Quitting Google

Ben Brooks explains how he kicked Google to the curb.

  • Tvaddic

    One thing he didn’t mention was YouTube.

    • He also didn’t mention maps.

      • MapQuest.

      • Señor Rolando

        here.com (at least for as long as Nokia is still around)

  • short summery: use (!)microsoft bing, pay for email with less storage and stop using calendar and apps because there’s no good alternative. nice one.

    • I did this a few years ago. Using Bing too. Moved email hosting to Fastmail (would also use Hover for hosting). Before iCloud, my wife and I kept a calendar using 37Signals Backpack. Not hard at all to do; just a matter of paying a little bit to do it.

  • The thing is, what he described isn’t that hard, or expensive. I use Google for searching only and only when a DuckDuckGo search doesn’t yield the results I’m looking for.

    Apart from that the only reason to still have a Google account for me are the few and far between HangOut sessions.

  • Dennis Madrid

    I’ve done pretty much what Ben said, over the years. Reader was my last big holdout, and I was flirting with the idea of Fever when Reader’s cancellation was announced. Leaving Google is easier than most people think, and not very costly in the long run.

    *Mail – my own domain, hosted through 1&1; good prices, and while I don’t use a web interface they do have one.

    *Calendar – I use the regular Calendar apps on my Mac/iPhone/iPad. They sync through iCloud and it works great. 1&1 offers a calendar via their web interface as well.

    *Search – DuckDuckGo on my computer, and a mixture of Bing, Google, and DDG on my iOS devices. (one of the few places I still use Google, usually for obscure things that the others struggle with like Ben mentioned).

    *Storage – Dropbox/iCloud; never even used Google Drive.

    *Notes – Evernote; wasn’t even tempted to try Google Keep.

    *Office apps – a combination of LibreOffice (functional, free and compatible with MS Office formats) and iWork apps. (more functional for the basics, also compatible, not so free, but syncs with my iOS devices)

    *Video – for posting content, there’s Vimeo; for consuming content, you still have to go to YouTube. In that regard they’re a form of entertainment, not a service I use.

    *Maps – This is a tough one. Apple’s maps is getting better for iOS, but it’s not perfect yet. I don’t know if Bing even offers a web version of Google’s maps, or if it’s any good. It’s probably the one area where I still rely on Google the most, but I’d like to find a comprable alterative.

    Not to mention you have perks like customer support (since you are the customer), and often you can find ways to tailor paid services to fit your specific needs/tastes/wants.

    Obviously my situation doesn’t apply to everyone, but I put it forward to show that it’s not as tremendous a thing as people make it out to be. Truthfully it’s a matter of momentum and effort. Most people (even us techies) don’t like to endlessly tweak with services like these, we just want to use them, and having to change them, migrate data, etc. takes effort. If the service is currently free, even better. It’s why most people wont even bother investigating alternatives, let alone use them.

    I have friends who are very tied into the Google ecosystem, but the idea of being the product rather than the customer never sat well with me, at least not when it comes to productivity. (Even for things like Facebook and Twitter I’m concious of what I’m sharing and I’m always aware that I’m the content, not the customer.) I’d like to see more people make concious choices about what services they use; if more people did it would make a difference.

  • Chuck

    This whole privacy argument is BS. Like MS doesn’t look at your mail or Bing doesn’t keep information on our searches. Oh, I’m sorry, before I hear the ridiculous argument that they don’t do it to serve ads to you like Google. That’s only because they haven’t figured out how to be in that business yet. Or that I only use them because they are free!! I use Google because the products are good!!! You must listen to Windows Weekly with Paul “MS Thurrott” to much. Gimme a break!!!

    • I agree with your logic, but some alternatives are also very good. After several years of using some Google services, you probably use some of them without considering the alternatives. My favorite Google service is Reader, and I was so disappointed when earing the bad news about it that (as a nervous reflex) I tried to ditch Google and even use DuckDuckGo for search… I love it and I’ll stick with it. I’ll continue to use Google Hangouts once a month and Google Drive for collaboration (what a great product!) but that’s all. It may be surprising to many people (and newsworthy) that so few Google services are difficult to replace.

  • Michael

    Why not just pay for Google Apps, disable the ads, and call it a day?

    • Not seeing the ads doesn’t mean Google isn’t collecting the information about you.

      • Michael

        Actually…with Google App for Business…..that’s exactly what that means.

        “If you are using Google Apps (free edition), email is scanned so we can display contextually relevant advertising in some circumstances. Note that there is no ad-related scanning or processing in Google Apps for Education or Business with ads disabled.”


        • Jeff Gould

          Note that the second sentence in the quote above from the Google Apps support FAQ has been deleted at some point in the last six months.

  • I love Google+, so I’ll be a Google user for a while. And, while I do take the privacy and personal information thing seriously, I do understand also the price I get to pay for “free” and I limit as much as I can and try to keep informed of changes in what they are using. (“They” meaning Google, Facebook, and anything else I bother with in order to keep in contact with friends, family, and other contacts.)

    DuckDuckGo is awesome and I’ve been considering making it my default on my mac for a while now. Good to see the article gave tips on that. 🙂