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FairEmail

FairEmail status

Status and frequently asked questions about FairEmail in the Play Store.


Summary

There are currently no problems.

See the timeline below for details.

July 20, 2022 – August 30, 2022

Problem:
OAuth token grant rate limit exceeded for Gmail accounts.

Quick summary:
Google Cloud support fixed the problem.

May 18, 2022 – June 23, 2022

Problem:
After a recent review, we found that your app FairEmail is not compliant with one or more of our Developer Program Policies.

Quick summary:
Google has contacted me directly on its own initiative to resolve the issue.

Thanks for all the support!


Timeline

August 30, 2022
Google Cloud support fixed the problem.

August 9, 2022
Google Cloud support responded with:

"I am team manager for the GCP support and I will be taking care of this case on priority.
Apologies for the delay and inconvenience caused . We are working on this case on behalf of an Engineer as she is out of office.
We have provided the necessary details to the Engineering team to increase OAuth tokens. We are actively monitoring the update from the Engineering team for this issue and provide you the details at the earliest.
"

August 4, 2022
Google Cloud support responded after requesting more information with:

"In response to your query, I've been working on your issue and while checking the issue internally and to troubleshoot further on this issue, I have requested our internal team to look into the issue.
We generally hear from our internal team in 2-3 business days but I will keep you posted with any information received from them. I will get back to you with an update on the issue on or before 06:00 PM UTC , 6th Aug, 2022.
Please be assured that this issue is treated on priority and the resolution will be proposed sooner. I will keep you posted with all the updates on the progress of our team on this issue.
"

August 3, 2022
I subscribed to Google Cloud support and made a case about the token grant limit.

August 3, 2022
I again asked for the token grant rate limit to be increased and an increase of 10,000 tokens/day was granted but not actually applied, which happened before. However, this increase is not enough to cover all peaks, which require at least an increase of 30,000 tokens/day. So I asked to actually apply the increase and to further increase the token grant rate limit.

August 2, 2022
The token grant rate again inexplicably exceeded the allocated limit. I asked again to increase the limit and the answer was again:

"Thank you for reaching out. Looks like you already have sufficient OAuth tokens for the project requested as shown here [link to Google cloud console]."

Token grant rate limit peaked

July 29, 2022
I received a response from European Commission, DG Competition - Unit C3, Antitrust - IT, Internet and Consumer electronics:

"... the information that you have provided us does not allow us to infer an infringement of EU competition rules. First, the market on which Google is presumably dominant would have to be defined precisely. Second, undertakings, even dominant, are in principle free to define the terms of use of their products and services, and are not obliged to provide access to their products and services, save in certain circumstances which, based on the information provided, do not seem to apply."

July 29, 2022
To cope with the next spike (this spike was ~88,500 tokens/day), I asked for a conservative limit of 90,000 tokens/hour and got the same answer again:

"Thank you for reaching out. Looks like you already have sufficient OAuth tokens for the project requested as shown here [link to Google cloud console]."

I used the OAuth Feedback Form to complain about this, which is probably another black hole.

July 26, 2022
As the token grant rate has inexplicably dropped to normal levels, the app has been reinstated in the Play Store.

Token grant rate limit stabilized

July 26, 2022
The OAuth feedback team responded with:

"Thank you for reaching out to Google and we apologize for the inconvenience this issue with your daily OAuth quota has caused. This support channel unfortunately do not have a resolution to your issue. We do have a few suggestions, but you may consider sending the same information to General Support. In case it helps, if the OAuth Quota link is not resolving your issue and you are calling YouTube API scopes you may need to re-apply using the YouTube API Quota link instead. We hope you resolve your issue soon."

That is clear, but not very useful.

July 26, 2022
Today I received the exact same response from Google as yesterday:

"Thank you for reaching out. Looks like you already have sufficient OAuth tokens for the project requested as shown here [link to Google cloud console]."

Since an email app that cannot be used for Gmail is not an email app given the dominance of Gmail, this is more than problematic. Since the problem is not recognized and the same answer was repeated, I have filed a complaint with the EU for abusive behavior (according to article 12).

July 25, 2022
Today I received this response as a result of the request to increase the token grant rate limit:

"Thank you for reaching out. Looks like you already have sufficient OAuth tokens for the project requested as shown here [link to Google cloud console]."

