It's the same thing between Chrome vs Firefox. People also don't have a problem with their Firefox account used for syncing. Why? The scope is limited.
If you don't use Google Play as an app store, security quickly becomes an issue. And even if you are using Google Play, the inherent ability for apps to do whatever offers less privacy than the iOS equivalent.
Apple was very much criticized in the earlier days when apps would leak personal data out. They've since focused on giving the users more control about what to share. Android on the other hand, not so much.
I've used Android as my primary phone for a number of years. Privacy and security are some of the reasons that I will only buy Apple phones now. I wish that wasn't the case because I do want the variety of phone choices and the lower cost options. I also do like Android for its other aspect, but security and privacy ranks towards the very top of my criteria.
This sentiment is really interesting. Thinking that ads are overtly antagonistic, that they are an "attack" of sorts I guess makes sense. And then when Google or FB enables advertisers it's seen as an affront.
I am interested in why there aren't similar levels of vitriol for, say, NBC/ABC/CBS or any TV broadcaster for enabling the ads that they show us.
When Google is tracking where I'm going, my browsing habits, and even where I shop and what I buy, that's when I start to get creeped out about how much they know about me.
If NBC was watching my TV and putting in ads based on every show I've ever watched, I'd be concerned about that, too.
Outside of visiting them, I can't even think of any situations where I'd encounter one. We've got TVs in work but they only show static screens with schedules and notifications. No channels. None of my friends own one and I do actively avoid sports bars.
I'm probably in a minority but I don't think I'm extremely unusual. Definitely a fast growing minority at least.
8+ years ago, when you were still seeing TV ads, were you feeling as attacked by TV broadcasters as you are by Google/FB today?
I would not be so sure about that..
(it's from 2011-2015, but still...)
> "Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a “backdoor” in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed any government access to our servers. And we never will."
IMO Turning over data they have stored in response to government requests while working to reduce the data they have access to is rather different from using it to build profiles about their customers and sell their eyeballs to third parties.
Android is a hopeless cause. If the platform developer's goal is to get all information about you that it can, it's pointless to try software workarounds.
And recommending software developed by Chinese companies for privacy purposes must be a joke.
They will probably support the upcoming Pixel 2 as well.
Are you back on Android now or why do you speak in past tense? If yes, what are the reasons? I'm considering moving to Ubuntu Phone or Sailfish, that's why I'm asking.
It was a great party trick to be able to dual-boot my phone, I got a lot of mileage out of that one. But it wasn't much more helpful to me than that.
I don't think it's ready for prime time either, but I think it might get to Arch-level usability for a reasonably large set of phones soon. Very promising for middling tinkerers and up IMO.
Apple doesn't have 100% of my trust but of the OEM phone makers out their right now, I think by a wide margin they're the most trustworthy.
It's really paradoxical that a closed source O/S is a pro-privacy option vs. Linux-based Android of all things.
As to the fact that you're at Apple's mercy, that's true, but I don't see how that's particularly different with Android and Google, the only difference being with Android you often don't get their latest software update. ;)
And yes, definitely a paradox but I think the primary reason is that people tend to think of Android as being a Google product, when it isn't, Google just bought it. If you use pure Android on a rooted device you could probably secure it pretty effectively, except that software updates then become more complicated, plus the process of rooting a phone, while not as complex as jailbreaking an iOS device, is quite challenging and above what the vast, vast majority of users are willing to do.
You've been living in some kind of echo chamber my brother, especially if you think Apple worries about encryption just because they want your privacy. It's only the ubiquitous mobile device OS on the planet. Do you ever want to do something fun with a raspberry pi?
In China, some phones may annoying user with their own built-in apps or even integrated with AdWare or/and other stuff that will collect your "usage" info. We don't trust those devices in China. But maybe they're better outside? I don't know.
If you want to use Chinese phones as alternative, be picky, use only large international brand, and good luck.
