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How to Live Without Google (spreadprivacy.com)
327 points by janober on Sept 14, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 283 comments

I really don't see switching to iOS an improvement. Not only is it insanely expensive, it's not even necessary. Android can be used without Google very easily. You can even get one of the hundreds of chinese phones that don't have any Google software whatsoever. Try using an iPhone without an Apple account.

People don't have problem using an Apple account because they're not using that to track you everywhere and then use that against you in ads.

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.

> ... track you everywhere and then use that against you in ads.

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.

It's not the ads themselves so much as the tracking required to target them. When it was just Google showing ads at the top of the search results that matched whatever I just searched for, that was fine and often even helpful.

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.

I will raise my hand--Over decades, I've made a conscious effort to reduce, minimize, and when I can, eliminate ads of all kind from my headspace. From little things like ad blocking and not watching TV (yep, I'm one of those guys), to deliberately choosing routes to and from work and other places so as to minimize the number of billboards invading my field of view. I see them as unwanted communications that I do not consent to, similar to how we think of telemarketers and door-to-door solicitors.

I haven't seen a TV ad in 8+ years.

Thats near unbelievable, I haven't owned a TV in near a decade and I see a TV ad at least once a month. I walk by TVs too often to not see them.

I think it depends on where nnutter lives, and it also depends on his social circle. Since nearly none of my friends have TVs, I can go months without seeing an ad. (I myself do have a TV, but I only watch public broadcast channels that do not have ads except for their own programming.)

I can believe it. I haven't owned a TV in many years, and while I do see an ad or two relatively regularly (my parents own a TV), even when I visit them I often never see it on.

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.

You're being deliberately obtuse, but I'll play along.

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 think this is a neargroup-fargroup thing. I'm willing to bet that very little of the Hackernews demographic watches enough NBC/ABC/CBS to feel subjugated by their ads, but most of us use Google and Facebook a whole lot.

> People don't have problem using an Apple account because they're not using that to track you everywhere

I would not be so sure about that..

Why? Mind citing some sources so we can make more informed choices? I've heard this accusation a few times, but there's not a lot of info contradicting Apple's word on how they are using the data they collect.


(it's from 2011-2015, but still...)

Here's what I take from that (emphasis mine):

> "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.

Yes. This text is new from a more recent privacy policy update. They made a big update a couple years ago and their warrant canary disappeared - the text changed to let you read between the lines like you did.. the pot is boiling, HN.

It is an improvement, because Google is one of the greatest privacy offenders. Almost any company except Facebook and the other tracking-people-for-money would be better than them.

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.

This was one of the reasons I was really sad to see Ubuntu discontinue their phone. It would be nice to have a phone option that could easily install multiple OSes. While Replicant exists it's nowhere near feature parity. I suppose one could use a custom ROM but there are very few phones that work flawlessly with them in my experience. What about options like the ONEPlus phones?

CopperheadOS is de-Googled and works great. Only supports four phones, though: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel, and Pixel XL.

They will probably support the upcoming Pixel 2 as well.

I've experienced success installing Ubuntu Mobile and Sailfish OS using MultiROM on the OnePlus One. It was neat. YMMV.

> It was neat.

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.

Android had all my information already stored in it, and I didn't think the improvements Sailfish's UI made were worth making the switch (although they really were very nice). Also, Ubuntu Phone didn't really impress me much, and I think it's kind of a dead end now.

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.

Ubuntu touch is not dead yet. It has been picked up by UBports.

PostMarketOS is working on this issue! It's an Alpine Linux distro for phones with Wayland and its own UI kit.

Vouched for your comment; even though PostMarketOS is nowhere near ready for primetime, it is philosophically at least a step in the right direction.

Thanks, must be one of the "go away" bots I keep encountering since my home IP got shitlisted for unclear reasons.

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.

For a while I've thought about trolling eBay for a PostMarketOS compatible phone, just to keep up with development in a hands-on way. It's cheaper than investing in the Neo900 or the Pyra, though I'm passionate about both of those projects as well.

This is what pushed me to iOS primarily. The simple fact is Google is incentivized directly to spy on you, and (increasingly) Apple is using the fact that they do not spy on you as a differentiator. They make their money on the hardware and via iTunes; they don't sell your data, and oftentimes don't even have access to your data by their own design.

