Migrating from Gmail to FastMail: part 2

In my last blog post, I explained the complexity of my email setup before I began the migration from Gmail to FastMail. Although I will move on to explaining how I did the migration, I thought I should briefly touch on why I did it.

Gmail is powerful, full-featured, very robust, and most importantly…it is free. Why would anyone want to move away from this premium email service?


When you don’t pay for a service or app, you can’t necessarily expect any problems you encounter to be dealt with any sense of urgency. It is true that Gmail doesn’t exactly break very often, but what if you needed help or feedback on a particular issue that might only be of relevance to you? If you pay for a service like FastMail, then you get fast and effective support [1].

Privacy and security

It is no surprise that Google’s business model relies on advertising. They not only want to generate revenue by putting ads across all of their products, they also want to benefit from all of the information that they have gleaned about their users.

Although you may never notice or care about the personalized adverts that can appear in Gmail, since last March Google has effectively started sharing your personal data across all of their products and services. Although their privacy policy initially suggests that they do not share this information without your consent, they allow sharing to ‘affiliates … and trusted businesses’ for the vaguely defined category of ‘external processing’:

Privacy concerns such as this are among the chief criticisms of Gmail.

The future

Google experiments with lots of different products and increasingly they are honing down their portfolio to a smaller number of (revenue-generating) services. They have discontinued more services than most companies will ever launch. Many of these are products that you will have never heard of, but closure of services like the popular Google Reader sparked outrage across the web[2].

Although it seems unfathomable that Google would kill off Gmail, it can’t be assumed that Google will not introduce changes that limits the functionality of Gmail or annoys users in other ways (e.g. more ads).


Companies that charge a fair price for a service can use their revenue to provide you, the user, with all the support and help that you need. They also don’t need to look at your emails to mine personal information for the purpose of selling you stuff.

Also, companies not based in the USA may not have to hand over their data to organizations like the NSA [3].

  1. I’ve already had my first FastMail support request submitted and dealt with…all within 24 hours.  ↩

  2. Though if you don’t pay anything for a product, I’m not sure that such outrage is justified?  ↩

  3. FastMail is an Australian company and have been very upfront about where they stand with respect to situations such as NSA requests for information. This is not a big reason why I have switched to FastMail, but I appreciate their openness on the matter.  ↩