And you can't technically "switch" to iOS. You have to buy a new device for that, a new phone. On a PC, you can tell people to "switch to Linux" because it does not cost them anything, but phones being what they are now, there is close to no Freedom left to the user to install a different OS.
I'll tell that to my mother. I am sure she will agree. Right after she finishes laughing.
No, it's not "very easily". It's not even "easily".
Sure, you will be not able to use Google apps, but that's the point, right?
Especially because the Google services run on the Google servers and you have to contact them in order to use them. The same is not true for just using Android. However, the thing regarding Google services is true whether you use them on Android or any other system.
In fact, if you want your app to run on Chinese devices or Amazon devices, for example, you have to account for missing Google Play Services.
(edit: i should add i'm referring to macos)
You can use CalDav and CardDav with a non-Google online service like Fastmail.
As to why one would want to live without Google, there are many reasons. For one thing you actually pay Apple with real money, not in eyeballs like you do with Google and Facebook as a consumer.
Android is a Google product. :/
Rooting your phone isn't always possible. Microsoft controls both CyanogenMod, which is often the best opption, and of course Windows Mobile, but in many ways MS is actually more open source friendly than Google nowadays. (and both are obviously way more open than Apple)
Honestly, I'm rooting for Microsoft in the mobile space right now simply because the more competition there is, the more need for cross-platform standards.
But I'm also rooting for Sailfish and Firefox (assuming they try again when Servo is done). They all have interesting pros and cons.
https://cve.lineageos.org/kernels is their tracker for CVEs in non-deprecated kernels they ship in officially supported devices: no kernel they ship has 100% of CVEs patched, and both mean and median are about 49% of CVEs patched. And this is before we start even considering the firmware blobs that are shipped that haven't had security updates in years.
And you CAN use an iPhone without Apple if you jailbreak.
That said, Apple has taken a number of social policy positions and my 3 year old 6 Plus is getting the latest OS this fall, and for my load, the battery life is still well beyond a work days.
It's expensive but I'd end up chucking half a dozen cheap Android phones by now. Ultimately spending the same amount
I know all about walled gardens and don't care. I bought a device with long term intent. So far I've been "rewarded" for the decision
Meanwhile, official Android gadgets are quickly deprecated, leaky dinghy security wise and AOSP is a time consuming PITA
Stuff that worked:
- gmail/calendar -> fastmail. I still miss a few features of the gmail web interface, but in general I'm very happy with the switch.
- reader -> feedbin. Yeah, as if I had a proper choice.
- search -> DuckDuckGo: I find myself hitting !g often enough for more "fuzzy" searches, or ones where I'm looking for German content. Which happens often enough, as I've had wikipedia/imdb shortcuts for ages and so don't need to google that only to click on the first link popping up.
- maps -> Bing/OpenStreetMap: I'm mostly a desktop user when it comes to maps, and find myself using the !bm tag in DDG more and more. Directions are good and it zooms faster on my Linux desktop. Mobile situation ain't that great.
- mobile -> LineageOs: I got my old Nexus 4 and put LineageOs on it. But it's hard to get by just with F-Droid apps alone. As a compromise, I'm using a cheap iPhone 5c for most stuff these days. I'm seriously considering ditching smartphones altogether and lugging my Sony reader, Sansa Fuze and an old Nokia flip phone around again...
I find myself doing this, too, from time to time, but I have come to rely on the "bang shortcut" feature for so many other sites. It's a great feature.
I've found their handy country toggle switch at the top of the page works better and better for this sort of thing recently.
There's also wego.here.com but with the amount of wonderful work that goes into the OSM community, the quality of their data, and the polish of some of the modern SaaS options for devs like Mapbox and Mapzen, it really surprises me that the UX on openstreetmap.org itself remains so basic and... not very useful.
> Mobile situation ain't that great.
In case you're still looking, can't recommend Maps.me highly enough.
Everything else I strongly prefer OSM though: their maps are (at least around here) way better, esp. if you aren't driving, they are offline, the apps are less laggy, ...
