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Proton acquires Standard Notes to add another tool to its growing portfolio

Proton now owns the open-source end-to-end encrypted note-taking app, Standard Notes.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Privacy startup Proton already offers an email app, a VPN tool, cloud storage, a password manager, and a calendar app. In April 2022, Proton acquired SimpleLogin, an open-source product that generates email aliases to protect inboxes from spam and phishing. Today, Proton acquired Standard Notes, advancing its already strong commitment to the open-source community.

Standard Notes is an open-source note-taking app, available on both mobile and desktop platforms, with a user base of over 300,000. Proton founder and CEO Andy Yen wrote in the official announcement, "Everything we create always takes longer and is more complex than it would be if we did it without focusing on privacy, and we generally have to do it with fewer resources. This also makes it a path that we walk alone as few other teams share our commitment to privacy and community and, therefore, understand the unique challenges we face day after day."

Also: Proton Mail is making a serious case to be my next Linux email client

Privacy is a big deal to Proton. The end-to-end encryption of Standard Notes means that any sensitive data contained within ensures that information will only be accessible by the user. According to Yen, "This really makes Standard Notes complementary to the Proton ecosystem of services, and it is one that we have long used ourselves and are excited to introduce to the Proton community."

Yen makes a point of stating that Standard Notes will remain open-source, will continue to undergo independent audits, will continue to develop new features and updates, and that prices for the app/service will not change. Standard Notes has three tiers: Free, which includes 100MB of storage, offline access, and unlimited device sync; Productivity for $90 per year, which includes features like markdown, spreadsheets with advanced formulas, Daily Notebooks, and two-factor authentication; and Professional for $120 per year, which includes 100GB of cloud storage, sharing for up to five accounts, no file limit size, and more.

Although Yen didn't mention any specific plans, he did say that Proton hopes to find ways to make Standard Notes easily accessible to the Proton community. Whether that means the app will be rolled into Proton Mail remains to be seen. Given Yen's statement that Proton believes in "putting people ahead of profits," whatever the company does with Standard Notes should hopefully be good for all involved.

In the Standard Notes blog post, the company promised that "Standard Notes will continue to operate independently as a separate product while leveraging Proton's resources and experience to improve reliability and resilience for the long run."

You can read more about the acquisition in the official Proton announcement as well as the official Standard Notes announcement.

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