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Ask HN: How have you left Google's services?
66 points by dhruvkar on Aug 16, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 89 comments
Google seems to be more and more of a one-stop shop for me (and many others). There are privacy concerns, as well as concerns about data being available/under your control for the long haul.

What have you done to mitigate this risk? If you've left Google's services, what services have you replace, and how?

I rely heavily on Gmail, Search, Drive & Photos. The main issue I have is making my data highly available and resilient at low/no cost.




https://www.privacytools.io/ and https://prism-break.org/en/ are good places to start. They list most (all?) of the major alternatives for the different categories of apps.

On a personal note, it's definitely possible. I've done it without much loss of convenience, which I think is the main drawback.

> The main issue I have is making my data highly available and resilient at low/no cost.

I think you'll find that most alternative, privacy-conscious services will cost something, primarily because they're not able to profit off of your personal data like Google and Facebook are. For me, I'm definitely willing to pay for that value.


+1 If you are not paying, you are the product.

The insistence that everything has to be free is materially harmful to everyone who works in IT, software development, etc. You have Google on one hand and Richard Stallman oon the other.

For $40 you can get full fat service from Fastmail with your own domain name, which costs another $10 a month or so. That's pretty cheap.


If you're paying $10/month for a domain name, you're paying too much!


Richard Stallman does not insist that everything has to be free of charge, see https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.en.html. It's a common enough misconception, and in reality nearly all free software is also free of charge (sometimes with a paid support plan).

A domain name is also much cheaper than $10/month, it's closer to $10/year. Oh and for FastMail, you get a discount if you pay multiple years in advance - the price for n years is $10 + n•$30


I'd make the statement a little more complex than the aphorism: "If you are not paying, and the system requires resources to operate, then you are the product."

Which I think strikes to the heart of why open source only ate specific parts of the world. Things that require resources to operate that users are normally happy about having in the modern world: network and server infrastructure, compatibility testing, support, security testing, UI updates.


I pay $30 a year for my FastMail account with no additional charge for my custom domain name. Maybe they have changed their pricing though, I have been a customer for going on 4 years.


To be clear, I'm not saying that the replacement(s) SHOULD be free. Only phrasing this in a way to emphasize keeping costs low.


I agree with the sentiment that you get that you pay for, and in this case, it's worth it.

Can you share what alternatives you used to move off of Google?


Gmail => FastMail

Calendar/Contacts => Apple iCloud

Drive => SpiderOakONE

Chrome => Firefox

Search => DuckDuckGo

Maps => Apple Maps

Photos => Store locally (iPhoto & Lightroom)

Docs => Apple iCloud

Apple may seem like the odd one out, but I trust them quite a bit seeing how they've fought for privacy over the last few years. I also use all Apple devices, so the convenience is also unparalleled.


Nice, thanks. A handy list.

Fastmail seems to be a popular alternative to gmail as per the comments here and as per you. It is NOT listed on privacytools.io

Should this be a concern? Is it any better than Gmail with respect to privacy?

Edit: moved comment to more relevant parent.


The answer is probably: it depends.

Fastmail, unlike Gmail, doesn't use your email contents for ad targeting. OTOH, unlike commonly claimed, Google doesn't actually sell your info, they just reuse it internally.

Neither service encrypts data at rest, so if they're hacked you're screwed.

Google is subject to NSA/FISA/etc. Fastmail claims it isn't since they're an Australian company, but their servers are all in the US.


> Neither service encrypts data at rest, so if they're hacked you're screwed.

That's a bit misleading, FastMail encrypts their hard drives (and I'm sure Google does, too). It's just that they don't have a special key for your data. That means you can't just break into their (colocated) data centre and steal their disks, but if you hack a machine with the drive mounted then you get all the data on the machine.


Yeah, good question.

There are certainly more privacy-conscious services, but FastMail is good enough for what I'm looking for. The big thing being that they don't analyze my email for advertising purposes.

This list is about a year old, but it provides some more privacy-conscious alternatives: https://www.prxbx.com/email/.


Disclaimer: I haven't actually left Google's services but I have removed my reliance on them. I might not be giving you the answer you want.