I've heard good things about fastmail, but is there a provider that hosts open source calendar software? I think I'd slightly prefer that.
I can also have Fastmail host my calendar/tasks, and that can use caldav as well.
I am not sure if they use any proprietary software though.
Curious what features you miss from Gmail?
I don't know about feedbin, but if you're looking for an alternative to reader, inoreader works reasonably well, and doesn't feel like it is missing too many features.
You can use Yalp to download free Google Play apps. But you'll still need Google Play Services most of the time.
this one surprised me to say the least. It's like jumping from the dragon's mouth into the lion's pit. Both are not good options for privacy, you have no knowledge of what Apple collects and what it does with your data either and it basically requires you to have an iTunes account. At least on Android you can install other app stores like Freedroid which are not linked to any major vendor.
At least Apple stood up to the FBI when they wanted an encryption backdoor.
For people willing to install their own operating systems, LineageOS and AOKP also are solid options.
We don't have to choose the lesser of two evils. We just have to be willing to research options that don't have millions to spend on marketing.
You mean Nexus 6P, the device that many coudln't could trust to not drop their Bluetooth connection to their car's audio system? Or the device that suffers random display and sound issues on a hardware level?
> For people willing to install their own operating systems, LineageOS and AOKP also are solid options.
"willing to install their own OS" saved you from trolling here. Need I remind you however how miniscule that audience is? Shouldn't we strive to make privacy available for all mothers and grandmothers out there as well?
> We don't have to choose the lesser of two evils.
Your life might allow you to go live in a cave without technology, mine doesn't. Good to know your idealism is serviceable in your life but you should realize this isn't the case for most of us.
> We just have to be willing to research options that don't have millions to spend on marketing.
Yeah. Right after I finish my work day and when I only need rest and relaxation. Oh wait.
Only for data physically stored on your phone, but you don't know what they do with your data stored/hosted on their cloud services.
There's really no argument here. Google is the world's #1 internet activity-tracking organization.
Apple is a hardware company that has data retention policies roughly somewhere around what one would expect for the pervasiveness of it's technology. I don't have to like either, but I'd be a fool to think that we're talking about equal amounts of intrusion.
Just what Google could do with the same amount of phone tracking, tied to all the other information it gathers from the multitude of other gathering apparatuses it operates makes an Andriod the less privacy minded option.
Is it a bug though, or a feature? On Windows 10 regular updates do the exact same thing and revert your privacy settings back to default, as far as I know.
> Just what Google could do with the same amount of phone tracking, tied to all the other information it gathers from the multitude of other gathering apparatuses it operates makes an Andriod the less privacy minded option.
You can use Android outside of the Google ecosystem. I have Firefox as my main browser on Android, and I dont use Google Play stores, while iOS gives you no option to use alternatives.
If they had nothing to gain, you could claim it's a misunderstanding or a bug, but when there are obvious benefits into letting such things happen, I'd say you should be suspicious as to why it's even occurring.
It's a bug.
They also gave the FBI the last iCloud backup of the phone (a month before the attack happened), so it's not like they haven't cooperated with the FBI at all in that case. It's just that it wasn't enough to the FBI, and that's where Apple drew the line.
Apple is clearly working toward securing that data so they can't supply it in readable form. Hard to reconcile that with excellent usability & UX, but they're solidly heading that way. Encrypting that iCloud backup such that it [mathematically] cannot be used without the Secure Enclave is surely coming. To wit: "here's all the data we have, only the defendant can unlock it, and no we're not building backdoors in."
The trick, of course, to preventing government surveillance is for companies to just not have the data in the first place.
But I admit my conspiracy theory assumption was written as a statement, sorry about that !
There are open source google-free builds of Android like CopperheadOS which focuses on security and privacy. Many of those security improvements even make it into Google Android builds eventually.
We do have some real choices on hardware that happens to ship with Google Android but Apple devices should not be a consideration if one wants to maintain their ability to have choices.
But they did acquire the company that did.
