore my privacy on the Internet. Even now, I can still take the first step and tear myself away from the Google ecosystem. In this blog post, I want to show what Google alternatives there are, and how they integrate into my current workflow.

Gmail and its 1.5 billion active users

One of the most well-known and most-used products of Google is (besides their search engine of course) Gmail. The email service has 1.5 billion active users. I started my email adventure with Outlook. More specifically with Hotmail, which integrated into Outlook in 2012. One year later, people got aware that Outlook, like other email providers, reads emails and stores them unencrypted on their servers. Apart from hat Outlook have their headquarters and thus their servers in the US. And they are known to have no strict privacy policies. If you want to have more security regarding emails with Outlook, you have to pay for it (Office 365).

Do not get me wrong, I also like to spend money on it if my data security is more granted to me. But before I give my money to a group like Microsoft, I prefer to look for an alternative that really values my privacy.

Getting rid of Chrome

In my early years, I did not care that my data is not safe in a multi-trillion dollar US corporation. That's why I set up a Gmail address as well. If we anticipate the year 2019, I am not so happy with my decision at the time. I try step by step to get rid of the individual Google products. One page that was and still is very helpful to me is Nomoregoogle. The project by Pieter Levels is an overview of the individual services, with suggestions for Google alternatives.

Through this page, I became aware of Firefox again. I'm a Chrome Poweruser, I use a lot of extensions and add-ons. Chrome always made me feel faster than any other browser. So I did not care about the competition, nor test any new browsers. However, when I downloaded the latest version of Firefox, I was extremely surprised. The user interface was clean and the design looked appealing. I found myself thinking that the UI actually looked better than Chrome's.

Switching to Firefox

However, before I finally got the hang of it, I had to be sure that the individual extensions that I use in Chrome are also available as addons in Firefox. And indeed, I found every single one in the Firefox addon store (but still searching for an Workona alternative). At the time, I felt a bit bad, as I've always believed that Chrome is by far the best browser, and everyone else is miles away in terms of features. In fact, I lived under a rock. Firefox is a great browser that does a lot better than Google Chrome, first and foremost Privacy. It took a few hours with Firefox and it already felt like I had never used another browser. Other alternatives for Google Chrome would include Opera, Brave or Vivaldi.

Can you replace Google Search?

Next up was Google Search on my list. Google tracks every single search query and then also each of your next steps. Within a short time, Google knows in this way, what you were looking for, what search results you clicked on and finally what you did on this page. It's sometimes scary that Google is more likely to know about our user behavior than we think. WIRED wrote an exciting article about how we are getting tracked by Google. There are already some search engines on the market that do not track a single click from you.

Unfortunately, many do not provide numerous and accurate results that Google often provides. Startpage.com was the best solution in my opinion. The company is based in the Netherlands and has servers in the US as well as in the EU. Startpage will provide you with all search results you would have received with Google. However, with the small and subtle difference that not a single click is getting tracked. Once you do a search through Startpage, Google has no chance to continue to follow you online.

Google alternatives when it comes to search

Probably the best-known alternative to Google in terms of security is DuckDuckGo. Maybe you wonder now why I did not resort to this search. DuckDuckGo gets a lot of media attention and it turns out that they are safer than Google but not really better. Why? DuckDuckGo is based in America, has its servers there and is thus subject to the Patriot Act (as well as Google). In addition, they host on Amazon servers, which is not known to be the best solution for data security. For more information on this, I recommend the following blog post "I found this flaw in DuckDuckGo". So if you want to search Google privately and securely, you should rely on the service of Startpage.

Update 13.2.2020: Back in November 2019 Startpage got bought by System1, a company that focuses on targeted advertising. There hasn't been any statement about whether Startpage will still focus on their privacy-first approach. Therefore I would suggest using services like Qwant or Ecosia, which are both good private search engines.

How I tried to replace Gmail, and somehow succeeded

My email activities happen, as mentioned earlier, in Gmail. Accordingly, I also use a Gmail address. Google has long ago admitted that for advertising purposes, they monitored users' email activity. Since the 2017/18, Google stopped doing this espionage work. Third-party email clients, such as Spark, Edison, Newton, etc. can still read along with your emails. A report by the Wallstreet Journal revealed this fact (App developers sifting through your gmail). One company that was mentioned in the media over and over again was Return Path. It could be confirmed that the employees of this company have read over 8,000 emails of their users. Sadly, with services like Spark, user data is collected and eventually sold.

If you google for named email clients and add "privacy issues" to your search you will be overwhelmed with numerous results. If you want to securely write and manage emails, you should use the stock email apps of the respective operating systems. But what if I do not like the UX? Or do I need functions that many other email clients have implemented? At the time of writing this blog post, there is no real answer. Unless you take certain circumstances to complete.

Is this the safest email service? Introducing ProtonMail

During my search for an alternative for Gmail, I became aware of ProtonMail. ProtonMail is located in Switzerland. A country that has a very strict privacy policy. With ProtonMail all emails are encrypted end-to-end. If the recipient does not use ProtonMail, then you can add the encryption manually. The company was founded in 2013 by Jason Stockman, Andy Yen and Wei Sun. All of them are employees at the CERN research facility. With ProtonMail, you get a completely new email domain. If you want to use a custom domain, you have to pay for a ProtonMail Plus Account. ProtonMail is basically free.

Free but limited

However, the free version of the email provider has certain disadvantages. The memory amounts to 500 MB and 150 emails a day can be sent maximum. The paid subscriptions start at 5 € per month or 48 € per year. But you get 5 GB of memory, 1000 emails a day, 200 folders/labels, 1 custom domain, and normal support.