Most of my strategy relies on a home server (full disk encrypted), a server I colocate nearby (also full disk encrypted) and backups.

Email: I use Gmail my own domain and regularly backup my email to my home server. In the even that something happens to my Google account, there are only issues for a few hours while DNS updates propagate.

Chat: After getting fed up with Facebook Messenger, I set up a hosted Prosody server on one of my dedicated servers and use it to communicate with my wife using the Conversations XMPP client for Android.

Photos: I auto sync photos from my phone to Google Photos and frequently (through Google Drive) pull them back down to my home server. My home server backs these up to Google Drive (unencrypted), Amazon Cloud Drive (encrypted) and my colocated server.

Drive: The home and colocated servers give me a ton of storage to do whatever I want with. I've never used a proper "sync" client however, so this isn't a good idea for everyone.

Search: DuckDuckGo is pretty good and I use it whenever I don't want to use Google for any reason.

Generally: I'm happy to use Google's services as:

- They're convenient

- Google operates in and is regulated in so many jurisdictions that I'm confident it's no less protective of my privacy/data than any other US based company

- It's not going away any time soon

- Tools like TakeOut make it incredibly easy to leave


How do you backup your email to your home server? Is it just an mbox dump via takeout on a cron schedule? How would you restore it in the case of leaving Google?


http://gmvault.org

Just used this to backup my inbox the other day. Compresses emails into .eml.gz files. Also has an export option for other mail clients. Love that its a Python package, Installable through pip.


Excellent! So you just put this into a cron job and it does incremental backups?


I've only used it once. According to the docs, you should be able to do a "quick sync" which only gets the last 7 days.

Set up a cron job for that (after a full initial sync), and should be good to go.


Is Gmvault as complete as doing a Gmail dump from Google Takeout?


Only brief experiences with both gmvault.org and Takeout, so take this with a grain of salt.

Gmvault gets chats as well (I'm assuming hangout chats also). A pro I see, is with gmvault you can restore the backup to another Gmail account, right from the terminal.

Takeout stores chats separately, not in the mbox file. To restore from Takeout, you need to add the mailbox to Thunderbird (or some 3rd party email client), add the account you want to restore to, and then drag and drop emails between them. Not ideal.


An option for this is offlineimap.


Have you used that for backing up a Google Apps/ Gmail account? If so, did you just throw it in a cronjob?


I'm using Fastmail instead of Gmail. Smartphone app is not really good but you can use any other smtp/imap client. For android you can synchronize your contacts with "CardDAV-Sync" (carddav is native for iOS).

Fastmail offer contacts and calendars too. Which have a really nice web interface.

I'm still looking for a Drive/Photos alternative. Any advice?


+1 on Fastmail. Been using it for past 6 months with my own personal domains. Actually now like the UI better than Gmail. Such slick, very slide, wow.

Really liking the customizable options for wildcard addresses in particular. You wanna give out an email address for each place you sign up? You can write it as me@site.example.com or me+site@example.com or site@me.example.com - which I find super handy because to my endless annoyance, most sites STILL don't deal with "+" in an email address.

Well worth the money IMO.


Another +1 for Fastmail. Their IMAP migration tool worked flawlessly shifting multi GBs of emails when I made the switch last month (admittedly not from gmail but from a self-hosted Zarafa install).

Re: Drive/Photos alternative. For the Drive part, if you just need something in the cloud to backup files to (and optionally share them with other people) I highly recommend https://www.spideroak.com. Have been using them for years without issue and they're the only "cloud backup" provider I know of that takes security and privacy seriously.


> I'm still looking for a Drive/Photos alternative. Any advice?

I haven't found any photo storage services that really sell the privacy-conscious angle. That said, I'd trust https://www.smugmug.com/ more than Google, Facebook, or anyone else.

For a vanilla, non-photo-specific storage service, there's https://spideroak.com/solutions/spideroak-one.


You should try hosting your own photos with GNU Mediagoblin.


Looks good as a self-hosted option.


No, although I'm considering setting up owncloud (https://owncloud.org) to at least back up my Drive/Photos.

