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Proton Docs: A Private Alternative to Google Docs

Proton Docs, now available within Proton Drive, closely resembles Google Docs. It features white pages, a formatting toolbar at the top, and live indicators showing who is in the document with their name attached to a cursor. This similarity isn’t surprising for a couple of reasons. First, Google Docs is very popular, and there are limited ways to design a document editor. Second, Proton Docs aims to provide the same benefits as Google Docs but without Google’s involvement.

Proton’s Growing Suite of Tools

Proton started as an email client but has expanded to include a calendar, file storage system, password manager, and more. Adding Docs to its suite of tools makes sense as Proton tries to compete with Microsoft Office and Google Workspace. This move was anticipated after Proton acquired Standard Notes in April. However, Standard Notes isn’t going away; Proton Docs is simply borrowing some features from it.


Features and Future Plans

The initial version of Proton Docs includes essential features like rich text options, real-time collaborative editing, and multimedia support. It’s currently web-only and optimized for desktop, but Proton plans to expand to other platforms. According to Proton PR manager Will Moore, their goal is to match all the features that Google offers.

Security and Privacy

As with all Proton products, security is a priority. Every document, keystroke, and cursor movement in Proton Docs is end-to-end encrypted in real time. Proton has always promised not to sell or misuse user data, which may attract more users concerned about their information being used to train AI models. While Google also claims not to use user content for training its models, Proton’s strong privacy stance is a key differentiator.

Challenges Ahead

Proton is one of many companies offering privacy-focused alternatives to Google and Microsoft, but none have significantly challenged their dominance yet. However, Proton’s products have improved significantly in recent years, bringing it closer to providing all the tools some users might need to switch. One notable absence is a spreadsheet tool, which would be essential for competing with Excel.


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