A new logo, a new website, new software versions, and new features at mailbox.org
- New mailbox.org logo and new website
- The new mailbox.org Office 7.10
- Many new features at mailbox.org
- What we will be working on in the next few weeks
- Bottom line: Our promise to you
It's done – we are online!
We are extremely pleased to present to you our new brand identity and many new features. This is a major step for mailbox.org as a company and a boost for our mission to promote secure communication for everyone.
New logo and new website
The new logo is probably the most obvious change at mailbox.org. The new logo is modern with a stark elegance and replaces the old hand-drawn version. It has been designed to fulfil important requirements: memorability, readability, and suitability for use in online media. We hope you like it!
Our decision to change the colours of the website is the result of a longer process, in part driven by the feedback we received from our users, many of which did not like the previous colour scheme. Green was our first choice because this colour generally stands for many things that fit our image: Alternative, different, sustainable, and fresh. It is also many people's favourite colour and not yet used by any of the larger e-mail providers. It will therefore be useful for us to build up mailbox.org as a brand that people can easily memorise but also differentiate from others like Google, GMX, Web.de, or 1&1.
Green suits mailbox.org really well because we offer an alternative to the big providers and because we do things differently. Our loyality is with our customers and not with advertising partners. We protect your data, develop new features that facilitate secure communication, support projects and organisations that promote open source software and data protection, joined the fight against encroaching data retention laws in the German high court, use eco-friendly energy to power our offices and our server infrastructure, and our bank account is with the German bank for social economy. Just to name a few reasons.
The new website has been improved both visually and structurally. Things are now easier to find and we also wanted a new look and feel that includes visuals from our base location in Berlin. The business customer area has been properly integrated into the website and information is more clearly presented, so that prices are more transparent, for example.
The new mailbox.org Office 7.10
With the website relaunch, our mailbox.org Office comes with the new software version OX 7.10. There will be some significant changes, and we were working for six months to prepare the rollout. Implementing these changes was quite complex and kept one of our admin teams and our developers busy for several weeks in a row. To do this while also pushing forward a new website and brand relaunch is crazy but that is how things have panned out, time-wise, and our team has worked incredibly hard and managed to get everything done.
We are one of the first providers world-wide to run the new version and as such, the next weeks and months are also going to be a stress test of version 7.10. There was a phase of comprehensive testing before we went live, so we're not expecting massive problems – however, there are always surprises when a system like this goes live in a real environment with so many users. We therefore ask for your understanding should we discover a bug or two in the process that needs fixing. We at mailbox.org and our colleagues at OX are anxious to find out how the new version and its features will be received.
The new Office has many cool features for users to look forward to – here just in brief:
- The calendar application has been entirely reworked over a time period of one and a half years and many parts were comprehensively redeveloped. Doing so has solved many existing problems that were originally rooted in the previous code design. It is now possible and much easier to use several calendars, switch to a birthdays view, or subscribe to external data sources like public holiday or football calendars – to name a few.
Note: After enabling version 7.10 today, we still need to do a number of database updates before we can enable all new features. That means the full range of functionality will not be available right from the start but some time later (next Weekend). Thank you for your patience.
- In the new online office, windows now work similar to how they would on a desktop PC. So, it is not just possible to open those so-called „Flying Windows“, but also to change their size, or minimise and park them in the task bar. One can also have several windows open at the same time to work on several e-mail messages simultaneously, for example. All this makes the user experience much more similar to that of a non-web-based client program - give it a try!
- Also note the new start bar, through which users can now also access the mailbox.org settings menu.
- Web-chat/XMPP: Our XMPP server has received a total overhaul and now has the best-possible SSL/TLS security rating just like all our other services. Among the many new features is the chat encryption via OMEMO. We are proud to have achieved a clean score of 100% on the XMPP test platform. We thank Daniel Gultsch (Conversations app), Holger Weiß (ejabberd server) and JC Brand (web-chat system converse.js) for their help.
Please note: The web-chat integration into the mailbox.org Office has not been fully completed yet, so that currently, there won't be any notifications for new incoming messages in the task bar yet. We are also working to make it possible to display a chat window when users are doing other things in their office interface. For these reasons, the web-chat system currently still requires a separate login.
Many new features at mailbox.org
Our website relaunch also brings a number of new features, most of which are accessible through the settings:
- Digital heritage: Although this is a difficult topic that many would rather avoid thinking about, it is important that users decide during their lifetime what we should do with their account data and login credentials in the event of their death. This will give us clear guidance on how to act in their interest in our communication with heirs should the worst come to happen.
- Empty e-mail trash after 30 days. This feature has been on the wish list of many of our users. Normally, it is not a good idea to automatically delete mail messages on the server. However, we are prepared to make an exception for any e-mail messages that were moved to the trash – if you explicitly want and enable this feature in your settings. Please note that this will only affect IMAP folders with the name “Trash” (Which is the default name at mailbox.org, so the vast majority of our users don't need to worry about it).