If you need more storage you can top it up for 1 € per month or 9 € per year per GB. Likewise, if you want to use more custom domains, you can buy them for $ 2 a month or $ 18 a year per domain. A memory of 500 MB is not much and will not be enough for most users. So someone who writes a little more emails than the average a day, already access the paid subscription. 5 GB are available for this. Compared to the 15 GB that everyone gets free at Gmail. In return, ProtonMail offers some security provisions. On the one hand, this includes the already mentioned end-to-end encryption.

Free does not mean free

In addition, ProtonMail has no access to your encrypted user data. The company uses proven and trusted algorithms for these encryptions. The hard drives used by ProtonMail are also fully encrypted and stored in secure data centers. So far so good. ProtonMail offers everything you are looking for when it comes to security in your emails. You realize how often the saying "If the product is free, you are the product" is true. Every time I discover a new email client that advertises, among other things, being free, the alarm bells ring. Because in most cases you pay with your personal data. So if you put a lot of emphasis on data security, you should be ready to pay for it. Because often it is smaller companies that try to fight against corporations like Google and to provide more security on the Internet.

Why I still have to use Gmail

With a new email via ProtonMail, however, I personally face another problem. I currently use Superhuman as my email client. Superhuman currently supports only Gmail and Gsuite accounts. Of course, I could use my new Custom Email from ProtonMail inside Gmail. Because over each Gmail account you can call up and send other emails. That happens, for whatever reason, with the deprecated service POP3. In addition, retrieving and sending emails via POP3 within Gmail does not really work in my favor. It is extremely slow and the emails are also retrieved irregularly. This situation "forced" me into a workflow that I appreciate more and more recently. My main smartphone is an Android Phone. S

Superhuman Mobile is currently only available on iOS. So I am not tempted to constantly look at my emails on my smartphone. I focus much more on my work and know, once I'm at home, I can handle all my emails on my MacBook with Superhuman. Of course, I use Gmail on my Android Phone and still have access to emails in emergencies on my smartphone. My basic plan is currently hosting my private emails via ProtonMail. In order to use my email client, I have to integrate these email addresses into existing Google accounts. As soon as Superhuman stops concentrating on Google and Gsuite accounts, but also offers the possibility to create IMAP accounts, there is no reason for me to use Gmail for my email traffic any more. Which also separates me from this Google service.

Alternatives for Google Docs & Google Sheets

I've never used Google Docs or Google Sheets great. Therefore, it was not difficult for me to find alternatives. If you're a hardcore Google Sheets user looking for an alternative, check out Airtable. Partly spreadsheets and partly databases, Airtable acts as an excellent tool to easily organize anything, with anyone, anywhere. Among other things, I use Airtable as a database for the content that I share in my weekly newsletter, Creativerly. So I always have the opportunity to check if I want to share something which I have posted before. If you want to know about my weekly newsletter you can check out my blog post about it. But now let's get back to some Google alternatives.

As for Google Docs, I prefer Notion. I was a year-long Evernote user. Until I finally switched to Notion a year ago. For me, Notion is an all-in-one workspace where everything comes together. I do not use it primarily as a simple notes app, as well as I've used Evernote. Rather, it serves as a project management tool to give structure to my projects. Of these notes can be a part. For quick and intuitive writing, however, Workflowy is my favorite. At the beginning of 2019, I started Bullet Journaling. Workflowy is based on a bulleting system, which makes it my absolute favorite for quick notes. So for my use-case Airtable and Notion are the perfect Google Alternatives, when it comes to Docs and Sheets.

Moving on to Cloud storage

As a cloud service, I use Dropbox. Google Drive was never my first choice as the Mac app "Backup & Sync" was extremely slow and took up a lot of my RAM. When it comes to privacy and security also Dropbox was already in the criticism. Still, Dropbox cloud storage is one of the safest. Over the past week, I wondered if I should not switch to an even safer option. The reason for this is the fact that I prefer the data and data centers of such services to be located in Europe, or even in my home country. Nextcloud provides an interesting alternative in this respect. Nextcloud provides free software that allows data to be stored on its own server.

It is a perfect alternative to commercial products such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive. By installing Nextcloud on a private server or webspace (which, happens at no extra cost), users are always in control of their data. When Frank Karlitschek announced Nextcloud as a fork of ownCloud on June 2, 2016, he aimed to make users independent of service providers on the Internet. We all know that many vendors market their users commercially. A certain privacy or data security is not given. Nextcloud enables completely own data sovereignty. Meanwhile, the Informationstechnikzentrum Bund (Germany), as well as authorities from France, Sweden, and the Netherlands are enthusiastic about this data sovereignty, so they use Nextcloud for the file exchange.

Conclusion

So I found an alternative for every single Google product I have used. Only to Gmail I still hold on. However, I am in good spirits that Superhuman will soon enable the use of other email services as well. As soon as this is possible, I can also turn my back on Gmail.

Just because I no longer use Google services does not mean that my data is protected on the Internet. However, I have made a huge step in the right direction. Let me know which Google alternatives you are using.


Disclaimer: My posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a penny more, but I'll get a small commission, which supports this blog and also my side-projects. So considering buying something through my links. Thank you!


You are a forward-thinking creative mind and you are interested in new apps, tools, software, resources to boost your workflow and productivity? Well, you should definitely consider subscribing to my weekly digest Creativerly. Every Sunday I drop you a nicely and carefully curated email, packed with useful tools, apps, software, resources, books, blog post, for creative folks. If you want to get a taste of it, you can scroll through the archive or just go ahead and subscribe.