While I do agree that Apple is no better at preserving privacy, it doesn't fit the scope of this article.
> This means they are not only tracking what you search for, they're also tracking which websites you visit, and using all your data for ads that follow you around the internet
Apple may be doing the exact same thing as well, so they should not recommend Apple on the same principle. Otherwise it's just preposterous.
I've gone very far in limiting what Google has on me. But if my goal was simply to ditch Google completely, iOS is a completely valid point. So is Vimeo.
It seems that you are hardly going out of the loop by searching for stuff on an iOS device. Google still ends up serving the results and collecting information on you. And by default Safari does not block ads that track you either.
This way of stating that Google pays to be the default search engine in Safari is inaccurate at best or disingenuous at worst. Phrasing it as you did makes it sound like Apple is hiding the fact that you're using Google and surreptitiously passing on your search information to Google.
Sure, one could argue that Apple should use a different engine by default and forgo that $3 billion. That certainly would be something. What's the trade off for them? At this point what major search engine doesn't track? (Yes, DuckDuckGo doesn't, and I use it as my default, but I also think people can reasonably disagree whether it's a major search engine, and I also recognize that the results aren't always as good as Google.) Apple does make it dirt simple to change the default, and doesn't nag you after you've changed it.
Definitely different than Apple "selling search requests". If you switch your search provider to anything non-Google, (presumably) Google is not going to get your search requests.
Don't just to avoid google for the pure idea's sake, try truly see and understand the factors that google controls or limits or annoys you. If you don't have any, then don't bother. But if you notice it, you'll desire the otherwise freedom. When you desire the freedom, you'll find the small inconvenience worthwhile.
Having said that - the problem with Google is that it provides really useful services and it is really difficult to actually argue that Google is bad. They are doing lots of good stuff. They "abused" their monopoly to push SSL/HTTPS, they recklessly improve web advertisement and so on.
Still FB is measurably bad for people's wellbeing, Amazon is treating their workers badly and their customer service gets shittier with every year. Google is just too big. And too much power in one hand is never beneficial in the long run.
PS: deepl.com is actually better than Google Translate for several languages - so you can start with that and even benefit :)
As they have become part of the business establishment, they have been moving this attitude into politics. That's when it gets scary.
That's how i feel about Amazon.
Efforts like deleting browser cookies, while certainly a good policy, are probably futile in light of all the ways that Google can track and identify browsers; ip address, stored data, fingerprinting (see: panopticlick), canvas fingerprinting, identification through network card timing, etc.
During the past few years, Google has been making a concerted attempt to make website functionality dependent on interaction with Google services: ampproject, googletagservices and googleapis (e.g. jquery) all freqently break websites when browsers block these Google services.
For years now Google has been getting a free pass from governments, the media, and most egregiously, developers, who should know better (nobody else knows what 'HTTP' and 'packet' mean!). This is not to say that Google is evil; they're just a unbelievably huge and powerful corporation that is not accountable to anyone, and knows more about most people in the world than they know about themselves, by most measures, and is rapidly developing technology that will be able to make automated, qualitative judgments of people based on this knowledge.
I do full-stack programming: java, Node.js react, angular, redux for my day job and dabble in a bit of C++ outside of work as well.
Looks like DDG has a bang for it, too: https://duckduckgo.com/bang?q=startpage
What I need is simple, a single VOIP number linked to:
- Calling/SMS on the desktop (Windows/Linux) and on the phone
- Shared contacts and call/sms history on all devices
- When I call out/text on any device, show the VOIP number in caller ID not the device number
- When I receive a call, ring all devices
I don't need any fancy handoff from device to device, or IM integration, or anything else. Just ring all my damn devices and let me pick up one. Ideally it would have an API that allows IM clients to integrate with it as a protocol, but hell, at this point I'd go for a black box app if it could do what I want.
Is there an app for that? I'm not sure its even possible on iPhone unless you're iMessage, but of course that doesn't work if your desktop is non-Apple.