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.

True, but OTOH iOS's closedness puts you in a weak position where if Apple changes their mind you can't do anything about it. It's annoying, too, because you need the horrific iTunes software and its cert infrastructure as a gateway to your phone.

It's really paradoxical that a closed source O/S is a pro-privacy option vs. Linux-based Android of all things.

Well they've made a first step to de-cluttering iTunes by moving iOS app management out of the thing, as well as a few other bits, so hopefully it will be less of a dumpster fire in the near future.

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.

>Android is a hopeless cause

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?

Bad thing is those Chinese made phones come with their own alternative stuff that worse than Google's, like their own app market etc :(

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.

> I really don't see switching to iOS an improvement.

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.

While this is true, I think (but do not know the stats) that people buy/replace phones more often than they buy PCs.

> Android can be used without Google very easily.

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".

Yes, easily: do not put your account credentials there.

Sure, you will be not able to use Google apps, but that's the point, right?

IMO the point is using the ecosystem without sacrificing your privacy -- and you have to go through a lot of hoops on Android to achieve it. Hoops the normal non tech-savvy people won't go through.

Using Android without compromising your privacy and using Google services with the same are two radically different things.

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.

Google Play Services offers a lot of baked functionality many apps have come to rely on.

That's true. However, just like any other third party library, app may use, but they don't have to. It is up to the developer. It is perfectly fine to develop Android apps that do not use Google Play Services.

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.

I have an Android phone without a Google account or Google services. It's a pain, and it became more of a pain when local voice dialing went away. But it does work. Mail via IMAP, web via Firefox, SMS via SMS, maps via ZaNavi.

Do you have to write your own apps on Android?

As far as I know, there is no way to sync contacts/calendar over-the-wire (USB) using Android. That's a major ding if one is trying to avoid all things cloud.

(edit: i should add i'm referring to macos)

If the goal is just to avoid using Google, you don't necessarily need to sync contacts and calendars over USB.

You can use CalDav and CardDav with a non-Google online service like Fastmail.

The article is called How to Live Without Google. If that is your goal, does an iPhone help with that or not? That doesn't mean it is the only way. Of course you can go without a phone, use a dumbphone, or use Android without Google if you manage to get it to work.

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.

Also look at the future of their product line and where you'll eventually be upgrading, if you buy in to Apple... I switched back to Android over this.

>Android can be used without Google very easily.

Android is a Google product. :/

What do you recommend instead?

I was hopeful about lots of alternatives, but Firefox OS is dead for now and Sailfish is hard to come by without rooting.

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.

Cyanogenmod is now just a defunct brand - the spirit of the thing lives on in the LineageOS fork (sans corporate backing).

LineageOS's security story is appalling though.

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.

Plus, you have to execute non-reproducible binaries in order to install LinageOS on your phone.

Bizarrely, clicking on "Downloads" for LineageOS takes you to what looks like a bug tracker and is actually a changelog. Yes, you click for your model in the left aside, but it sure takes some figuring out.

Yeah, the homepage could definitely use some improvements.

Does LineageOS integrate google apps/services by default?

No, adding "gapps" is an optional (unsupported) step after imaging the device.

CopperheadOS for both security and privacy. But device support is limited to the Google flagships.

Support Ubuntu Touch. Open Source linux!

Sailfish OS

A number of Chinese Android models have been found to contain back doors.

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

It's definitely a better strategy to run AOSP without Google apps.

I tried most of that a few months ago. The problems, as many others pointed out, is that instead of being eaten by one monster, you're being nibbled at by a few.

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.

Partial success:

- 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...

If you do !sp instead of !g, you get google results, but filteret through startpage, which should protect a little bit of your privacy.

Being "nibbled at by a few" could be beneficial when it comes to privacy. Using many services means no single service has a large amount of data about you.

> DuckDuckGo: I find myself hitting !g often enough for more "fuzzy" searches

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.

> ones where I'm looking for German content.

I've found their handy country toggle switch at the top of the page works better and better for this sort of thing recently.

> Bing/OpenStreetMap

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.