Resiliency/availability could be issues though. Ever looked into that?



Fastmail is great.


Drive & Photos: Dropbox and WD Cloud[1] - similar privacy concerns, WD Cloud works great on local network and I can ssh in to access remotely

Search - DuckDuckGo, it's not quite as good, but it works fine IMO

Gmail - Still use regularly, I may switch to Fastmail

The goal (for me), was/is to distribute who has my data. This will blur the image of who I am, so to speak. My friends and I will also tag each others faces in photos on Facebook - i.e. I tag myself as my wife, my wife tags me as her. That way it'll screw with any automated process.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Diskless-Cloud-Network-Attached-Stora...


I was a heavy Google user. My solution cost me some money.

-I bought a U1 rack used off craigslist and have it hosted in a local data center. -I installed ESXi on it.

made a few VMs -one runs pfsense and the rest of the VMs sit behind it -one runs my email, contacts, calendars (mailinabox.email) -one runs my cloud storage and private wiki -a few others running projects I'm working -each VM is fully encrypted at boot up.


This sounds like the real deal. So you're no longer using anything Google?

What did this cost approximately - the initial setup and the monthly recurring?


I'm using a Dell PowerEdge 1950 with a Intel Xeon 5345. 32GB RAM and 1TB HDD. It cost me about $400 -- which I think was a good deal.

Then my only cost was the datacenter fees. Which runs about $50 per month -- includes 5 IP addresses and unl data.

Like I said though, I use it for multiple things, not just e-mail/contacts/calendar/storage.

EDIT: I believe the server costs a lot less now.


I'm a big fan of SmugMug. I wish they'd give a little more attention to their mobile apps, but for $40/year I can store whatever I want on it, and I have a lot of control over how I share my photos.

The company is as susceptible to NSA-type stuff as anyone, but I like that they are a photo company, not a data company that happens to have a photo app.


I agree. They don't sell the privacy-conscious angle as a feature like some, but I'd certainly trust them more than Google or Facebook.


Well no cost is a bit of a misnomer. Usually, unless you host your own, when you don't pay in dollars you pay in privacy.

That being said, ownCloud is a great open source alternative to Drive (I host mine on digitalocean which is just starting to introduce block storage but amazon is an equally good option and very cost effective), Duck Duck Go is a very good web search engine these days with privacy as a core value.

It really depends how you use Photos. The automatic face detection and searching for people/events/things in your history is just about unparalleled and is unlikely to be surpassed by a more privacy friendly option in the near future. The reason for this is that these algorithms rely heavily on data collection, which is diametrically opposed to privacy. If you are only using it to backup/store photos in the cloud, ownCloud has similar functionality.

I have heard good things about fastmail to replace gmail but I have not used it myself.

I know you didn't mention it but for chat Matrix is a fantastic option with multiple options for open source clients. I use https://vector.im/beta as a client to access matrix.org but you could easily host your own matrix and/or vector server.


Nine steps road to privacy and freedom from Google and everyone else:

Step 1: Switch to DuckDuckGo.

Step 2: Create a openmailbox.org account. (Gives you a mailbox with IMAP and POP3 access, but also an ownCloud account which replaces many of Google's services. All free software, no tracking, and it's reliable.)

Step 3: Switch to a good GNU/Linux distribution that cares about your freedom and privacy, like Fedora or Debian, and not Ubuntu.

Step 4: Use Mozilla Firefox if you are using another browser. All the other major browsers are proprietary, browsers that aren't among the major ones almost never support extensions.

Step 5: Install uBlock Origin and configure it to your liking.

Step 6: Install and configure the Evolution mail client with your openmailbox.org account.

Step 7: Use Pidgin for chat. It supports (with plugins) all the chat protocols, including the proprietary ones such as Skype, Facebook Chat, Hangouts.

Step 8: Use duplicity to have encrypted backups of your home directory made automatically to a portable hard drive or a USB drive.

Step 9: Use applications that run on your computer instead of web apps whenever you can.

