Product Designer & front-end Developer

Towards privacy-first email

Many of you might have noticed the loud noise hey.com, the new player in the email space, is making these days. They claim to be "a redo, a rethink, a simplified, potent reintroduction of email".

I was lucky enough to get an invite to test it and (spoiler alert) decided that I'm not going to pay for it. Not because it's not a good product (I wrote about what I think of the UI here), but 99 bucks a year it's rather expensive for someone who lives in a developing country.

Hey it's an independent company that doesn't sell ads or mine your data, and that's probably more than enough for you to move away from Gmail and pay $99/year to them. Their security protocol pretty solid, but they can still read your emails. Surprised? Gmail, Apple, Yahoo!, etc., can do that as well.

A screenshot from Hey.com's FAQs, answering 'Technically, yes' to the question 'Can you read my emails?'.
A screenshot from Hey.com's FAQs, answering "Technically, yes" to the question "Can you read my emails?".

How would you feel if you find your correspondence, e-commerce purchases, or your food delivery could be opened and reviewed by anyone before it gets to your home? I'm not sure about you, but I'd feel violated.

The truth is that it's pretty hard to ensure that you and only you can read your emails on such a wild west space like email is. ProtonMail) is almost alone in this quest for end-to-end email encryption, and they have my respect (and my money) for that fearsome endeavor.

But there's one thing I'm grateful to Hey.com, and it's demystifying the fact that Gmail is "free". Sure, you get an email account (good luck with finding a suitable one if you have a rather common name, like Juan García is in the Hispanic/Latino Community 😅) without credit card details, but you pay with your personal data. That's expensive, Hey says, and I couldn't agree more with that.