For mobile maps, have you tried https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=net.osmand.plus ? I'm not sure how good navigation is in there (never tried), but having local OSM maps is great

I love OSM (I contribute whenever I can!), and navigation on OsmAnd~ is possible, but Google Maps is far, far easier to use. I really struggle with a Google Maps replacement; I've also tried "Here We Go" but it doesn't hold a candle to GMaps unfortunately

Yeah, for navigation Google Maps is hard to beat.

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, ...

Yes, I used that. It worked pretty well and the map download features was rather convenient on vacation. Still got lost in Venice, but I won't blame that on the app...

> - gmail/calendar -> fastmail. I still miss a few features of the gmail web interface, but in general I'm very happy with the switch.

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.

To sort of answer your question, I use Fastmail to host my email and contacts, and I self-host Nextcloud, and that has my calendar and tasks. I use Caldav to have Fastmail see my calendar/tasks, and it is entirely transparent to me.

I can also have Fastmail host my calendar/tasks, and that can use caldav as well.

There's a calendar in Kolab: https://kolabnow.com/feature/calendar

NextCloud has CalDAV and CardDAV extensions for contact & calendar syncing just like Google. It's self-hosted, though.

I use mailbox.org, they use a customized Open-Xchange. Not sure if it is the open source community edition, though.

I use mailbox too. It is privacy minded email/caldav host with great price and nice ui.

I am not sure if they use any proprietary software though.

>I still miss a few features of the gmail web interface, but in general I'm very happy with the switch.

Curious what features you miss from Gmail?

> - reader -> feedbin. Yeah, as if I had a proper choice.

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.

I was mostly talking about having no choice but to move away from Google. There's plenty of choice to move to, and after Old REader, Feedly and TinyTiny RSS I ended up with Feedbin. I could do with a desktop application if I didn't use it from both work and home (don't even care too much about mobile).

I see, I thought you meant the opposite because I had a hard time finding a good replacement myself. I think I tried the 3 others you mentioned and didn't find them suitable to my preferences at the time either.

> But it's hard to get by just with F-Droid apps alone

You can use Yalp to download free Google Play apps. But you'll still need Google Play Services most of the time.

> Android -> iOS

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.

There is no single good phone option for privacy minded people in the U.S. at the moment, but Apple has definitely shown themselves to be the lesser of two privacy evils.

At least Apple stood up to the FBI when they wanted an encryption backdoor.

Copperhead sells devices that ship open source builds of Android focused on security and privacy without any google server dependencies.

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.

> Copperhead sells devices that ship open source builds of Android focused on security and privacy without any google server dependencies.

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.

Copperhead supports Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel, and Pixel XL.

> but Apple has definitely shown themselves to be the lesser of two privacy evils.

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.

If you care about your privacy you won't upload your stuff to iCloud.

Well, you shouldn't upload it to any cloud system in general

I guess he was talking about actual data leaks, iCloud has a pretty bad track record on that front...

i hope you are aware of this kind of problems: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7455294?start=0&tstart=...

I hope you're not using a potential bug as evidence of malfeasance.

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.

> I hope you're not using a potential bug as evidence of malfeasance.

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.

In Windows 10, it is also a potential bug, rather than evidence of malfeasance. As someone who works with Windows a lot, proving malicious intent on their part requires solid evidence: We already have tons of solid evidence of incompetence and poorly tested software. ;)

Is it that hard to keep existing settings, or is it just that there is an obvious incentive for them to revert said settings to spy on you as you use Windows?

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.

This is true, but I think we also see a lot of Windows issues that have no obvious gain for Microsoft, to the extent that it definitely seems like incompetence is a common source for issues over malfeasance. It is possible Microsoft is vastly smarter than I give them credit and has carefully buried their malfeasance in their incompetence, but I don't think we have any evidence of nearly that much cleverness on Microsoft's part any time recently. ;)

>Is it a bug though, or a feature?

It's a bug.

> At least Apple stood up to the FBI when they wanted an encryption backdoor.

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.

If they have the data, and can supply the data in readable form, they may be legally obligated to provide it. Not much else you can do at that moment, if you're Tim Cook trying to stay out of prison.

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."

If a company doing business in the US receives a legal warrant from a judge requiring them to turn over information they have access to, pretty much any company has to comply. So this isn't surprising, or even that worrisome that they turned that over. Everyone would.

The trick, of course, to preventing government surveillance is for companies to just not have the data in the first place.