You now control all of your data, have all the services you had before but running on your own computer and not on some third party's servers, use only free software that you can trust, and are much harder to track online. Congratulations!


> Step 3: Switch to a good GNU/Linux distribution that cares about your freedom and privacy, like Fedora or Debian, and not Ubuntu.

why not ubuntu?


This may help explain it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnfa0H30L4

Which I believe had to do with it's configuration of Unity (Ubuntu's default DE)? (Can't watch the video ATM to confirm.)

Canonical (the people in charge of Ubuntu) have done things that the more zealous advocates of user-first freedoms/privacy are skeptical about or have caused distrust.


Ah I remember people complaining about Unity(which had Amazon search enabled by default)

Any recommendation for another flavor that's more user-freedom/privacy focused but still relatively stable?(I read somewhere Debian isn't good for personal use since it's designed for servers, is that true?)


Debian is stable and good for personal use. All the major distributions can usually be used on servers as well as for personal use. They are also all stable as far as bugs are concerned (even the riskier rolling release ones), though some distributions like Debian and CentOS use stability in a stronger sense of not pushing any updates to the stable releases except bug fixes and vulnerability fixes.


thanks!


Ubuntu includes proprietary software in the default installation and has done questionable things in the past. Other distributions (particularly Fedora) do better on user-friendliness in my opinion, despite the common opinion that it is otherwise.


The only Google services I use are its search and YouTube. I moved away from Gmail, though I have throwaway Gmail accounts.

Email: Private server and domain

Chat: Facebook because few people seem to use anything else, let alone answer their phones or emails. I otherwise hate it.

Photos: Keeping photos is overrated. I keep the few photos I take on a network drive at home and rarely share anything with anyone. If it burns in a fire, I wouldn't care very much. Yet still not worth being in the hands of some company.

Drive: See above. If I need to share something, it's either through Email or Box.

Search: Still mostly Google, but increasingly Bing as I feel like I get better results(I suspect that Google is underhandedly trying to make the web more "friendly"). Just type in some mean or evil phrase into both search engines.

Docs: I rarely have to write docs or spreadsheets. Google's online spreadsheet is pretty good, but for a "document", I end up writing stuff in Markdown using Dillinger.io.

Music: Most of the music and content I enjoy is free on YouTube.

Eventually, I'd like to leave Google all together. Changing search engines is easy, but YouTube and Maps are near impossible to beat at this point.


I moved my email to FastMail recently and am very happy with it. I still use Google Search, Calendar (planning to move that to FastMail, too), and Photos.

My Gmail address is now a forward to FastMail, but I'm in the process of changing it everywhere. Trouble is that lots of people have it in their address book, so I'll never really stop getting emails to it.

Dropbox can replace Drive and Photos easily and quite well, I hear.


I've switched from Google's search engine to a combination of Bing and DuckDuckGo (usually in browser incognito mode).

Google's results are increasingly full of low quality spam sites, so the switch really wasn't painful at all.

I haven't left GMail yet, but I started using my own domain mail many years ago. As such, that switch will be fantastically simple when I get around to it.


I moved my email to Fastmail (I love it!)

OneDrive for photos (I was a heavy Windows Phone user for a long time, it was easy to set up and use)

My contacts are spread across Windows Live and Google (Again, because of the Windows Phone)

I use DuckDuckGo for search (With the "!g" modifier when I think the results could be better)

Dropbox for files without sensitive information, Tarsnap for files with sensitive information.


Fastmail users: The feature of gmail that seems unstoppable to me is server side search. Using an imap client and doing client side searches with indexes just isn't viable anymore on multi-GB mailboxes. Both the web and app versions can "instantly" search all my mail, ever. How does Fastmail compare in regards to that?


Their web UI is extremely snappy. Definitely on par with Gmail's web UI, if not faster.

I don't have tons of messages in FastMail — so take that into consideration — but their web UI search seems very quick as well.

I haven't used their mobile app, so I can't speak to that.


It's very good. I have ~3GB of email in tens of thousands of messages, about a decade's worth, in my FastMail account. Searching through all of that takes only a second. See https://www.fastmail.com/help/receive/search.html for what the search can do.


