One of the things I futz about is that occasionally I’ve gotten really interested in the awesome “conversations” interface in Gmail and I take a bunch of steps to put myself into a gmail universe, setting up clever filters to allow this to be redundant with my other email accounts, all that kind of thing.
I think I’ve finally put all that behind me, and having put it behind me, I thought it might be a good time to take all of my private email back from Google, to the degree they’ll let me. So over the past week I’ve been downloading it all. I’ve got Gmail set up to work as a pop mailbox, with it set to “delete mail after I download it.” So it’s been sluuuuurping down all the mail I’ve shoofed into it over the years, directly and indirectly, and dropping it in the “Trash” on the server (I just emptied the trash… there’s no going back!)
This turns out to be timely. Two exploits against gmail have been reported in the past week (here and here), and there’s an interesting account of what you can do if someone compromises your gmail account here (answer: nothing).
(If you’ve got my gmail address and are worried about email getting to me, don’t worry — I’ve got a forward set up.)
Not that Gmail is any worse than any other huge free service provider. I’m sure yahoo mail or hotmail or whatever have their own vulnerabilities, and similarly don’t give a crap about you if something bad happens to your account. (Yahoo especially is notoriously impossible to contact if you have a problem or complaint.) It just seems like it’s Google’s week in the spotlight, the week I happen to have bailed out of them.
I’m going to depend on fastmail.fm as my primary email provider. I pay them, so they’ve got a motivation to take care of me if anything goes wrong, and they just seem overall to be Good People.