I think that (among other recent events) spurred their recent advancements, making less and less of our data accessible by them at all.

Bah, it's not like if Apple is storing on US soil your fingerprints or your face for ID.

Oh, wait...

What makes you think Apple stores that information? It probably never leaves your phone.

Yes, I know they stated that when it cames on the iPhone 5 [0]. So they probably not. But they were (and perhaps still are ?) also part of PRISM. So why not be a little paranoid

But I admit my conspiracy theory assumption was written as a statement, sorry about that !

[0] https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2013/09/10Apple-Announces-iPh...

It doesn't leave your phone. Google "secure enclave"...I mean, search for "secure enclave" :)

Instead, a customised anonymised Google unique ID does.

I think people forget Google didn't 'invent" Android and that it is an open source project based on Linux with many outside contributors.

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.

I think people forget Google didn't 'invent" Android

But they did acquire the company that did.

Plus they reworked it a lot and are reworking it all the time.

Well, the article in question is "life without Google". iOS is not Google's. Therefore, it satisfies the point of this article.

While I do agree that Apple is no better at preserving privacy, it doesn't fit the scope of this article.

This is not the point. The reason why they don't want you to use Google is based on privacy reasons. Quote from the beginning of the 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.

Well, I can guarantee you that Apple doesn't follow you all over the Internet like Google does (edit: and Facebook with its like buttons and commenting platform, probably to lesser extent than Google's analytics and ads). Presumably they're also not making money from your traffic (we can't prove it neither way).

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.

You are aware that Apple is selling your search requests to Google right?


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.

> You are aware that Apple is selling your search requests to Google right?

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.

Nope. In that article, it says that Google is paying them to remain the default search provider (exactly what Mozilla used to do with Firefox).

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.

We really need some open source OS for smartphones, or rather some smartphones that support anything you throw at them.

Here's another person looking for an open source OS on mobile phones. Is 1%/30 million users(?) really not enough? All I would like is the ability to make calls, write texts, and perhaps use data occasionally without a multinational corp logging my every packet for eternity/when AI can use it.

To live without google is not hard. But the question is not about can or cannot, it is about will or will not. It is about will you deliberately choose less ideal products simply out of an idea. It is about how much, really, do you buy into that idea. Essentially, it is a crusade, honorable but hardly workable.

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.

I totally second the basic idea here. I also try to avoid abusive monopolists where I can. I never order at Amazon, I deleted my FB account, I switched from GMail to FastMail and try to use DDG instead of Google.

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.

Just saying.

PS: deepl.com is actually better than Google Translate for several languages - so you can start with that and even benefit :)

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.

As they have become part of the business establishment, they have been moving this attitude into politics. That's when it gets scary.

> 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

That's how i feel about Amazon.

Yeah, I have so far settled for trying competitors from time to time and trying to keep up to date with amazon and google's overreaches so I can switch when they do overstep.

Just tried deepl.com and wow! Impressive for a small company!

Unfortunately, Firefox for example does precious little to impede Google. Everything from search to "safebrowsing" to geolocating to their own forums runs through Google servers. The quote that "Google trackers have been found on 75% of the top million websites" must be a huge underestimate, at least for the top few thousands of websites; it would be surprising if more than 10 of the top 1000 websites did not call some Google server on page load, and most will use 5 or 10 Google services. Here in Canada, it's a very rare government website that does not use Google services (American government sites are actually a little better in this regard). My public library's website (bibliocommons) sends every book I look up to Google.

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've been using DDG for about 2 years now and have rarely needed to resort to a google search in this time. A few of the cases for google were funnily were when I was trying to lookup someone and get their email address.

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.

... and in cases where DDG fails, you can fall back to https://www.startpage.com/ which shows Googles results but strips Googles tracking.

It seems to be /very/ slow to load, google and ddg both seem to load in < 1s where startpage averages around 3-5 seconds, I wonder if it provides any advantages over say using a grease monkey userscript to strip the tracking?


Looks like DDG has a bang for it, too: https://duckduckgo.com/bang?q=startpage

DDG has a bang for a lot of things, because it's trivial to implement them (they just redirect you to <page.com>/<something>?q=<your_search_term_here), and trivial to make a suggestion.

As a paranoid my first thought was, what is startpage.com doing with my information and searches?