I always use Zoho[0] for email on new websites I start that need a custom domain. It's the only web-based email provider I've found that is free for custom domains and modern looking.

[0] https://www.zoho.com/


I used them too, but then moved all my domains to Google Domains, which has free forwarding addresses - usually enough for most cases.


I'm totally in the Google world and the idea of getting out is somewhat appealing. However if I get out, I want to handle it myself. Fastmail seems wonderful, but where can I find a project that provides similar functionality that I can host myself? (And doesn't suck)


A few people have mentioned http://dovecot.org/ combined with either https://roundcube.net/ or http://www.rainloop.net/.


Personally, I've a server at home running Linux. If you don't want to run your server at home, you can rent a server (Scaleway C1 costs ~3.5 euros / month for 50GB SSD, Online.net first servers are at 10 euros / month for 1TB HDD).

To replace Google Drive, I'm using Seafile, which I find is a better alternative than Owncloud (based on Python). Seafile has a mobile + desktop client and can be used over webdav. And the killer features: Seafile handles file versioning and encryption. https://www.seafile.com/en/home/

To replace Gmail, I've installed Dovecot + Postfix on my server. I'm using Roundcube as my webmail. There is also Rainloop which is quite popular. https://roundcube.net/

To replace Google Calendars / Contact, I'm using Radicale. http://radicale.org/ . I've found some caldav/carddav connector on the play store.

To centralize everything in one place, I'm planning a migration to Open Xchange, an open source java software which handle your emails, your calendars (with caldav support), your contacts (with carddav support), your files (no more versioning or encryption however but support webdav) and you can even edit your .docx and .xlsx in place. You have a mobile application. But it lacks some documentation and some features are not open source, like IM or the desktop client. https://www.open-xchange.com/

To have a single account for every services, I've installed a LDAP server (openldap).

To conclude, I try to use as far as possible open and standard protocols (webdav, carddav, caldav, smtp, imap, ldap, etc.) as there is always a software or a library to handle them.

And to replace Google Search, I'm using Qwant, or at least trying to.


> To centralize everything in one place, I'm planning a migration to Open Xchange

Don't know if you know about SOGo, but my e-mail provider uses it and it works quite nicely, it might be another solution to consider.

https://sogo.nu/


Thanks, the version 3 looks really promising !

I'm testing Open Xchange for a few weeks now, and I really like it. There are lot of small cool features: remind an email in x minute, meeting organization, OX Guard (a PGP module), the integration with Sieve, etc.

And that's not a secret, such solutions are not easy to deploy. I've spend a certain amount of time writing my ansible script for Open Xchange - that's why I'm not really motivated to try it on my server now.

If I find something in OX which prevents me from switching, SOGO will be the next candidate.


I have left all google services apart from search.

email: I run my own server. After the initial "reputation building" for my domain, it now works reliably well.

calendar/files/photos/contacts: nextcloud on my home server. It's not really on par with the google offerings, but it works well enough for me. And when I need more storage I just get a 2TB usb disk off amazon.

play store: f-droid. It has everything I need. I understand that not everyone might be happy with just the apps on f-droid, but I was bored with downloading crappy games and uninstalling them after 2 minutes anyway. f-droid apps are all well done, and I trust them not to invade my privacy.


Take a look on https://www.privacytools.io/ , which lists alternatives in various categories. It doesn't include photos from your list though.


Google gives you the option to download all your data stored on their servers, across all Google products [1]. Unfortunately they do not give you an option to delete all your data, but most services have facilities for bulk-deleting [2].

Every few months, I download a backup and then delete everything I can. This is a good tradeoff for me: I get to use all the great Google products, but they don't get to keep a permanent archive of all my data.

One more note: lots of people react to this with, "But what if you desperately need an email from X years/months ago?". Two answers: 1) I've been doing this for a couple years, and I've never needed an old email, and 2) I have the local backup if it's something really important.

[1] https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout

[2] http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/clear-data-google-attempt-regai...

EDIT: Formatting


This is an interesting/creative idea. I've heard about people doing something similar with Twitter and Facebook. While they want you to keep everything forever, it's actually pretty easy to use them more ephemerally.


