Leaving Google Mail and ecosystem in 2022
August 14, 2022 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I have been meaning to migrate my personal email and calendars from Google for a while...but I keep being intimidated by figuring out the logistics. I'm hoping the hive mind can help!

I currently have an @gmail.com personal email address and Google calendar that I use extensively. The calendar is shared with my spouse, who also has an @gmail.com personal email. My goal is just to migrate myself without necessarily moving my spouse, but we'd be open to moving both if it can be non-disruptive enough.

We are part of several ecosystems. Our primary means of interaction with our mail and calendars is iPhones. We both have an iCloud account; mine is paid while spouse has the default version. I also have a family Microsoft 365 account, though spouse has not used that ever.

I have a personal domain that we could use for email addresses.

My biggest question marks are around email services (do we have to use a paid service like Fastmail for reasonable deliverability and spam filtering), transferring data and re-setting up devices (so, e.g., spouse can add an event to one our our shared calendars and it will show up on my phone), and identifying/moving logins that are based on the old @gmail.com addresses.
posted by philosophygeek to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you can clarify why you are leaving GMail it might help people give advice.
posted by sindark at 10:18 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


do we have to use a paid service like Fastmail for reasonable deliverability and spam filtering

That's what I chose to do, at least partly because I wanted to be a customer to my email provider; free-tier Gmail users are not Google's customers but its livestock, and Google treats them accordingly.

On reflection I would have to rate this as the second-best IT-related choice I've ever made. Fastmail has given me no grief at all in the eight years I've been using it.

so, e.g., spouse can add an event to one our our shared calendars and it will show up on my phone

Fastmail calendar sharing

identifying/moving logins that are based on the old @gmail.com addresses

Simplest way is not to bother. If you leave your Gmail account alive and just have it forward everything to your new account, then you can deal with subsequent communications arriving that way as and when they happen, which might involve logging onto a service provider and changing the email address registered in your profile.

You might strike the occasional particularly boneheaded provider that insists you must keep on using the email address you initially signed up with as your user ID with them, and you might want to consider either switching to somebody less braindead or setting up fresh accounts with those.

Next simplest is to do an explicit search of your KeePass passwords database for "@gmail.com" and work through the search results one by one. If you're not already relying on KeePass or something at least as good and preferably compatible as the authoritative source of truth for all of your login credentials rather than leaving them scattered across the saved-passwords features of multiple browsers and devices and providers, the best time to start doing so was twenty years ago and the next best time is right now.

I started fifteen years ago and rate this as easily the best IT-related choice I've ever made. The initial habit-forming process was kind of a pain in the arse but no more so than I'd been expecting and it often feels good to know that every password on every account is unique and machine-generated and too complex for any conceivable cracker to regenerate, that I can never accidentally lose access to any of the hundreds of online accounts I now have stored in that thing, and that when I die the people I leave behind will retain access to all that stuff as well. There is no substitute for good security software.
posted by flabdablet at 10:48 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


I'm working on migrating from Google to the Proton ecosystem. It's quite robust and offers mail, calendar, drive, and a nice VPN. You can poke around with the free version, and if you like it then you can upgrade to the paid version (which is what I have). Their calendar has just moved out of beta, but the other apps are quite robust, are cross-platform, and can be taught to play well with others. In particular, you can indeed use your own domain for email addresses.

The advice from flabdablet is spot-on; to make the transition as painless as possible, make it as gradual as possible. My only difference is that at some point I'll be closing my gmail accounts permanently; the entire reason why I'm (slowly) leaving gmail is because I'm tired of having all my information and emails harvested by google for advertising or worse.

As the old adage goes, "if you're not the customer, you're the product", and as the other one goes, "If you want nice things, you have to pay for them". At this late stage of the internet, I wouldn't trust anything that you're not paying cash for, because you're either paying in cash or paying in personal information.
posted by fuzzy.little.sock at 11:38 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


My only difference is that at some point I'll be closing my gmail accounts permanently; the entire reason why I'm (slowly) leaving gmail is because I'm tired of having all my information and emails harvested by google for advertising or worse.

That was my plan as well to begin with, but I've simply never got around to it.

My Gmail auto-fowarding rule deletes the forwarded mails as it goes, so my Gmail account is not building up a steadily growing corpus of forwarded mails to be subject to all the exciting and innovative new information harvesting techniques that Google undoubtedly never stops developing.

Also, because 99.99% of all the mail I actually care about does now arrive directly in my Fastmail account without visiting Gmail along the way, pretty much all of what Google does get to see flowing through my Gmail account is the same sewer of spam that goes to everybody. I'm probably chaffing Google's AI more than teaching it anything about me at this point, and am not strongly motivated to stop.
posted by flabdablet at 12:21 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I am not as far along in a similar process. So far, I have just started using my iCloud address, and just download my mail to a client rather than using webmail. I don’t imagine ever completely closing the Gmail account (so many logins use it!), but gradually migrating from actively using it. So far, so good.
posted by snofoam at 6:22 AM on August 15


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