Which is the right reaction, but you can read up on them; what other source of knowledge can we depend on other than that of people articulating their cause and others who substantiate those claims?

The one thing keeping me on Google is Google Voice. I have yet to find another solution that allows calling and SMS in/out on desktop and mobile all from the same number.

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?

Apple has all this; if you play in their court. But that's who they are. Everything is set up to "synchronize" with one number.

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.

Yep, but only if you play in their sandbox.

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.

> Yep, but only if you play in their sandbox.

So true. Why is this becoming more and more common?

The internet, and all its byproducts, used to be open.

I might be misunderstanding something, but doesn't Skype fill your needs?

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.

The point is to have a VOIP number that is abstracted from the real world, but to everybody else looks like a normal 10 digit phone number. That way I can answer on my desktop at work, phone on the go, or log in from anywhere and still have that same one point of contact to give out to everybody.

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...

I'd happily pay for an alternative to GV, too, especially since Google has shown little interest in GV and has a tendency to shut down services in which they've lost interest (RIP, Google Reader). Better support for MMS would be nice, too.

That looks very promising! Any experiences with it?

I don't, unfortunately.

I would pay for this as well.

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.

Disappointed this list doesn't include Matrix/Riot as an alternative to Hangouts/Allo. Also there are many Google Drive alternatives including Syncthing (p2p), Dropbox, Nextcloud/Owncloud (selfhosted), Sugarsync, SpiderOak, etc.

Disappointed it does not mention people should NOT be using Chromebooks either. It's become quite prevalent these days.

If you're buying a Chromebook because of the low price point, there is a way out.

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...

What about the chroot/Crouton route?

Crouton leaves ChromeOS in place and running, so I assumed it was out of place for this discussion. I don't know how much the chroot does to mitigate that. I assume, for example, it's still Google's kernel in place?

Yes, it's still using the same kernel.

People shouldn't use ChromeOS, but Chromebooks are fine.

Buying a Chromebook still results in advertisement, money and power for Google.

Money: I really doubt Google profits off the hardware sales at the price points they go for (I'd guess they recoup their costs with ChromeOS), but even if they do that's fine. I'm okay with paying a company for hardware.

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.

Someone asks you "What device it that?" - "A Chromebook" - "Ah nice, I heard they are good!" - "But I've removed the operating system, replaced the logo and don't use any Google services!" - "Yeah, whatever."

The next day: He buys a Chromebook and uses it with ChromeOS and without a sticker.

That's a ridiculous hypothetical with many opportunities to avoid the unlikely conclusion. If you wanted, you could just say it's "an Acer" or "an Asus", and mention GalliumOS in the same breath.

Okay you're right. Still buying a Chromebook increases its sail numbers which does mean advertisement.

Most of these are fine replacements, but some are not, and that's the reason I, and I imagine many more people, stay with google. google maps is great. apple maps is much worse with searching, and shops etc, especially outside the US. openstreetmap is very cool and I use it every now and then, and I wish it becomes the standard online map, but it needs more care or something, I don't know.

For car navigation I use HERE WeGo (traffic info), never looked back. On foot/bike openstreetmap is the best.

Which android app do you use for OpenStreet map?

I agree but I wish "quality of results" and "quality of UI" were not intimately linked in software.

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.

> openstreetmap is very cool and I use it every now and then, and I wish it becomes the standard online map, but it needs more care or something, I don't know.

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?

In my experience once you leave Android living without google is a lot easier then it sounds.

And go for which OS on mobile? On iOS, you fall into Apple's hands, Windows Mobile is dead, and other OSes are relatively non-existent.

Windows Mobile is honestly still (for the short term while it exists) still a very solid option. I used to try to do the Android-without-Google thing, and it was nearly unmanageable, since pretty much every app on the platform depends on Play Services. (Most location-enabled apps won't work without Google Location Services on, for instance.)

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.

While your comment does apply to the large majority of Android users, there are some things worth keeping in mind:

* 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.

Unlike the Lumia, Nexus/Pixel is a tiny percentage of the ecosystem, and not representative of the state of Android. And if you're looking to get away from Google as this thread is discussing, buying a $600 phone directly from them seems like moving in the wrong direction. Note that while I do carry a Lumia (the last one that works on Verizon), Microsoft gives equal direct support to phones made by other manufacturers, such as Acer, Alcatel, and HP, whom all receive the same updates at the exact same time.