I've recently been looking at Fastmail and Kolab (https://kolabnow.com/) to replace Gmail and Google Calendar. Kolab adds limited notebook and file storage functionality, but I haven't found any decent reviews of the service.

Is anyone using Kolab who'd like to comment on how it's working for them?


I've left Google mostly for usability reasons. There's no reason to trust any 3rd party solution more than another one, so until I'll have my own hardware in some secure data center in EU (I do not trust US hosting and networks now), I'll choose what's more comfortable and reasonably secure.

Gmail -> moved my custom domains to Yandex Mail (personal), Outlook.com (corporate), because usability of Gmail to me becomes worse and worse.

Storage + documents (never used Google services) -> OneDrive + MS Office 365 paid subscription

Music -> VK.com (finally they are making it legal by signing agreements with labels)

Social Networks -> VK, Facebook (because friends are there)

Messaging -> Facebook, Telegram (because friends are there)

I'm still using Google search, but not 100% of time. Bing is quite good too.


Search: https://www.startpage.com (free)

Mail: https://www.posteo.de (12 EUR/yr)

Contacts: posteo does CardDAV (included)

Calendar: posteo does CalDAV (included)

Chat: Signal (though not decentralised, the only service that seems robust, trustworthy and usable by the not-so-technical (=friends)); (free)

Drive: Dropbox w/ partly encrypted content (currently GPG, but should move to cryptomator or similar for convenience/scaling; Spideroak is not open-source despite promising to become that for years now, don't see why to trust them); (free plan)

Youtube: :( - impossible to replace, i guess

Maps: https://www.openstreetmap.org on occasion, mostly still G. Maps :(

also:

Desktop OS: Ubuntu (I don't see significant privacy concerns currently; also, this is the only OS i would recommend to either browse-and-mail users or interested and motivated friends)

Mobile: Still on OEM-Android; would switch to CyanogenMod if i could root safely, see below (in future: CopperheadOS); using it with most G. Apps disabled, NetGuard blocks all but G. Services (required for Play & Signal)

Browser: Firefox w/ uBlock, NoScript, Request Policy, HTTPS Everywhere, Decentraleyes (hasn't been mentioned here?!), Random Agend Spoofer (disable in reverse order if this seems excessive/redundant)

looking for:

Skype: good SIP client and especially server - anyone? :) (also non-SIP alternatives...)

Mobile hw: good hardware (Nexus seems paradoxically logical to either get serious updates or compatibility to projects like Copperhead/Cyanogen; maybe also S. Galaxy?)

Mobile sw: open-source scripts to root above "good hardware"; open-source su apps (phhusson's seems to be the only one outside CyanogenMod? and still in rough beta)


One thing that really helped me stop relying on Google for search was when I realised that I could precede any search on DuckDuckGo with `!g` if I didn't find what I wanted on DDG and it would switch to encrypted.google.com

"!g my search term"


Prefixing with !sp will redirect your query to Startpage, which is essentially an anonymous proxy for Google.

So Google will still get to log and analyse your search terms, but they will be aggregated with all other users of Startpage - lots of noise.


good stuff, thank you


Ditto


To me, there are several classes of privacy concerns: those specific to a particular company, those specific to third party data storage, those specific to the internet as a whole. A good solution for an actual individual person will be based on the weight assigned to each area and the convenience tradeoffs. I mean Richard Stallman's approach works for him it seems, but I'm not ready to unplug from the internet to that degree.

1. Concerns over the company: Google, Microsoft and Apple are largely fungible in terms of services and variation among their policies and other business practices may make one better than another for a particular person. For me, I place more trust on Microsoft because I give more weight to the alignment between a company's business model and my interests and believe Microsoft provides the best alignment with my interests among the big three. Someone else could easily and reasonably come to a different conclusion.

2. The cloud in general: I like having important data on a 'disk' I physically control. I'm all for the cloud as backup, but I don't want to be locked in. I suppose I'm willing to trade a little continuous pain for reducing the risk of great pain all at once. Anyway, the cloud as primary storage often seems just like more work which is just like the work of managing local resources again.

