ProtonMail and Google are in the midst of an altercation. Shortly put, the encryption-savvy company says that Google may have attempted to affect the way ProtonMail shows up in search results.
ProtonMail has been attracting more users with its encrypted service. The user base of the company has been increasing steadily and now has approximately one million users from around the world.This steady growth was affected drastically when ProtonMail literally vanished from Google search results. And it’s been like that for 10 months.
In August, ProtonMail tweeted that they know that Google is intentionally hiding ProtonMail from search results. The privacy-savvy company also said that they had proof of a major bug over at Google and that all previous contact attempts have been ignored.
Furthermore, the encrypted email service says that Google buried them for search queries such as “secure email” and “encrypted email”.
What does ProtonMail exactly say?
The short summary is that for nearly a year, Google was hiding ProtonMail from search results for queries such as ‘secure email’ and ‘encrypted email’. This was highly suspicious because ProtonMail has long been the world’s largest encrypted email provider.
By the summer of 2015, ProtonMail had more than a million users and was the world’s most popular secure email service. ProtonMail was also ranking well in Google search at this time, on the first or second page of most queries including “encrypted email” and “secure email”, ProtonMail says. However, by the end of October 2015, the situation had changed dramatically, and ProtonMail was mysteriously no longer showing up for searches of their two main keywords.
Interestingly, in April 2015 the European Commission formally charged Google with violating EU competition law by abusing its dominance in search to get an advantage over competitors.
What did Google do?
Google had to respond to the accusations, and it did by vaguely saying they “fixed something”. What happened is that after this mysterious “fix” ProtonMail’s search ranking was restored to normal.
“Without any additional explanation from Google, we may never know why ProtonMail became unranked. In any case, we do appreciate Google finally taking action to resolve the issue, we just wished it happened sooner”, ProtonMail adds.