- Encrypted Sent folder: Previously, it was technically not possible to encrypt the e-mails that were sent from an account residing in the “Sent” IMAP folder. We have now found a solution for this and as of today, the Sent folder can be fully PGP-encrypted. Please note this change and be aware that for technical reasons, it may take up to two hours for a PGP key that was enabled for the Inbox folder to be available for the Sent folder.
- Learning spam filter: Our new office introduces the button “Report Spam”, which has the effect that the affected e-mail will be moved into the spam folder. This then helps the spam filter to recognise similar messages more easily, which increases the detection rate. This “training” process is local to each account, because one man's regular e-mails are another man's spam. In other words, each account will only ever train their own spam filter, so that there won't be any unwanted interference with other mailbox.org users.
Please take care when using this feature and do not report e-mails that you would not normally consider spam (such as regular newsletters), as this would cause undesirable side effects.
- Have-I-been-Pwned: Whenever someone becomes victim of a phishing attack, it is only a matter of time until their e-mail address and account login will be offered for sale on dubious trading platforms. If this happens, it won't take long and criminals take over the account. They can then retrieve any usable information from the user's e-mails, or use the account to send spam e-mails from within the mailbox.org network. The project „haveibeenpwnd.com“ helps our users to check if their e-mail address has been hi-jacked this way. Through our cooperation with them, we at mailbox.org are able to collect this information and directly alert our users with a warning message. Note: Currently, this will only work for @mailbox.org e-mail addresses – however, we are working with our friends at haveibeenpwnd.com to expand alerts for those who use custom domains names with mailbox.org.
- Guard or Mailvelope? Our users have different preferences when it comes to PGP encryption. One group think the best solution is to use our Guard application that stores the PGP key securely on our systems. The other group prefers to use the browser plug-in Mailvelope to store the key locally – even though security experts have expressed security concerns about doing so: The plug-in area of web browsers is not considered a safe place for storing private crypto keys. Whatever your preference, we will continue to offer the two alternatives and allow users to switch between the two variants. However, do note that only one mechanism can be active at any time. Also: Always back up your private key from Guard before attempting a switch to Mailvelope.
What we will be working on in the next few weeks
Are you missing anything that we should have announced? Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to implement all the items from our users' wish lists in parallel. We have also deliberately delayed the release of certain features because these require substantial changes in our system configuration, which would have clashed with the other elements of the relaunch.
The following items are currently being implemented:
- Relaunch afterworks: There will be adjustments in the visual presentation of various frontend elements, including the support portal, user forum, our social media accounts, knowledge base, and billing.
- Team-Mail: In the next few weeks, our family account will be upgraded to a team account, and receive new user management features as well as a new billing option that allows split payments for individual accounts. With this, we are delivering on a request that was frequently put to us in the user forum in the past. On the website, the team account is already present, however we will need a bit more time for finishing the implementation of the user management part.
- A new helpdesk portal: We are still not happy with the current state of the new helpdesk portal. Important planned changes and usability improvements are still not finished because the relaunch has required us to focus on other parts of mailbox.org in the previous months. However, there has been progress and an internal test system has been running for a few weeks with which we prepare the relaunch of our helpdesk. We can't wait to see the day when the system finally goes online and delivers the quick, practical, and helpful service that we would have wanted to see right from the beginning.
- Different themes and colours: Not everyone liked our old colour scheme, and we are aware that not everyone may like our new green look of things. As soon as our graphics designers are finished with website relaunch afterworks, they will explore any options with which we could possibly provide additional colour schemes, including the old orange colour.
- DKIM key management: In our latest development, we have turned the DKIM key management system for custom domain names on its head. The idea is that it shouldn't be the user who uploads DKIM keys to our system, as this is prone to errors. Wouldn't it be much better and safer if the system generated individual DKIM keys for each domain and then offered a download link for the key? While this doesn't have much relevance for many ordinary users, there are advanced and business users who need to publish DKIM keys in their DNS.
We have a few other things in the pipeline but do not want to reveal too much about these just yet, only that these are features that are also very close to our heart. ;-)
There are a few feature additions that we would like to see in the mailbox.org Office. We used our visit to the Open Xchange conference „OX Summit“ in Rome in September this year to discuss possible implementation approaches with our colleagues of OX. We are now looking forward to digging further into the details and making it happen, thereby also contributing to the further development of OX.
The bottom line: Our promise to you.
We maintain our promise to work towards facilitating free and secure communication for everyone and to protect your private data. Although our look is new after the relaunch, our prices, tariffs, and basic services have not changed.
We look forward to receiving your feedback in the user forum, on Twitter, or through your next support ticket.
Thank you for your trust,
Peer Heinlein and the team at mailbox.org