Seems like it would be fairly simple. Tempted to build something out myself, but that's a lot of ongoing support.
Twilio -- that'd make a great showcase app and it's something I'd personally pay for. Any chance you guys might pick that up?
If my phone rings, my watch also does (when it's on my wrist, no cellular required), so does my iPad. I can answer on these devices. I can also make calls on them from my iPhone number.
I don't have a mac at home (because, why desktop?) but If I did it would also ring and allow me to make calls from it too.
iMessages and text messages work the same way, alerts and ability to reply on the watch, synchronization with my iPad and iPhone, and the Messaging app on OSX.
I'm not going to jump from one walled garden to another, particularly when it's going from GV which is at least cross platform to a Apple only solution.
I'd be tempted if they ever had a Windows app that actually worked and was supported, but they've killed off everything. Or if they had an API for iMessages so third parties could access it.
So true. Why is this becoming more and more common?
The internet, and all its byproducts, used to be open.
It's been a couple of years since I used it outside of just personal chat and the occasional skype meeting, but I think Skype might be something to look into.
Basically what Apple/iMessages give if you play in their sandbox.
AFAIK, Skype and similar services don't let you port in your number and use that for inbound and outbound calls -- you're locked in to a Skype name or whatever. Or if they do allow a number its some ungodly expensive thing like "Skype for Business": https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Transfer-phone-numb...
Especially because GV was left for dead for so long. I'd like a company, that I can give money to, whose only motivation is to make a great GV-type product.
Many (not all) of them can be reflashed with a ROM that allows for a mainstream Linux distro to be installed. https://johnlewis.ie/custom-chromebook-firmware/rom-download...
Advertising: Strip off the ChromeOS logo or cover it with an EFF or FSF sticker.
Power: Not really giving them any power simply by using their hardware with a Linux distro.
The next day: He buys a Chromebook and uses it with ChromeOS and without a sticker.
Google has NO idea how to do UI these days. To simply plot a course to one of my designated "favorite" places (i.e. probably what I need most often), I counted: FIVE taps, interspersed with staring at menus to find what to tap, before the driving directions appear. In a maps app. Frankly the quality of their mapping is the only compelling thing these days.
So the obvious open source answer: Why not help make it good yourself! Add data!
More serious response: What do you find "missing" in OSM?
I actually have more apps available to me on a Windows 10 Mobile device than an Android device with Play disabled. And I'm able to do most everything I need to while sending drastically less information to my Microsoft account than I ever did to Google.
Microsoft still updates every Windows 10 Mobile device monthly with security updates, direct from them, on the second Tuesday of every month. (I got an update for my 2014-era Windows Mobile phone on the 12th, for instance.) In many ways, this means Windows Mobile is still a more secure choice than most Android phones. Microsoft releases the update to all devices on the same day, regardless of OEM.
I can say my phone isn't vulnerable to the BlueBorne thing that came out this week, but most Android users won't be able to speak to that.
* It applies to non-Nexus/Pixel lines (before you say that this is an invalid argument, most of the Windows devices sold are Lumia devices, so presumably, yours is too).
* It applies to people who don't change phones every six months (the amount of people I've witnessed updating Galaxy phones every year is equal to the amount of people I've seen upgrading iPhones every year).
* It applies to people not using a relatively recent Samsung (https://security.samsungmobile.com/workScope.smsb) or LG (https://lgsecurity.lge.com/security_updates.html) phones.
The only valid security argument is that Windows phones and iPhones have longer support than Google (two years for upgrades to newer versions + one additional year of security updates). That's it. The rest is to blame solely on companies that make Android phones.
Google is the only one out of all three that actually gives everyone a chance of using their OS. Microsoft (from what I could find) is only giving Windows Mobile free to some mobile companies. Apple is not providing that option to anyone.
If the rest of the companies didn't actually try really hard to stand out from the rest of the Android crowd by modifying vanilla Android, we would have a completely different situation.
