You are not building something new switching from one big corp to another small company that want to become another big company next day.
Probably I’m getting old but I remember times when Google doesn’t exists. We had software for files, messages, calls, calendars etc. It was based on different protocols, may be less secure and more naive. But it was ok for these days.
There is life outside of Google, and always was. May be for “millenials” you need to be brave to leave this circle, but I don't getting it. What is so special in using other providers? Is it just... normal?
Google can suspend your account and the 20-30 things you depend on them can go away (or, at least, be unavailable in a customized fashion based on your own data). That's less of a risk if you use different providers for different services.
I suppose there's a risk of account suspension as mentioned above, but I still feel that risk is very low for me, my perception of these incidents that make noise on social media/HN is there is at least semi-shady shenanigans involved that trip spam/fraud/etc. alarms. I don't push those kinds of buttons, and neither do the vast majority of people, so I think this is a non-factor for most.
That's precisely why they are getting away with it. But once you get targeted by them, there is no way out.
If you hire one bad person with a banned account, it can happen that all Google accounts of the entire company are being banned, including your company's apps on Google Play, etc.
On Youtube, even famous people like cgp grey got into issues with Google which claimed that cgp grey was impersonating himself.
The core issue is that you can't have online spaces be free of rule enforcement, but the same time, in most if not all places, rules are enforced quite unfarily and without due process. For individuals this can mean social isolation, but for companies it can mean the end. There were some stories about this here on hn.
So ultimately it all depends on your willingness to accept the odds, and understand that it can, and does, happen - balancing that with the possible need to start over on the Internet one day.
Until it doesn't. And then you're screwed. Yes, this didn't happen to you yet. It's like insurance - most people end up not using it. But if you need it and don't have it you're quite screwed. FOr some levels of dependency on Google it's ok - if I can't use Google Maps, I use other maps, no problem. But if I depend on Google for something critical, it may be dangerous.
And everybody thinks it won’t happen to them. Every time there is a PayPal horror story there are comments from people whose business relies on them saying that they don’t believe the risk is high and that it won’t happen to them.
I had used this account to buy thousands of dollars worth of stuff on eBay, and they froze it for a $5 transaction.
The risk is real.
Customer support was excellent, professional and quick. I got all my money back in 3-4 days.
Sounds like this was as a customer. PayPal are known to have good service for customers; most of the horror stories are as sellers (where getting bad customer service, having your funds frozen or account closed is also a LOT more painful than as a customer since it could sink your business).
I think that's a good thing. If you are selling stuff online using PayPal, you should be at least be big enough to afford a lawyer that helps you with PayPal.
As a customer, however, you are often way less protected.
But having bad customer service is just bad service, confiscating users' data really not unlike theft.
In my opinion it would be helpful to acquire knowledge how to provide services on your own or to connect with people to share services (like a NextCloud).
On the market you will not find a provider that can guarantee to be it's own master or exist at all in years to come. Also I have the bad feeling that a lot of providers try to prohibit data export to keep you caught in their eco-systems (e.g. see Apple deactivating the _basic_ function to export contacts to a SIM card).
So now it is early enough to find a way to own and protect your data but in a few years it may be much worse and some day probably impossible or at least impractical.
The upside to this is that no single service will just "go away" and as long as your NC-server is running you will have access to your services.
 e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitio...
I don't think anyone is considering themselves brave for decoupling themselves from the Google-sphere. Leaving social media is a far greater step with ramifications, real, imaginary or simply comparatively, that I would commend younger people for being brave should they take the step. It's something that's truly going against the grain.
I think the dearth of these type blog posts is to a) recognize that it's easy to encapsulate much of your digital reliance on Google and its services and therefore b) Real, or imaginary, it's quite difficult to take the step of decoupling from it and finally c) show that it is possible and less burdensome than people currently encapsulated believe it will be.
The authors slant on this is a little different from some others that we've seen on here - Google can shut down your entire online ecosystem with the click of a button should you infringe some arbitrary standards set in T&Cs riddled with legalese, designed for people to not read. A close call opened his eyes, and he made the steps to decouple from Google. I don't think he's looking for some to cry "Oh my, you are so brave!" for doing so.
