FIY if you're in the US they're also buying access to your CC purchase info.
It's literally all the best parts of having an account on youtube, no account needed.
Flashed my Android phone with Lineage OS without any Google Play Services — most apps work OK, though have some teething issues (some probably based on my config). Find any google things I still need I can use the web version for.
* some apps crash on start-up, even though you'd expect them not to be using Play services. Others (e.g. Monzo) work fine but I no longer get push notifications.
* some e.g. (Citymapper) work really well apart from the Maps integration, which is fair. Would love if devs could provide a fallback to link out to another maps providing app for directions but know it's not financially viable.
Maps.me wrapper around OpenStreetMaps is a really nice replacement for GMaps — like that I can correct things on it too. Only issue is that address lookup is slow & house number level info is a bit lacking. In London though, street level is good.
Moving cloud stuff is slower going — Have mail forwarding to Protonmail & will start to put an auto-reply on emails asking people to use new address directly. One thing I'll miss with GMail is the "send as" feature for other email accounts — use it a lot for things that are jointly between me & my wife. Also wish I'd have used a custom domain before switching so that I could swap vendors later more easily.
Need to pull photos & docs and create a backup somewhere. Not sure what vendor I should use for that.
One thing I'd still like to achieve is to find a permanent solution for avoiding communication with people who use Gmail. Strong-arming them into a new e-mail service is a non-starter.
An email service bundled with a calendar or to do list functionality could potentially be a billion dollae company.
But there's a huge difference between that, and having every word you write plus all the info that can be inferred from that, recorded, stored forever, analyzed and re-analyzed, sold, exploited, misused, etc, by a hostile unscrupulous advertising company or its partners.
I assume that your cellular carrier and cable company are monetizing any bit of data they can capture and selling it for pennies to all sorts of parties.
Also have stopped using: Maps, Docs, GMail, and other small services. Google domains and subdomains are blocked in my /etc/hosts file.
The one exception is YouTube. It's hard to replace that one, although I sometimes consume it through HookTube or even DuckDuckGo.
The other half-exception is Android, although I have rooted it, removed Google Play Services and Google apps, and also blocked Google domains in /etc/hosts. I don't know if that counts as "quitting Google", but I feel like it does.
And occasionally, it's impossible to avoid Recaptcha, so I have to sometimes unblock Recaptcha domains in /etc/hosts, pass their obnoxious test, then reblock it.
Honestly, it's much easier to quit Google services than it is to quit Facebook services. The latter has network effects and social pressure, while the former is just a well built free service monetized through surveillance capitalism. Note: I have also quit using any Facebook services.
But the Google services are just good, I often fall back to them if the alternative doesn't keep up:
- For some searches the result quality on DuckDuckGo isn't want I expect, but Google has exactly what I want on the first page (still I try DuckDuckGo first, it's good for most queries).
- Google Maps is difficult: I've tried using OSMAnd+, but more than once I ended up at the wrong place and had to use the mobile Google Maps website to find my destination. When plotting routes on desktop I still use it as default (after richjdsmith's comment I might try Here Maps).
On mobile I have the Google Play store installed to get e.g. WhatsApp, Spotify and a few other apps. I know there are other options, but those didn't work well for me.
And of course what blub said: Sometimes there is no other option, e.g. when forced to do a captcha.
I have my own website, to which I run a mail server. It's a bit of work, but worth it, unless you aren't familiar with sysadmin or Linux, you can check out proton mail or several others out there. You won't get all the fun stuff, like Google adding things automatically to your calendar or trying to give replies for you to emails it might know better. You also miss out on ads from anything you've recently searched or said something in an email and strangely you get ads for similar products now.
Use davical for contacts and calendar.
my android phone, I only use Fdroid or yalp anonymous for apps. I do have a generic account on an older phone I develop on that if there is something I want to purchase I buy, then transfer the apk to my actual phone. You'll find pretty quickly which devs hate you as they enforce play services.
Checking all the things, you'll find can be done over browser, though more and more sites are pushing to force compliance & use their app.
You'll find that it can become (and has been intentionally I'm sure) pretty painful outside their apps, so might spend less time doing those things. Be prepared, you might get more productive or maybe You'll take up a bad habit like smoking
With the exception of my underpowered Laptop - which I'm going to replace soon - I prefer to use Firefox.
