Proton acquires encrypted note-taking app Standard Notes

Apr 11, 2024

Proton has announced that it has completed the acquisition of the encrypted note-taking app, Standard Notes. The company says that the privacy-focused

Proton has been expanding its portfolio steadily overtime, evolving from an email service. It has a VPN service called ProtonVPN, a cloud storage service in the form of Proton Drive, and Proton Calendar which as the name indicates can be used for organizing your schedule. Proton launched its own password manager service, Proton Pass, last year. All of these services have a free tier with limited features and storage space, which is pretty cool, and if you like them, you may want to take a look at the premium subscriptions.

Proton acquires Standard Notes

Proton's acquisition of Standard Notes isn't surprising, after all, privacy-focused tools have been the company's forte. Some users had even been requesting for a Proton Notes app, I guess their wish has now been granted. The company acquired the email alias service, SimpleLogin, in 2022, and has continued to support it as a standalone service.

I remember when Proton introduced its cloud storage and calendar, many users were complaining about the apps. They were pointing out that it lacks some features that were available on other services. Another issue that users had was the lack of proper apps for desktop platforms, which the company addressed by releasing the Proton Mail app for Windows, macOS, and Linux (beta). That's not going to be a problem this time around, because Proton does not have to start from scratch.

Standard Notes debuted in 2017, and has over 300,000 users. It has polished apps with lots of features, albeit some of them are locked behind a paywall. The note-taking service also has dedicated apps for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS. And, if you prefer using it from your browser, you can just access the service's web app. You can even self-host it on your own server.

The desktop app can be used offline without an account, and you should set up a passcode lock from the app's Menu > Security to encrypt the data locally on your device. If you want your data to sync across devices, you will need to sign up for a free account, it supports end-to-end encryption, although it is limited to plain text notes and a measly 100MB of note storage.

Standard Notes' apps are open source, the company has been audited by third-parties 4 times, the last one dating to 2022. There is one thing that I don't like about it, the premium subscriptions of Standard Notes are not wallet-friendly, and it's going to stay that way. $90 for a year's plan is rather expensive, wouldn't you agree?

Proton's announcement confirms that the prices are not changing, and that all current subscriptions will be honored. I expect Standard Notes will be bundled into Proton Unlimited, which I think is probably the reason why the company acquired the note-taking app. Proton also says that Standard Notes will remain open source, freely available and fully supported. I mean, they did the same thing after acquiring SimpleLogin, it is available via its own website, so this is a good thing.

There aren't any proper alternatives for Standard Notes, aside from Joplin, which I reviewed 5 years ago.

Which note-taking app do you use?

Article Name
Proton acquires encrypted note-taking app Standard Notes
Proton AG has announced that it has acquired Standard Notes.
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  1. Carl said on April 30, 2024 at 11:38 pm

    I use Joplin connected to a webDAV service in Murana and works like charm. I do agree on paying for the services we use, but some costs are unreal.

    I have a paid Proton account, but like with their password app, even if it’s included in the subscription I don’t plan to use it.

  2. Torin Doyle said on April 12, 2024 at 11:16 am

    A good move!

  3. VioletMoon said on April 12, 2024 at 12:18 am

    Love Proton and the apparent quality, but the prices are exorbitant for any service they offer. I stick with a mini-free email account and occasionally use the free server VPN–oddly, whenever I do use the free server VPN, my Spam box is flooded for three or four days.

    When they send their promotional emails to my recovery account, which is a bit like a MS ploy, I see prices, compare to other available services, and think no way! Maybe 50% higher across the board.

  4. Anonymous said on April 11, 2024 at 10:12 pm

    Imagine wasting money on a note taking service.

  5. Clairvaux said on April 11, 2024 at 8:31 pm

    I use Cinta Notes, which is a Russian desktop program. It has none of that online “subscription” malarkey. I use it every day. Unfortunately, its development has stopped a long while ago.

    Standard Notes is hideously expensive. I guess it’s only meant for Silicon Valley types, or developers who make loads of money. The free plan is very limited. You can’t even bolden your text, there aren’t any folders and storage is limited to a puny 100 MB.

    The Proton Mail strategy seems to be the following :

    – Become the Google of encrypted services.

    – Offer a limited free plan for all its services, in order to burnish its socialist and anti-corporation credentials. The official blog post by Andy Yen announcing the acquisition does not even say Proton bought Standard Notes. This would not look good to its anti-corporation clientele.

    – Position itself firmly on the higher end of the market for paid plans, with quite expensive services, making money out of customers who are themselves horrible capitalists by their own standards, but pretend to hate capitalism.

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