This. At some point you have to trust someone.
Even if you're off Google you're leaking data with your phone, credit card, smart TV, ISP, genetic testing, etc.
I know privacy isn't all or nothing but with Email the party I'm communicating with already has a copy of the communication that they could forward to anyone or save with any other provider.
I'd say ethics might be a larger reason to switch.
You may cynically consider it "building an online presence", but more generously people like to share things... even obvious things... like this comment I'm writing.
So what? The point is to have different services upon different companies, even if tomorrow DuckDuckGo becomes a giant (unlikely anyways) the idea is to use it only for search not for everything.
> May be for “millenials” you need to be brave to leave this circle, but I don't getting it.
The article clearly states is for pragmatical reasons, where do you came out with him needing to be "brave" to do it?
>What is so special in using other providers? Is it just... normal?
As special as not helping yet another monopoly that has vast control over most people's lives, yeah maybe thats not so special to you and thats fine but it still a reasonable cause to advocate for.
Also note most of the things they have moved to are self hosted. For instance Cloudron could close tomorrow and they would still own their email address. Seems quite different than moving from a big company to a small company that wants to be a big company.
Switch to another small one when they start to get big. Try to keep them all balanced. If only one person doing that was enough to get a nice competitive market...
It's probably not normal. I've heard of Google, but not Fastmail, Matomo, Nextcloud, Collabra, Plex, Jellyfin, F-Droid, Aurora, Lineage, PinePhone, Simple Mobile Tools, Hover, Matrix, PocketCasts, AntennaPod, or "Ting".
Exactly what you imply with your nostalgia for PIMs: increased fragmentation. There is value in witholding information/data/usage from Google (or FB, or Amazon, or Palantir, etc.) -- particularly personal data that is most valuable in aggregate -- value that reflects a decreased ability to cause problems, worries, and/or concerns in users' lives.
I had a collection of animations related to lambda calculus and alife on g+. Well, now is back online and moreover it is better, because I can add the option to remake these animations live, with js.
According to the Wikipedia definition of millennial, a large chunk of millennials also likely remember a time before Google.
Eventually they recovered the account in 48 hours and wrote they are sorry.
But the thing is it does not solve the problem. You can loose your business just by a system mistake in a second.
And it seems like there is always a way out. But there is not always. Really, does a company of a size of a Facebook or Google care about one person or one small business?
I had a Instagram account for 10 years with my photos and fought 6 months to get it back after hacker takeover. Believe me i have tried everything to get it back. And no, there was no way. There is no number you can call to fix it.
Its just so dangerous to have such single points of failure nowadays like Facebook or Google. Both for business and personal use. Its just great to hear a person who was able to remove it.
If anyone has gotten their account suspended, what was it for and how can I avoid it?
Fortunately Google is (or more accurately, was) simply a convenience for me.
I have not yet fully deactivated the several Gmail accounts I have still standing, though those are largely inactive, and most are strictly associated with specific nyms I'd created (one notably after a primary nym account was suspended).
The best way to avoid having your Google account be suspended is to not have one.
But moving to self-hosting, or increasingly, entirely offline, has been a goal and project of the past few years.
I touch a few Google services directly:
- Google Scholar: still amongst the best academic search engines I'm aware of.
- Google Ngram Viewer and Google Trends: quite useful for tracking concepts over time.
- Google Maps: There are times OpenStreetMap's search simply falls down even when specifying lat/lon coordinates directly, Because Reasons. Google Maps is my fallback, but I still rely on it far more than I'd care to.
- Gmail: Secondary for several accounts.
- YouTube: still the largest online video hosting service, though alternative interfaces (https://invidio.us/) and alternate hosts (both centralised and federated or self-hosted) are increasingly viable. YouTube's UI tweaks and aggressive pre-roll ads over the past several months have been aggressively user-unfriendly.
- Google Web Search. A very distant second to DuckDuckGo, but still necessary for 1) date-bounded search, 2) getting overall counts of results (occasionally useful), and 3) rare edge-cases where DDG doesn't turn up expected/desired results (GWS is ~50% successful here).