3. The internet in general: Most of what I do is pretend I am beating big data. But I silo logins: HN, Facebook, Linkedin, Gmail, all have their own browser instance to reduce information leakage. The result is not so much strict privacy as preventing my information from being the low hanging fruit. Raising the cost of cross referencing my activity seems to reduce 'personalization' and a bit more 'anonymity' when surfing the web is the sort thing I am interested in.

4. As my data has accumulated, I've been less concerned over keeping it...I really don't enjoy filing and record keeping and moving data from one store to another. So I'm much more willing to delete old emails and documents...and new emails and documents. In the past, I've had a tendency to over-estimate the value of saving things.

Good luck.


I use Dropbox instead of Drive and Photos.

Gmail is hard to replace because it's well integrated with other Google services, in particular Google Apps with its own ecosystem.

Google Search is hard to replace because of the quality. Bing is ok but not close in quality.


> I use Dropbox instead of Drive and Photos.

For the privacy-conscious, Dropbox is saddled with the same pitfalls as Google and Facebook, unfortunately.

> Google Search is hard to replace because of the quality. Bing is ok but not close in quality.

https://disconnect.me/search used to show Google search results, but it looks like Google has blocked it for the time being.

I personally use https://duckduckgo.com/. The quality of results is definitely below Google, but I believe that'll only improve as more people switch to them.


I agree that Dropbox is nearly same than Google for privacy but it can be a first step to split your data between multiple companies instead of giving all your data to Google.

I know it's totally not perfect, but is it logical?


Yeah, I think that's a fair point, and can certainly be a logical step toward increased privacy.


It's really hard to beat Google Photos and their built in search capabilities. I have Flickr and Amazon Prime, and constantly use Google Photos to find things.

I can type 'Fall Photos' and instantly see all my fall photos taken in the past 5 years.


I have deleted most of my gmails, now I only have one because is the main email where I have a lot of accounts signed up that I don't remember, when I get an email from those services I change my email immediately.

Now I use http://posteo.de as my main email, any new contact or new service I use this email. The only con is that I can't use my own domain on this, but I don't really care.

The only thing that keeps me from closing all my google accouns is google maps, for a person that sucks memorizing street names and locations this is very useful for me.


I went through the Google service manager:

Bookmarks -> Firefox sync plus manual downloads back ups Photos -> For online albums, Microsoft OneDrive Reader -> Digg Reader Drive -> Dropbox and OneDrive YouTube -> OneDrive and Vimeo

I'm still using Calendar, Gmail, Maps. I could migrate Gmail to Outlook, but I haven't committed to that change. Not sure how I can replace Calendar and Maps.


Gmail: My own domain/mailserver, using dovecot and postfix.

photos: Piwigo

search: ddg

music: mpd and ampache

drive: I use svn/git repos that are hosted on my server


My Gmail accounts became useless, and everything else killed gtalk (at least for me). Only thing I still use a lot is search, which often lead me to two places: stackoverflow or Wikipedia. I guess it won't take much time until I stop google.


I have pretty much moved all my services to cloudron.io. It's not free but you can pick and choose whatever apps you want. They are quiet responsive about packaging any new apps.


For email, Yandex Mail is excellent. For search, DuckDuckGo is okay.


I'm not sure I like the idea of my email being hosted in Russia.


You are protected somewhat by their extra level of ineptitude and reluctance to collaborate with North American / European authorities.


I'm locked out of gmail, so i don't use it anymore. It's what happens when they can't track you. "suspicious activity" they call it.


Switched everything over to Microsoft, because Google is evil now and Microsoft isn't. Will switch back in a few years when they trade places again.


This is probably the 5th posting I've seen in a month or so. I struggle with this problem as well. Looking forward to hearing peoples experiences.


People talk about DuckDuckGo as great ... but it returns the same garbage results as Google.

I want results for a search where I can exclude those with a number of cookies/js links that would have been blocked by uBlock (or similar) above some threshold.


I use StartPage for search. Openmailbox for email.




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