Superhuman email client shuts down location tracking after massive criticism

By Shaheryar Ehsan on
July 5, 2019
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A popular mailing startup called Superhuman has shut down location tracking and other features that could potentially endanger the privacy of a user. The buzz behind Superhuman is the $30 per month price tag but that’s not stopping Silicon Valley companies from signing up for the service. They claim to offer the “fastest email experience ever made” and currently it has a waiting list of more 180,000 people.

Emails sent through the Superhuman client had a pixel attached by default which you can consider similar to Mail-Track which many people use on Gmail. The pixel can tell you when the receiver opened the email and viewed the images, how many times you viewed and where you viewed them. And that is exactly where the problem started.

The feature, in essence, can be misused because every time you open the email, you are letting the other person know about your whereabouts which is a potential privacy risk. After massive complaints, Superhuman CEO Rahul Vohra has announced that they are taking down location tracking in a blogpost whose highlights you can see below:

  • We have stopped logging location information for new email, effective immediately.
  • We are releasing new app versions today that no longer show location information.
  • We are deleting all historical location data from our apps.
  • We are keeping the read status feature, but turning it off by default. Users who want it will have to explicitly turn it on.
  • We are prioritizing building an option to disable remote image loading.

So essentially now you have something like a robust Gmail client and you have to integrate Mail-Track yourself. Superhuman is primarily aimed for people who spend more than 3 hours on their email every day and as you can see in the image above, it offers a near chat-like experience which we have never seen before in any other email client. It raised $33 million in an investment round backed by popular venture capitalists last month which shows the hype surrounding the service.

Would you be willing to pay $30 per month to improve your emailing experience?

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