...which is another reason why I blame OEMs, not Google.
Another security argument for Windows Mobile is actually that while flaws are regularly found and patched in the code due to the shared codebase with Windows desktop, it has a significantly reduced attack surface compared to Windows 10 proper. Nobody invests resources into developing exploits for Windows 10 Mobile, so it's exceedingly unlikely for any to be out there. Security by obscurity is not something you should rely on (I rely on monthly patches), but it does help.
Blaming OEMs for Android's update woes relies on some significant misconceptions. First and foremost, every OEM that ships Android devices with Google Play has to sign an agreement binding them to a truly incredible number of terms for how the platform operates and what is on the phone (this is known as the Google MADA). This spans everything from requiring Google's approval to release products to which apps must be preinstalled and set as default on each new device. If Google wished to control updates, they would.
Bear in mind that many OEMs offer stock Android or as close to stock Android as possible: If Google was willing to handle updates directly for Android devices, at least a few OEMs would've opted in already. The reality is that creating and testing releases for Android devices is an expensive proposition that Google wants no part in. The way Android devices update was designed and developed by Google, and the position that Google is not responsible for it seems indefensible.
 - https://puri.sm/shop/librem-5/
Presumably, the question "go for which OS on mobile" refers to now, so Librem's definitely not an answer to the question above, even though it's a marvelous goal.
Is it? (accepted as fact)
Doesn't that make it an accepted fact?
I mean, I do maintain Apple is more privacy-friendly than Google but IMO iCloud leaves a lot to be desired still.
And you have to trust a binary from a "nightly" build hosted on who knows where for your model - There's so much possibility for stuff to happen I'm not sure it's even a good recommendation to make.
I am a map-data contributor and am somewhat blinkered as a result. What's missing or clunky from the perspective of general users?
It defaults to translating to Russian, which is a bit annoying as it adds an extra step. But still, seems ok.
Though I suppose "Google through Tor" is pretty similar.
But I can't find any good replacement for Google services unfortunately.
Tried Duck Duck Go for a full month, but the returned results weren't as accurate as Google, I missed some of functionalities the search automatically gives to you. I could switch to bing, although I don't know if that would make a huge difference, privacy wise.
That said, I'm going to try to keep using DDG this time. Although most of my "important" searches are still going to Google, at least they're not seeing absolutely everything I search for.
1) You have to give up convenience (and/or money), nowadays the alternatives have caught up to where this is kinda the only point of difference but you still have to give up something more tangible than your digital privacy and some data you didn't even know existed.
2) You have to convince other people to use whatever messaging app you've switched to. My social bubble pretty much only uses Facebook for that, nobody is changing any time soon and I'm the only one even thinking about it.
I'm like a week into my goal of a month without google and ideally owning as much . I have firefox, a non-gmail email account, Syncthing in place of google drive (luckily I don't need the documents part of it), and LineageOS with FDroid and no google play services (and 3-4x the battery life). What I don't have is p2p calendar/contacts sync, which is pretty annoying.
There's OwnCloud (or *DAV servers) but I think it's a bit silly requiring a server to host data which I'm only going to sync over 5 devices tops.
Also, bear in mind while reading the rest of this comment, that Google claims it no longer scans Gmail account content for ad targeting purposes: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alphabet-gmail/google-to-...
The big question is, if you don't have a Google account attached to that mail, can Google still profile you with it? Does Google relate all of the emails people across their products get from you? If you aren't logged into a Google account when browsing, does it help them target you with ads? Can the government get a portion of your email by requesting Google give them a copy of all emails from your non-Gmail account to Google servers? These are probably the key questions on how much of an issue this is.
I also think there's probably a significant benefit from Google not having access to information in your email that wouldn't come from Gmail users. For example, if you don't have Gmail, Google can't know what you bought on Amazon or who you're friends with on Facebook.
