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After everything that has happened in the last few weeks I've completely moved away from Google.

1. I retired my ~15 year old Gmail account and registered with Fastmail

2. I moved away from Chrome to Firefox on both my laptop and phone

3. I stopped using Chrome's password manager on iOS in favor of 1Password and Firefox Lockbox

4. I've mostly stopped using the Google search engine and now using DDG and Bing if I have to.

Part of what helped me transition away from Google to DDG was skinning DDG to look like Google[0]. The first few days were really tough and I kept finding myself going back to Google about 80% of the time. I thought that the search results were remarkably poorer. I considered that it might just be anxiety of not using Google affecting my view, so as an experiment I decided to theme DDG to look like Google... and it worked. I stopped going back to Google and suddenly the searches became better.

I still use the !g bang for about 20% of my searches, and there are things that Google does so much better that I use quite often (for example searching a store name and it brings up all the local ones with information on what time they close etc, or if you were to write "tengo dolor de estomago en ingles" it would bring up an interactive translation box and so on) but for general searches I've more or less completely moved away.

[0] https://userstyles.org/styles/153678/duckduckgooglymoogly




I switched away from Google to Bing on my iPhone because I like to Google in incognito mode for basically everything... and recently Google’s added some annoying friction to that.

I started Googling in incognito when Google decided to return “personalized” search results instead of standard results, a few years ago. I was always more interested in the normal results than whatever Google thought I specifically wanted to see. But, since this Summer when I switch to a fresh incognito mode session to do a Google search, I have to click on traffic lights and sidewalks multiple times just to see the first search result. And it always says I failed the first two tries even when I know I did it right. I end up having to do a minute of clicking on images just to do a search. It’s like I’m being punished for wanting to Google in incognito. It happened often enough on my phone for me to go screw this and switch the default search engine.

Bing’s search results just aren’t as good though. I often have to Google for some things, still. But now I’m trying Duck Duck Go.

By the way not sure why my own anecdotal experience is being downvoted. This is my own actual experience, not really an opinion piece.


I've never seen this behavior by Google in incognito... Wonder if they're doing some questionable browser/os fingerprinting to track you??


It happens more often when I copy and paste the search instead of type it in. So for example I’ve already searched on Bing and I don’t like the results. So I copy and paste the query on Google in a fresh incognito mode instead of retype (I use Safari on iOS so maybe that helps with recreating it)

Other times when I don’t copy and paste I’m just Googling stuff related to my work as a programmer. And I’m guessing since I don’t always use natural language it raises a few flags? I’m not sure.

This was before we had wifi at this house (just got it last month) so I was using a cellular connection almost exclusively, except when at a coffee shop or something.

But I’m a fully coherent human and I can attest that it happened often enough for me to get annoyed by it real fast.


I haven't seen this in incognito either... which is probably why op is being downvoted.

I didn't downvote because I feel bad for OP, but the information is innacurate according to my personal experience, which IMO is a actually good reason to bury it.

--

edit: By the way I DO see the traffic lights, crossroads etc and can sometimes NEVER get past them sometimes when using Tor, so this might have something to do with google restricting op's network provider rather than incognito mode.


> By the way I DO see the traffic lights, crossroads etc and can sometimes NEVER get past them sometimes when using Tor, so this might have something to do with google restricting op's network provider rather than incognito mode.

When I do a Google search outside of private mode I’m logged in to my Google account. Under that scenario I’m pretty much never asked to prove I’m not a robot. Same when visiting websites who have that “I’m not a robot” checkbox. When I’m in private mode I have to train datasets. When I’m not in private mode I just hit the checkbox and I’m not a robot.

For me there is a direct correlation between being in private mode on mobile Safari and being asked to click on street signs and sidewalks.

- 100% of the time when clicking “I’m not a robot” checkboxes (which I don’t really mind),

- and pretty reliably (although not always) when doing a google search on a fresh private window on mobile Safari (which I do mind because I get sidetracked for a minute and exit my search mode mindset)


As a dev I was pretty anxious about the quality of results from DDG but a couple of months into my experiment I’ve only found myself going back to Google for dev-related searches a handful of times (maybe 2 handfuls).

So I’m now sold on DDG. Yeh sure there are cool little helpers in Google that DDG doesn’t have (yet) but can’t think of any right now that I miss so they can’t be too important.


!g is very handy.


!sp even handier, dunno if that is a word, since english is not my first language.


I never considered the general perception of worse results on DDG was due to pyschology but it's an interesting possibility.


I’ve been very happy with ProtonMail since I finally ditched gmail last month too. Been using FireFox since quantum and DDG around the same time. It was disruptive for the first week but I can’t remember the last time I made a google search except maps. The google maps app didn’t make the cut for my new iPhone, though. Now I just need to dump my photos into Azure so I’m not dependent on drive.

Now, DDG just needs to rebrand with a “verbable” name so it’s easier to talk about...


> Now, DDG just needs to rebrand with a “verbable” name so it’s easier to talk about...

As has been suggested here before, "just Duck it".


> 1. I retired my ~15 year old Gmail account and registered with Fastmail

I'm looking to switch my email. Any thoughts on Fastmail vs ProtonMail? Do you feel secure with Fastmail?


Assuming you're looking at paid services, I wouldn't recommend either of them as the first choice. Take a look at Posteo.de, Runbox, Mailfence and Mailbox.org before you decide. At least browse through their websites and see what they offer. All these services are a lot cheaper than Fastmail or Protonmail (more so if you need multiple mailboxes, not just aliases). All of them offer IMAP access on all platforms, which isn't available directly in ProtonMail and requires a "bridge" application to be installed and setup on computers.


I think it’s mostly a matter of who you trust. For me the deciding factor was mostly that I trust the EU/Swiss authorities to spy responsibly more than the US ones.

If it’s just about privacy from Google reading your email, both work equally well.


I had the opposite experience. I felt like the results were finally relevant to the search term again, instead of relevant to whatever Google thinks I like to see.


if anyone can recommend a replacement for google scholar then I'm pretty much set. it's hard to give up youtube still cause so much content is on it e.g. lectures.


Unfortunately, I don't know any replacement for any of the features of Google Scholar.[1] I usually access YouTube via NewPipe[2] on mobile, and youtube-dl[3] elsewhere (and there's a GUI version of youtube-dl[4], though the command-line version is really easy to use).

[1] Although, given that it's useful, I expect Google will probably shut it down within the next 5-10 years.

[2] https://newpipe.schabi.org/

[3] https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/

[4] https://mrs0m30n3.github.io/youtube-dl-gui/


If you were to page down a few comments you would see reference to bangs in DDG. To search for results in google scholar you would use:

!gsc enter topic you're interested in


With Google analytics installed everywhere, half the world still using gmail, and various browser fingerprinting techniques, is it really effective ?


DDG is arguably worse than Google. Can you estimate what year of google search is DDG equal to in terms of search quality? Eg. Is DDG2018=Google2012?


I really prefer Searx[1] to DDG. It has a not dissimilar feature set to DDG (and you can even use it to search DDG). I've been using various public instances[2] of Searx for a while. And it's free/open, licensed as AGPLv3+[3].

[1] https://asciimoo.github.io/searx/ [2] https://github.com/asciimoo/searx/wiki/Searx-instances [3] https://github.com/asciimoo/searx/blob/master/LICENSE


With !sp you get startpage search results, google search under the hood.


Nit: “tengo dolor el estomago” does not read like valid spanish to me (pero no soy hablante nativo)


Edited the "el" to "de" :)


DDG gives pretty decent results. I search a lot, across various topics and interests, and DDG has never failed me.




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