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.

Yeah, providing iOS as the "privacy alternative" to Android seems quite ridiculous.

Purism's Librem 5 [1] looks like a very nice mobile phone alternative. It's highly privacy minded, at least.

[1] - https://puri.sm/shop/librem-5/

...and they're still crowdfunding it and don't expect the deliveries before 2019.

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.

This looks great! I hope they can build what they're pitching. I look forward to buying one of these (or something like it) should it ever make it to market.


> iCloud is not secure. That's an accepted fact by now.

Is it? (accepted as fact)

Apple is quick to hand over iCloud backups, even in the famous iPhone 5c case when they refused to unlock the device itself.

Doesn't that make it an accepted fact?

Ok by this definition I agree. (I would not say that apple was "quick" to handover the data but that is beside the point).

Doesn't "The Fappening" count as well? That case when several celebrities got their photos leaked.

I mean, I do maintain Apple is more privacy-friendly than Google but IMO iCloud leaves a lot to be desired still.

They were phished.. I can see how that somewhat falls on Apple, but it’s absolutely possible of any service if the users gives away their password.

I've been misinformed then. Thank you.

Yeah sadly even though you can install a rom like Lineageos, many apps require the google play services installed, which then requires the Gapps to be flashed. Which kinda defeats the purpose... :'(

> install a rom like Lineageos

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.

It's possible to build a lineageos ROM from source, mostly. There are still some binary blobs and it's true that virtually no one has the time to rigorously audit the entire source tree themselves anyway, but technically you do not absolutely have to trust a giant ROM binary that their auto-builder spit out.

Yeah you're right... :( At least it gives a better user experience because there isn't all the pre-installed bloatware.

Google Play Services really isn't that bad. Sure it's annoying and proprietary, but it doesn't give them any more control than what Apple has by default on their devices.

I'm trying to minimize my interaction with google, but I still use google maps and google translate. Unfortunately Open Street Maps is nearly impossible to use. And I didn't find any alternatives to translate at all

I've settled on, of all things, Microsoft Translator, for this purpose. Seems to work well enough for my casual needs, and supports a good number of languages.


DeepL translator (https://www.deepl.com/translator) could be a nice alternative; but the number of languages is more limited.

Looks cool! Too bad it doesn't support russian or ukrainian, as they are my native languages, but still seems like a usable alternative. Thanks a lot!

What problems do you find with OSM?

I am a map-data contributor and am somewhat blinkered as a result. What's missing or clunky from the perspective of general users?

The main problem I faced with OSM is search. When I enter the name of the street it takes me to the random city which has the street with the same name. Google limits search results to the city I'm currently in

Oops, yes, same problem.

When searching in a city for a street name, the search results should not be a ranking that has a street in a city around the world as its first result.

Yandex's version seems to work decently, even in cases where Google's doesn't: https://translate.yandex.com

It defaults to translating to Russian, which is a bit annoying as it adds an extra step. But still, seems ok.

I'd rather use google than yandex. I don't trust russian companies because of political reasons and their laws about data

Use it through Tor then? :)

Though I suppose "Google through Tor" is pretty similar.

Morfix is just as good as google translate - perhaps a bit slower but the quality of the translation is on par.

Is it only for English -> Hebrew translation, or am I missing something?

I live fine without FB, Twitter etc..

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.

I use DDG as my default search engine. Whenever I feel like a search would be a better fit for google I use the !sp flag. The !bang system makes DDG a really nice default search engine IMHO. I'm quite happy with the results that DDG produces. I think it became way better than it was a couple of years ago, when I last tried.

When was the last time you used DDG? It used to be worse but it's roughly on par now.

Not the OP, but I try it every year or so and always give up after a few weeks. I've been using DDG again for about a week or so, and the results are still about as bad as I remember. It's fine for really common searches such as finding a company's website that I don't remember the domain name for or getting quick info about popular places or things, but anything even slightly obscure (like "how do I do x with y?") is almost always useless. I very quickly get into the habit of adding "!g" to the majority of my searches.

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.