1. It's still much slower than google.
2. The results are still sometimes lacking.
I could probably live with the slowness if the results were more consistently high quality. For example, just the other day I was searching for some specific error message in DDG and it returned 1 (irrelevant) result. Google returned hundreds of good results. In that case it seemed to me that google had indexed a lot of IRC archives and mailing list archives that DDG had not.
I still don't understand their business model though.
archive.org for video-upload instead of youtube/vimeo is an option. searx instead of google search. for smartphone you have to dig deeper ;)
Photo seems to be part of takeout : https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout
I have not tried it for photo but it seems like you can download all your albums.
One thing that Google is exemplary at in my experience is in providing an easy way to export all your data if you want to.
You can export them (incl. meta data) through the regular Google Takeout. From there you just have to upload them again to your new, preferred cloud provider.
Delete accounts from people who do not fit they template ?
Ask yourself, is it "Evil" behaviour?
Facebook, Google, Twitter all same CIA orchestrated company model.
Please listen CIA whistleblowers, they will tell you what these companies are doing with you and your information.
Listen Alex Jones, they have talked this now 10 years !
iOS is not an option for people preferring privacy. Cyanogen without Google Packages is.
Those who use DDG, do you miss dates in results? Having a date present definitely helps me think about the results:
This isn't a case where I _know_ I only want 2017 results, and so I do the syntax to filter it down automatically.
I want all results, but I want to be aware of the timeline of whatever I'm going to click.
My Google Calendar appointments appear on my Google Maps the day they're occurring. When I get a flight confirmation in GMail it's added to my Google Calendar.
That doesn't work with Fastmail and Open Street Maps.
DDG works great, and fastmail is fabulous. their UI/UX is years ahead of Gmail's!
I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened to others in other regions.
As for GMaps, I find their UX/UI awful and too complex. They really need to go back to the old-school google that did simple things.
I use Resilio myself, but I'd rather use free software for this sort of thing. Syncthing looks great aside from the lack of iOS support.
I don't really see a huge difference in using Apple or Google in the end.
I used to just have a Nextcloud setup, which already lets you sync files/contacts/calendar and with additional apps even rss feeds extremely easily.
But always sending my stuff across the entire Internet seemed rather unnecessary when my server is in the same Network.
So now I've switched to Syncthing, which worjs pretty much lije Resilio Sync But to be fair the experience of using syncthing is still far from comparable to nextcloud or gdrive. As soon as you want to share single files you end up having to write regex based ignore files and you can't just give someone a link to something.
Then for contacts/calendar I use radicale a tiny python script.
For rss feeds I've decided to use selfoss
A small raspberry pi seems so far good enough for that.
For messenging I use Matrix/Riot but hosting that on my rpi is probably too much.
Riot allows to use jitsi video conference widgets now aswell.
I'd also check out yunohost that should allow you to host these things as one click apps and has a complete ldap setup built in.
Also interesting is searx, which describes itself as a privacy-respecting, hackable metasearch engine.
You could easily host this yourself or use one of the many instances.
I personally settled for android with lineageos without gapps. I think that android open source apps have come along way and with fdroid they are just as convenient to use (arguably even better than) gstore. And you could still always install yalp, which allows you to download the apk from the gstore without the need of an account, or even with your account to get previously bought apps and update them.
I still use YouTube, but I sync my channel subscriptions over rss feeds and use newpipe on android to watch videos (it even has a picture in picture or play audio in background mode) or on my pc with mpv/youtube-dl (shift - t makes a video stay on top)
Getting to this pointed definitely took time and you need to be somewhat tech savvy.
In the end I still have to rely on nonfree apps like whatsapp since matrix still has no real bridge and probably never will due to the walled in nature of WhatsApp for better or worse.
Oh one last thing, if you really need to track your websites's users behavior I would check out Piwik.
I persobally don't have trouble with analytics and definitely understand that there is often no way around it.
But I think as long as you are the only one I have to trust with that data I can accept that. Everything else gets blocked with umatrix/ublock
This is inaccurate as this is not the only option. You can still download the source and run an instance on your own server.