The token grant rate peaked at over 88,500, so I don't see how a limit of 60,000 can be sufficient.
So the only choice I have for now is to keep the app out of the Play Store.

July 21, 2022
I am forced to remove the app from the Play Store again because the app exceeds the OAuth token grant rate limit for Gmail accounts again.

Token grant rate limit exceeded

July 20, 2022
The app has been reinstated in the Play Store after the token grant rate fell below the limit again.

July 20, 2022
I am forced to remove the app from the Play Store again because the app exceeds the OAuth token grant rate limit for Gmail accounts. Exceeding this limit means no new Gmail accounts can be configured. Of course, a request has been made to increase the limit, but this takes about five working days, which in practice means that after a week there will be a follow-up email with questions. Emails will be sent back and forth and eventually there will be a small increase until the next time there is a problem. The last time a limit increase was requested was on June 18, 2021 and the limit was increased by 20,000 tokens/day on July 16, 2021. That's enough for about 800 users for an app with over 500,000 downloads ...

Google limits the number of users of the app in this way, which they say themselves literally: "Token grant rates limit how quickly your application can get new users". This is in my opinion abusive behavior according to EU Article 102, because there are no such limits for the Gmail app. Moreover, all tokens are related to an account, so if there is abuse or a security issue, the account should be blocked and not the app. For this reason, I am considering filing a complaint with the EU.

Token grant rate limit exceeded

June 23, 2022
The app has finally been evaluated and approved by Google.

June 22, 2022
Response to the appeal: "Thanks for contacting the Google Play team. I've received your appeal and I appreciate your patience while I look into it. I'll let you know as soon as I have any additional information to share. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime."

June 22, 2022
All versions released to the Play Store recently (last seven days) are still pending evaluation, meaning the app will likely be automatically removed from the Play Store today. I can't reach anyone at Google which is quite frustrating. I will reconsider my "position" as an Android developer if the app is removed from the Play Store again. In any case, all development will be halted until this is resolved. Please don't blame me and don't call me drama queen, blame Google. This is all out of my control. Please see here for more information.

June 15, 2022
"You have been granted an extension to work on the production version." (for seven days)
So everything will be fine.

June 14, 2022
Test version 1.1917 was approved at 10:04 PM (MET), but still needs some testing time. If this means that the app won't be available in the Play Store for a few days, then so be it, because I think it's important to release a version that is as stable as possible, also because there is only one monthly Play Store release.

June 14, 2022
I have requested an extension of the period (7 days) to resolve the policy violation because none of the published versions have been released in the past week.

June 13, 2022
Google still hasn't approved the version without support for Gravatars and Libravatars. I've reached out to Google about this, but if the update isn't approved by June 15, the app will be removed from the Play Store again.

June 8, 2022
I received a new policy violation notice :-(
As a result, Gravatars and Libravatars support will be removed from the Play store version.

Rejected


May 30, 2022
Version 1.1904 is again publicly available in the Play Store, probably after Google's intervention.

May 29, 2022
Version 1.1902 is still in the Play Store approval process. I will contact Google about this.

May 28, 2022
Version 1.1901 is still in the Play Store approval process.

May 27, 2022
Version 1.1901 has been released to the Play Store as a "production" version after confirmation from Google's privacy and policy team. It may take several hours or more for FairEmail to be available worldwide again in Google's Play Store.

May 27, 2022
Google's privacy and policy department has confirmed approval of the test version. Version 1.1901 has been released as a test version, with all reported bugs fixed, and the plan is to release this version publicly on the Play Store after evaluation.

May 26, 2022
Google has approved the test version according to the Play store developer console. I'm waiting for feedback from Google's privacy and policy team.

May 24, 2022
Google has actively contacted me and explained what the problem is and how to fix it. At the direction of Google, the privacy policy has been updated and expanded, notable with this table, and a test version has been released in the Play Store for evaluation. After approval from Google, which might take a while, I will think about the next steps.

May 18, 2022
All my projects have been terminated after Google falsely flagged FairEmail as spyware without a reasonable opportunity to appeal. I appealed 5 times, basically to get the same unclear answer over and over again. Until this is resolved there will be no further development and support.


Frequently asked questions


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