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I won't miss you Google

To find the best price for a dreamed up a pair of shoes, you probably use Google Search. To track your expenses, you use Google Sheets. A very detailed plan for your upcoming holiday is waiting for you under your Google Maps account. To check your email you visit Gmail using Google Chrome (obviously). To cook a king prawns pasta for your partner, you spend hours watching YouTube videos beforehand. Google Analytics report tells you how many people visited your website yesterday.

Isn’t that all a little bit concerning that one company knows about your passions, salary, what you eat, where you go and what the fuck is your shoe size? It’s scary for me, so I decided to move away from the Mountain View Google bandwagon. My privacy is my primary motivation, but you can easily find a lot of evidence that companies like Google don’t positively impact civilization.

When I moved away from Adobe products back in 2015, I went through an exciting journey looking for alternatives. I already have a list of products that replaced the army of Google services with great success. Let me share.

Alternatives to Google services #

I’ll not give you tens of alternatives to every single Google product because Pieter Levels have already done that for you. No More Google is a privacy-friendly list of other options that don’t track you. I’m going to share with you products that I use and can highly recommend.

Screenshot of “No More Google” website created by Pieter Levels

From Gmail to Fastmail #

I’m a long term Fastmail user, and although this is a paid email provider, I don’t regret a single penny that I spend on it. It’s privacy-oriented, full of great features and integrations. This very suggestive name is not an exaggeration — the service is blazingly fast, and the UI (user interface) is optimized to do the core email operations in no time.

From Google Chrome to Safari #

I like Safari the most because it comes with my operating system out of the box. Another, probably more important reason, is the fact that it just works. Smooth integration with the Apple ecosystem, outstanding performance and optimized not to kill my MacBook’s battery, like some competitive products tend to do.

Safari built-in Developer Tools are not that advanced, so I use Firefox when I do some occasional web development. Safari team is catching up though. Release notes for Safari Technology Preview are always full of improvements focused on Dev Tools.

From Google Search to DuckDuckGo #

DuckDuckGo is my search engine of choice on my desktop and also on my iPhone. Without storing my personal information, I can find what I’m looking for in most cases. Videos and images search also works insanely good.

For a good cause, I tried to use Ecosia for a little while, but unfortunately, I wasn’t that satisfied with the search results. But if you are open for experimentation and would love to plant a tree or two, give Ecosia a try!

From YouTube to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ #

I already pay for multiple streaming services. To justify the money that I spend for it, I try to watch some informative content across those websites. There’s plenty of stuff to watch, to learn new things and switch off after a productive day.

I won’t lie to you and say that I don’t watch YouTube videos any more — I do. It’s quite hard to avoid because it’s full of great content. There’s a specific way of how I consume YouTube content. I subscribe to my favourite YouTube creators RSS feeds to avoid this endless chain of suggestions and being bombarded by ads. I published “RSS feed for YouTube channels and GitHub project” which reveals a few more details.

From Google Analytics to Netlify Analytics #

To host this and multiple more websites, I use Netlify. I can’t tell you how much I love this service for its simplicity and such a generous free tier. I’ve never paid a penny to host this website!

When the Netlify team announced Analytics back in 2019, I decided to put my money on it and not look back. Accuracy, without paying the cost of heavy client-side libraries, sufficient levels of data and beautiful presentation. Bye, bye, Google Analytics!

From Google Maps to Maps by Apple #

I am not a maps power-user. Every app where I can put the desired destination’s address and follow the direction fulfils my expectations. Google Maps became this massive overwhelming application with too many options to my taste. Maps by Apple are simple, better looking, with just the right number of features to make me happy. Again — I don’t need to download a thing. It is just there.

Bye Google #

I know that removing a few Google tools from my daily workflow won’t make a big impact, but hey — it feels good. I feel happy, and I don’t care how much you love 8726874GB of RAM in your brand new Android phone.