The only thing left apart from that is my Phone where I have OxygenOS with the Play Store but as soon as LineageOS is supported, I'll switch over.
Admittedly the process took a long time but so did the switch to the Google Platform - or any other platform switch I did in the past like switching from Windows to Linux or from Linux to macOS.
I'm really happy that my new tools also integrate far better with many native tools.
1. Replaced my Google G-Suite with Proton Mail and a self hosted Nextcloud The process was fairly easy: Just export all your mails and import them into Proton Mail. After that I've exported Google Drive data, contacts and calendar and imported everything into Nextcloud. This all took around two hours (including the Nextcloud setup).
The only "issue" was dealing with services where I use my G-Suite account as a login, but most of them allowed you to set a password so you can log in with email.
Nextcloud has amazing one click install apps that offer the same features that Google has (video calls, docs, notes etc.).
2. Removing Google from my Android phone For that I flashed LineageOS for microG. The great thing with this is, that you can install and use all apps you normally have but without having Google Services installed. As a PlayStore alternative you can use F-Droid and Yalp Store. Anyone who installed a custom ROM before will have it running in under an hour.
3. Securing my network with a PI-Hole and Proton VPN For devices like my phone, laptop and desktop I installed Proton VPN. As a browser for mobile and desktop I use Firefox with uBlock origin. For everything else (like "smart" devices etc.) I installed a Pi-Hole (basically Easy-List on network level) to remove ads and tracking scripts.
These were only the major steps that I've taken. So far I don't have any regrets about it and I haven't faced any limitations with the alternatives I use now.
Links: https://protonmail.com/ https://nextcloud.com/ https://lineage.microg.org/ https://protonvpn.com/
Additionally I've setup a self hosted searx instance as a google search replacement.
There's also my gmail which will probably be the longest transition changing all my accounts emails.
1. Migrated all mail, contacts, calendar to Fastmail. Runbox is another good option. Email is custom domain.
2. For my cellphone, I use Blackberry Classic running BB10.3 (No Android or iOS)
3. Removed all services from Google login and deleted the acct. I never logged back in.
4. My Browsers are "Brave" and "Firefox".
5. Email client is via Blackberry Hub. For desktop, its through Brave browser. I don't need a standalone email client.
6. Search is DuckDuckGo. Been using them for three years now.
7. Youtube is done through mobile Blackberry browser and/or NewPipe on Blackberry mobile.
8. OpenStreetMaps and Blackberry Maps is used.
Its been a great experience so far. Less clutter on my mind with services and products.
Have a tablet to watch Netflix on, uses a dummy goog account with no info given, and most apps uninstalled. I've bought a Play card at the grocery a few times, not often. Try to avoid Youtube and use youtube-dl, but not entirely successful. The commercials have made it easier. Apple maps and downloadable maps.me offline. Perhaps ~90% g-free.
I do remember around 5-10 years ago there were a lot of folks that believed everyone was on gmail and incredulous if anyone mentioned they weren't. Found that odd as someone who's had a domain and multi-account email since the mid 90's, years before goog even existed.
Thankfully those comments have given way to this sort of post.
Google -> DuckDuckGo
Gmail -> Protonmail
Chrome -> Firefox
Google Maps -> Paper Maps
The hardest part I could see, would be for someone younger who didn't use search engines before they parsed plain phrases getting used to thinking in terms of keyword blocks, or learning to orient themselves in place by reading a map.
That said, it's fully possible. I found it to actually be more of a process of changing behavior, like say, quitting smoking, than simply substituting services.
I have an Android phone (Mi A1) with Micro G running lineage OS and don't use gmail (I use protonmail with a custom domain).
Instead of Google Search I use duckduckgo. Very rarely, at work, I will use Google for some niche search.
By blocking cookies and using uBlock origin I try to limit my exposure to Google analytics.
Android is the biggest obstacle. The other option is iPhone which is too expensive (I personally don't see any point in buying a mobile which costs more than 250 USD). Too bad WIndows OS and Blackberry died. Google map is also hard to give up.
Same goes for dialer, contacts and calendar android apps. Every other app was either buggy or didn't see the davdroid syncs.
Everything else, I could. Radicale for cal/carddav, self hosted email, k9 mail app, etc.
I tried DDG and co very hard but Google search really is that much better
( well I also use Google Drive for Business but I can switch and all my data is encrypted )