I’m fairly dependent on Google products. What would it take to be completely off Google?
Google makes some good stuff. Honest. The quality of their internet software is very remarkable, while providing them for free at the cost of information gathering. The software experience of Android, Google Drive, Maps, Calendar, and several others are top notch and helpful for the user.
Google is a part of my life. Google, the increasingly omnipresent electronic force, is a part of my life! If Google all of a suddenly shut down, how would I be able to live day to day? I do think I am better off than most people, but realizing how much I use Google is a little bit of an eye opener. What if I did an exercise not using Google? What would be some of the reasons to do this?
Instead of Google dictating the user experience in their unified platform, I can create my own platform in a sense. Also, it would be nice to find something that does not collect user information in order to cater ads. I really dislike ads. And any use of personal information in software should be encrypted. Good encryptions standards goes a long way for privacy.
Now, I’m not completely against Google. I’m just curious what would it take to not use Google and how the experience would be.
I am a fish in a huge ocean, why would I be targeted as long as I am not doing anything that should be questionable? So why worry?
I agree there is some security being one person in an ocean of many connected individuals. But you’re still out in the open. It wouldn’t take much for a malicious program to go through millions of leaked records, grab something like bank information, and get away with a lot of money.
I am going to draw a metaphor to one’s own house. How do you protect your house?
It’s like leaving your door unlocked every night because everyone else the neighborhood leaves their doors unlocked. You know burglars would not come for you. But do you have a good level of protection? Not really. All it takes is one individual to wreck something you believed that would not happen.
So why would internet security be any different? I would infer that protecting one’s identity in the internet is similar to protecting your own home.
and status of switching over
So here are the Google products that I use. I will give a quick mention if I’ve swapped, what I am using if I’ve swapped, and some of my experience of the swap.
- google search engine
I’ve had a good experience with duck duck go so far! I have found what I’ve needed decently quick. The stuff I need normally is a bunch of documentation references like MDN and NPM.
- google photos & google drive
Status: started swap
I checking out Resilio Sync for now. It’s a peer to peer encrypted network to have your files back up to your personal computer. I like the idea!
- android messages
Signal Messaging is an encrypted messaging service. The encryption only works if all of the people have signal though. Other than that, it’s not Google!
- pixel phones
I picked up a OnePlus phone. For phones, I want a simple Android experience with a good camera. That’s what attracted me to Pixel phones. I accidentally broke my Pixel 2 XL, so I decided to give a OnePlus 6 a shot. I think I actually like the Android experience a bit better on a OnePlus!
I’m liking Netlify. Very developer friendly!
- google maps
Status: started swap
This one might be tough, because Google Maps is very accurate. But I’m checking out OSMand free version. They provide offline maps and quite a few cool things with the map service!
- google chrome
Status: kind of…
Another hard one… I’ve kind of swapped over to using Brave or Firefox. Good so far! They don’t collect data like Google and keep things fairly secure. And Brave is Google under the hood, just modified to protect the user more.
- google fi
I ended up picking Mint Mobile! I committed to do the change now.
Status: started swap
I am using Proton Mail as my primary email client replacement.
- google calendar
I am using Tutanota Calendar. Tutanota also has a email client, so I could use that as well.
- google keep
I decided, that I don’t really need a cross platform experience with note taking, and I really would like to have files to manipulate instead. So I resorted to Markor on my phone, and I back up the files using Resilio Sync!
- google family library
Status: no swap
I set up a family library, and I’m sharing content with some family members. Since that content stays there, I’d probably keep the content. I guess I could try using other content sites, or do something like a PLEX server with a raspberry pi or something.
- google password manager and related autofill data
Status: no swap
I have looked into using Dashlane, Keeper Password, and LastPass.
These products have also caught my attention…
- A spot to make a phone number and email with privacy options.
- A voice assistant!
- I especially like this idea, because it’s an open source solution that one could put on a raspberry pi for example.
- They generate a credit card number that just routes to your real credit card number.
To download Google data. I tried this out to download my Google Photos and I had about 52 GB worth of photos and related information to download. That’s quite a bit.
Credit to this article, who in the end just was tired of avoiding Silicon Valley products.
Until people demand a law that makes privacy the default, I’m going to try to remember, each time I click on something, that free things aren’t free. That when I send an email or a text […] , I should expect those messages to one day be seen.
I’ll see how long I’ll go. It’ll be an interesting exercise. ㋡