How can we improve ProtonMail?

The ability to search the contents of emails, not just the Subject

It is a deal killer for business use to not be able to search the contents of emails Vs just subject titles. Combine that with the TERRIBLE conversation thread that will not open ALL messages at the same time and PM may be doing great engineering but poor client business development.

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    EclecticEclectic shared this idea  ·   ·  Admin →

    25 comments

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      • Anonymous commented  · 

        The searching would have to be done client-side. PM doesn't have access to the content of your emails, so they can't do searches over the content.

        Fully homomorphic encryption isn't anywhere near efficient enough for practical application yet, so there is no way PM could provide you this service on their end.

        However, if you were willing to download and locally store all of your emails on your own machine, then the searching could be done on the client side.

      • Tim UnderwoodTim Underwood commented  · 

        Would be a great feature, but encryption > search every time.

      • Mike DMike D commented  · 

        The longer I've been using protonmail the more the searching is upsetting.

        I can't find anything, because searching is so limited.

      • HartHart commented  · 

        Would like this and don't see any way it could work. I suppose a VM could be created behind a firewall, all my mail decrypted, the search completed, and everything but the matching mail identifiers purged? I like the encryption more than the search.

      • Anonymous commented  · 

        Further thought.... there are usually 3 of us that are logged into one gmail account through the day from 3 different machines. Not sure how that would work with downloading a local copy of email - maybe configuring one download file/folder and having access from multiple computers into that one account?? Lots to think about.

      • Anonymous commented  · 

        As the "tech guy" at a small law firm that is looking to move from gmail to something secure, I just noticed this thread and thought, "of course". Can't assume! Searching content is a necessity. from my perspective, the encryption on email should apply to everything outside of my computer. Once the email is in my computer, I am not so concerned with encryption. I'd be happy to download the mail (i.e. always downloaded and updated in real-time) - either all of it or a subset (perhaps date delimited) - and then have it searchable by the local client.

      • DeeDee commented  · 

        Searchable is key for me to use PM for work as my chains get get long and subjects don't always get updated. I understand the need to download or place into ram just to search but if PM offered an encryption key for you, the user and you did set a search criteria they could filter emails to your PM(drive) to search as cache. That gets purged after closing the search window or logging out.

      • RaymondRaymond commented  · 

        The best way I can think of for doing this is to download the last x number of emails, decrypt them, and search through that. Then have a link to "keep searching" or something which would download another chunk and search them. Obviously make this work with the advanced search so people can limit it as much as they know to start with.

      • AlfonsoAlfonso commented  · 

        It's a miracle that you can search by subject given they should be encrypted. What does not make sense is to search by content... because they are encrypted!

        You simply can't search what you can't read! Unless they cache your encripted emails in your browser to search on them. But it is not reasonable to download all your inbox to search on it whenever you want to search...

        I find this feature not reasonable given this :\

        And that is why the subjects are VERY important.

        I hope I am wrong.

      • Andrew PAndrew P commented  · 

        Love the idea of this feature.

      • II commented  · 

        My ancient gmail account uses 4GB of storage, with attachments. Even that I could easily fit into RAM for searching. The downside is that I'd have to download all of the mails every time I want to search.

        So I guess the only feasible way would be to have the mails unencrypted in an offline client, which is a lot of work (note how no competitor has an offline desktop client).

        I guess proper labeling gains in importance when you lose the comfort of search.

      • J.J. commented  · 

        Would love to see this feature added.

      • TonyTony commented  · 

        Everybody wants this. Even if it's only the desktop option.

        It's hard to search for emails right now.

      • Shelly CarpenterShelly Carpenter commented  · 

        lol @ the person who said this is "easy to do with encrypted indexes".

      • Anonymous commented  · 

        Keep in mind this ultimately needs to be doable from a mobile device. That is a tall order--there are major limits to what can be accomplished in terms of client side indexing.

        I'm no expert but I still think this would be very tough (but very impressive) to implement!

      • CarlosCarlos commented  · 

        It's not until you test out protonmail for a few weeks or a month that you see limitations. If I'm going to use protonmail for years, then I need to be able to search the body.

        I would actually rather be able to search for emails than just have more storage for premium service.

      • DrewDrew commented  · 

        Agree, I understand PM is working on improving search. They should make this a priority. (Alternatively, adding ability to download to a desktop client where emails would reside in plain text and subject to easy searching would be an acceptable work-around for many.) Let's give PM time to evolve and keep supporting with paid accounts or donations.

      • JamesJames commented  · 

        This would be a nice feature

      • BartBart commented  · 

        Pllllllllleeeeeeeease do it !!!! There has to be content search. Additionally conversation thread really has to be improved as soon as possible. Thanks guys. :)

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