I've been researching the Swiss based options personally. Kolab (open source, hosted and enterprise options) and Proton Mail both look like solid options if you don't mind paying a little.

Try startpage and searx.me. They're more of a direct Google proxy.

I had the same issue with DDG but tried again recently and so far so good. I've gotten used to using the bangs for wikipedia and imdb now. Maybe give it another shot.

There are a crapload of alternatives, switching in a meaningful way is hard:

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.

I really really miss times when google talk, facebook messenger and a bunch of other lesser known chat apps used xmpp! For p2p syncing you may want to have a look at https://syncthing.net/ - however, you must use apps that allow plain text export - and they are surprisingly hard to find!

I do use syncthing, but like you say there are hardly any apps which can use it.

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.

I have a question, is it really possible to get out of Gmail? I may switch to Fastmail or other alternatives, but all the people I know only use Gmail, so my all my emails will still be present on Google's Servers. Or am I missing something?

This is more or less the case, an article about someone who bothered to count is here, though it's a few years dated now (2014): https://mako.cc/copyrighteous/google-has-most-of-my-email-be...

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.

I got rid of both my Iphone and Android. Moved over to a couple of inexpensive Windows 10 mobile phones, and have not looked back. Lack of apps? Edge, for all other cases, write your own. It's not hard to port apps, or to write your own for remote apis. Never thought I would ever support Windows. Given how many times I've wanted BG taken out for how bad it was. But I must admit, the Windows lifestyle is pretty nice. Share all my devices on one account, and it may not be up to par with Apple Lifestyle, but it's pretty good.

I like DDG, but I find in general that there are two main problems:

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 think DDG must be improving. I used to multiple times a day finish a DDG search by adding "!g" to my terms to see if Google was better. Now it's maybe once a week, maybe even less.

I agree. For pretty much anything I do I'm using it without another thought. Even the error messages are coming back well (but I am probably searching simple error messages and not edge-case stuff). Also, hobby (sailing) and around-the-house stuff is coming up great.

I still don't understand their business model though.

I have switched most of my phn usage to laptop. Populate the host file with any number of decent blacklists available on github. Install noscript in Firefox and use it in private mode. With zeal docs and kiwix a lot of time I spent online has also reduced. And oh yes all news sites have been blocked as they are total waste of my time. I check the reddit most read articles about once or twice a week and that's about it. It's not hard to keep things private if you want too.

these are mostly bad advices. google to vimeo, google to apple. move from one unfree proprietary service to another..

archive.org for video-upload instead of youtube/vimeo is an option. searx instead of google search. for smartphone you have to dig deeper ;)

If you're looking for another reason to live without Google, look into their demonetization of youtube videos on political lines. This includes the thoughtful Dave Rubin who recently had most of his videos demonetized.


This is just a big product placement from DuckDuckGo, which should be hosted on their website instead of "spreadprivacy".

Sounds like this is just to spite Google. Moving from one beast (google) to another (apple) seems unreasonable.

Interesting that the article offers no alternatives to Google Photos. I know there are options, but they all seem to be far behind in terms of features. Plus, migrating all of my photos out of Google Photos would be pain.

Well, all the neat features of Google Photo rely on ML and swath of data to work.

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.

> migrating all of my photos out of Google Photos would be pain

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.

I've tried Google Takeout, but I have several hundred gigs of photos, so uploading them elsewhere will be a pain. Plus, wherever I do upload them will be lacking many of the features from Google Photos.

I moved away from Chrome and Firefox since both Google and Mozilla have unapologetically fired employees for thought crimes. Apple's posturing hardly seems better. (I imagine this will resonate more with some than others, so please note that I'm only adding this to explain why Firefox and safari weren't options for me). I tried Brave, but it was too buggy. Finally, I switched to Opera which seems to rival Chrome in most regards while feeling more polished and blocking ads by default.

I use Vivaldi, it is awesome.

I've not heard of that; I'll check it out. Are you being downvoted as well? I assume people really hate Opera. ;)

If they're being downvoted, it's likely because Vivaldi is closed source.

This list is mediocre. You want people to switch and recommend a paid service? Good luck! For e-mail, outlook.com is a much better alternative. It has a modern interface and spam filtering works reasonably well. Yes, you get tracked by MS instead of another company, but at least you can use your e-mail account without worrying about payments. (Yes, I've used FastMail and I think it's great.)