Facebook, you are next. Bye 💋

Comments

  • z
    zakius

    "To find the best price for a dreamed up a pair of shoes, you probably use Google Search"
    no, there are no dreamed up shoes, they have to fit properly so there's no web shopping
    "To track your expenses, you use Google Sheets"
    nope, I wouldn't use spreadsheet anyway, and definitely not one as slow and unintuitive as gdocs
    "A very detailed plan for your upcoming holiday is waiting for you under your Google Maps account"
    not really, though I use gmaps to find my way more often than others, though still rarely
    "To check your email you visit Gmail using Google Chrome (obviously)"
    obviously not, outlook on Waterfox Classic, chrome is useless and gmail lacks free aliases
    "To cook a king prawns pasta for your partner, you spend hours watching YouTube videos beforehand"
    I do watch a lot of youtube but when it comes to cooking (or learning overall) in most cases reading is better
    "Google Analytics report tells you how many people visited your website yesterday."
    in most cases there's no need for stats at all, especially that third party ones are so meaningless anyway due to easy (and nowadays automatic!) blocking

    just use the right tools for a job, google is rarely the best one, or actually the least bad one: search, maps, android and YT I guess though YT is user driven content, the platform itself is terrible

    and when it comes to YT and RSS, I recently added advanced feed detection and displaying embeds in my reader, but it obviously won't work in Safari (I mean, technically it probably could as there is more or less WebExtensions support but as there's no way to test or release... 🤷‍♀️) and couldn't really be bothered to upload new package to chrome web store

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    • Pawel Grzybek
      Pawel Grzybek

      "no, there are no dreamed up shoes, they have to fit properly so there's no web shopping"

      👍

      "nope, I wouldn't use spreadsheet anyway, and definitely not one as slow and unintuitive as gdocs"

      👍

      "not really, though I use gmaps to find my way more often than others, though still rarely"

      👍

      "obviously not, outlook on Waterfox Classic, chrome is useless and gmail lacks free aliases"

      I didn't even know about such a thing like Waterfox, thanks!

      "I do watch a lot of youtube but when it comes to cooking (or learning overall) in most cases reading is better"

      👍

      "in most cases there's no need for stats at all, especially that third party ones are so meaningless anyway due to easy (and nowadays automatic!) blocking"

      I have to disagree on this one. For personal website like this one, you are right, I don't care too much about stats. If you run a web business it is crucial to measure and reflect on it so some sort of analytics is needed :( I agree with the part about the meaningless analytics coming from 3rd party scripts — luckily some server-side analytics exist. Like "Netlify Analytics" — there is no JS script on the frontend and all date comes purely from DNS resolution tracking.

      "just use the right"

      Yes 🙏

      Have a lovely weekend @zakius:disqus

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      • z
        zakius

        I still don't think there's real *need* for (advanced) analytics even though there is *demand*
        IP ranges are really valuable piece of data, type of device used may or may not be (many businesses tend to create target statistics and does everything to reach them like stores starting Black Friday sales earlier and at more convenient times in mobile app than on website to 1. brag about app usage and 2. mobile makes comparing products much harder so it's easier to sell out things they want to get rid off to mobile users)

        behavioral data may be valuable if interpreted properly, can help figuring out the pain points but requires client side tracking for the big part of it
        this can be done while respecting users and not getting automatically shut down but I don't think there is much (if any) option already available
        there are few user friendly options you can self host but all of them lack proper interface to let the user decide if they want to participate without relying on content blocker

        at the end of a day it's a lot of hassle to do it just right and noone really bothers

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  • p
    phil mcgreggor

    Great article on degooglisation! I also detoxed myself from Google, more specific Gmail, since I use my email daily and am a heavy user of it. Thanks to a great belgian solution, which came in very handy, called Mailfence, I said goodbye forever to Gmail. -Outside of the US jurisdiction, and outside of the "5, 9 and 14-Eyes Agreements", no ads, spams (whitelist feature), or gov. surveillance... and many features.. I highly recommend.

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