I don't know if it's because I rely so heavily on DDG that I'm influencing its results, but I find that both searches and content that I've posted tends to turn up high-ranked on it. I'm not as aware of this with Google.
Only problem is, you have to be willing to become a moderately good sysadmin and spend your time doing the chores to keep your systems up-to-date. This takes considerable amount of time. Dropping the ball once, and you may find yourself hacked (I had this recently when being slow in updating a nginx reverse proxy).
Self-hosted services -- Web, Mail, messaging, etc., -- remains more complicated. I really wish it weren't, I've been watching projects for a decade and more now to make it less so. I'm thinking that this won't happen.
Simply based on skills distribution, some sort of federation or clustering at the level of 1 admin per 100 - 100k users is probably necessary. That's a scope at which regional or interest-based community hosting becomes viable. At the same time, it means thousands to millions of individual service providers, a scope at which at least some mechansisms of mass surveillance (state, capitalist, non-state actor, criminal) become less viable.
Concentration is its own risk.
Access via Tor, new devices, and travel, generally.
This is a Hard Problem:
Google doesn't do customer support, which is fine for maps or search where I can just hop and nothing matters, but I'm starting to think it's too big of a risk for my primary email/calendar/contacts.
I still have a google account but I don’t use it. Haven’t logged into google docs and such in years and while I still get the occasional gmail mail forwarded it’s typically spam (usually people who got my gmail address mistaken for mine).
I was 1 full day without Google search. I could not search for anything anywhere, not my phone, my laptop, nothing. That night I switched to DuckDuckGo.
Two days later, I was unblocked from Google search and use it again.
That was the moment where I started migrating all my services from google into independent providers. What if, instead of blocking my use of Google search, they block my GMail ? Calendar ? Google Home ? Android phone?....
I end up out of my house, without the ability to go in, without the ability to search for how to fix it, or to call somebody or message somebody with my home for help, maybe logged out of my car, etc. etc. etc.
For me, avoiding such risks is more valuable than having a better search experience.
- saying you're under 13 on YouTube (probably elsewhere as well)
- TOS violations that malware performed using your account (eg. using your google session to share malware using drive)
- Using drive to share or store copyrighted content
- spam, eg via gmail
For logging in from the wrong location (or network?). Most of the times you just get an email about log in attempts. This was for logging in from JP while usually logging in from DE/EU.
How can you avoid it? Using a private VPN I suppose when using Google (avoid cloud IP address blocks though, else you'll get captcha hell).
Of course it can still happen by random chance thanks to their algorithm going screwy but it’s not likely and if you’re still concerned Id consider at least starting the process.
A less snarky answer is "is the IoT device made by Google or has a Google license?" If yes, then "probably no," otherwise "yes."
I have a theory as to why Google is so tight lipped about how their service works (and what actions will get you kicked off)---it's that Google employees have no idea. Google is so invested in AI and machine learning, that I suspect that their automated systems are as inscrutable to them as they are to us, but admitting such wouldn't look that great.
No but this is why I opted for own domain + paid g-suite. Just so that I can take my toys elsewhere if needed
You are immune in the sense that G can only kill the services and hosting, and your access to G's copy of any content.
But the domain is still yours and your email is not @gmail even if it's hosted on gmail servers. So when G kills your account, it's only the hosting. You can switch your domain to any other hosting povider including self hosting, and all your old urls and email addresses resume working.
It would still be up to you to maintain your own off-G backups of any content. Saved emails, website, gdrive, docs, photos. When the account dies you may lose access to G's copy of everything, so ensure all they ever have is a copy.
Also probably don't use G for domain registrar. Even using them for dns host is ok, just not actual registrar.
Might make for a crappy day if you have to do all that switching, but you can, and that is enough to provide the safety net against the small chance that you will ever need to.
But if your email is actually @gmail, and that is say the "prove you own this account at life-savings-robo-advisor" email, then you are truly boned, and small risk is infinitely too-large risk.