Nextcloud should be on there, you can run it from your basement, it syncs contacts, calendar and files (like drive), it even has a mail client which can turn your cheap imap provider into nice webmail. Not to mention that it can replace Google docs as well using https://www.collaboraoffice.com/nl/

This should be warning to all people. Specially when company dump people with different political opinions out.

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 !

For anyone who still wants to use google search, but doesn't want their searches tied to their identity, check out GoogleSharing (originally developed by Moxie)


Nope, Google Search is not the easiest. DuckDuckGo is not even close to Google Search by any means. Last time I tried to switch I did not even last a week. Maybe, instead of writing such articles you guys should hire some additional engineers to make your search results better.

iOS is not an option for people preferring privacy. Cyanogen without Google Packages is.

It's really pretty true. It's very hard for me to adapt to DDG style of searching. A comment I said recently highlights one specific area:

  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.

None of this addresses the main problem: all of Google's apps are so well integrated that I'm locked in.

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.

I've found here maps to be far superior to apple maps. Apple Maps are still awful (I once wanted to go about 5 blocks from home, walking, and the app decided that the destination was cross the atlantic. Lots of things alike).

DDG works great, and fastmail is fabulous. their UI/UX is years ahead of Gmail's!

I've had nothing but trouble with Here maps (now HERE WeGo), in the eastern USA at least. Its UI/UX is sadly far behind GMaps. I would love an alternative...

Yeah, each app varies a lot depending on where you live. HERE works fine in Argentina, but Apple maps will constantly send you to other continents (even if clicking on a contact's address that already has a preview of the map only a few miles away).

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 think quoting Resilio as an alternative to Google Drive is completely wrong. You just handle your own important data to another company. Why should you do that? For these purposes you should set up a self-hosted solution such as ownCloud or one of its clones. Otherwise your data only changes hands.

Resilio Sync is peer-to-peer, so if you believe their marketing copy, you're not handing your data over to anyone -- it only syncs between your authorized devices. Since Sync is proprietary software, it's a valid concern that Resilio could be making copies of your data without your knowledge.

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.

For a Google Maps alternative on mobile, Maps.me works better than anything I've found, including Google Maps. Its offline support is great, it takes up very little space, and you can even load mapped out itineraries via KML (though you might have to pay for that).

I guess I can't recommended everyone my setup since it's pretty time consuming, but I started hosting most google services I use myself.

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. https://nextcloud.com/

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. https://syncthing.net

Then for contacts/calendar I use radicale a tiny python script. http://radicale.org/

For rss feeds I've decided to use selfoss https://selfoss.aditu.de/

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. https://riot.im https://matrix.org

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. https://yunohost.org/

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. https://asciimoo.github.io/searx/

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 https://piwik.org/

I think that must be a typo? https://syncthing.net

Yep thanks, I fixed it now.

The key is ensuring that choice exists. It's easy to jump on the 'Must have Apple!' or the latest Google Nexus. We create the very monster we complain about when it gets TOO popular. This is very much inline with Southpark and Walmart...

> Ghost (paid)

This is inaccurate as this is not the only option. You can still download the source and run an instance on your own server.


I think the point was that you can have completely free WordPress (hosted on wordpress.com), compared to Ghost, which costs money either for your own hosting or for hosted Ghost.

Running Ghost on your own system doesn't cost a cent, eg through https://hub.docker.com/_/ghost

I have a G Suite account mainly to have email addresses across different domains using the routing google provides. Is this possible with Fastmail too? If not, is there any other service out there that would provide this?

The article leads with "Google trackers" but there's no mention of how to block Google's tracking services... I get it's somewhat outside the scope of the article but seems relevant.

Do you have a good article to share for this, or is it generally infeasible?

Do you mean feasible to block Google tracking, or feasible for Google to track you via it's analytics and sharing tools? If it's the former, Ghostery and other similar browser extensions/addons will suffice.

First step would be to block Google Analytics using an ad blocker.

I don't want to directly block ads, only tracking, so I use ghostery instead of an ad-blocker. Most ads are also blocked, but it is because the sites chose to use ad networks that also track me, not because I am trying to take away their way of making money

You can block Google Analytics using NoScript. Which is not an adblocker.


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