...one big gotcha is gdrive, docs and GCP. Haven't worked out what to do about those yet, but priority is being able to salvage the email addr since everything is linked to it
Since there is no recourse, it’s also hard to get clarification.
For most people, I'd imagine "degoogling" seems pretty daunting at first, but if you do it gradually, you'll have rid yourself of Google before you know it. You'll also be supporting a better future for everyone. I don't mean that in an anti-Google way. I mean it in a pro-indie-dev (or small company) way and a pro-decentralized way, the way the internet is supposed to be.
Competition is always a good thing, in the context of goods and services, at least.
I think it's much better in the long term if we support businesses that specialize in doing one thing and doing it extremely well.
It may even be reasonable to think of businesses (companies) like you would well-architected software, where businesses that do one thing well are like small modules designed for a specific purpose, simple and predictable, easy to replace with something better if needed, without affecting much else in your life... while Google is like a monstrous spaghetti codebase with too many entangled dependencies, where changing a single thing has the potential to adversely affect many other things in your life.
We live in a world where services like the ones Google provides aren't just optional, they're critical for so many people. Some have less money in the bank or home than the value of their emails, contacts, media, and whatever else may be stored in Google's systems. Some of those things are priceless.
I agree that it's Google's right to refuse to have/keep you as a user/customer but they should be legally forced to give you back all of your data or at the very least give a generous notice period.
I'm actually hoping that some regulation will be put in place to protect users and ensure that they never lose their data.
Prudent regulation is necessary, but a strong lobbyist group for programmers such as a union or professional association would hurry that along much faster. Developers are end users too, and would be the most likely source of such a push in today's system. Unfortunately unlike lawyers, dentists and doctors, programmers think they're too smart to get organized.
As soon as I started travelling frequently, gmail/google was not longer an option. You can't rely on it. Can't trust it.
That, on top of everything else is a dealbreaker.
We had our entire company profile for Indeed disabled because a couple of our ads were commission-based positions - which only became an issue when paused those postings (because they don't care while you're giving them money).
Their appeals process was non-existent, and they turned off everything - the whole account - so I couldn't even post for an accountant.
Literally all cloud based companies have this danger.
The wonders of ActivityPub...
Also this tool is linked directly in the mastodon documentation
A few months back, I switched my default browser to Bing, because Google was returning too many ads above the fold.
No big deal. Just fewer headaches without Google and Microsoft.
*edit: $6 per month so $72 per year
My photos archive didn't even work that way, I had to create albums and back then up one by one. But it did eventually work.
I haven't had a suspended account yet but if google really doesn't let you copy your data under any circumstance, they will have even more fun with the data protection agencies.
I configured NeoMutt to grab the e-mais (the only thing I had on it) and that's it.
If google gave a crap they would put a phone number to that email so you can talk to a human and resolve any issue. From numerous conversations in HN and iRL, everyone who has a spat with the G-people is royally screwed. A true hostage.
What you suggest would be great for the user. But why would google care for that? You broke their rules, you have to pay. Here, have some pain.
I don't blame them for having rules. I blaim the G-users for accepting them and giving google all this power, that is often (and stupidly) mis/ab-used.
On the other hand, I have to admit that for less technical folks, having all-in-one is a life saver. Vast majority of the member of this forum though do not belong to that group.
Do you know how insanely hard that would be to staff and manage such an operations for a global corporation? It had a 1 BILLION MAU back in 2015.
Apparently Google can disrupt the service, and leave you hanging.
Controls (block bank card, suspend Google account) are enforced with with a specific impact in mind and a specific mitigating factors.
I am not saying that "banks care". I am saying that banks give .... while Google doesn't.
Yes, most subscriptions generally say in the ToS that the account and all assets may be closed/deleted at the sole discretion of the provider. It's anecdotally rare, but depending on the company (quality of customer service), it may be irreversible, or take a long time to fix.
My personal rule is to never trust a third-party to "protect" my data; there is no such thing in today's market and legal frameworks (unless you have a face-to-face relationship, and even then, backups!)
While I do keep a single drive backup, to restore my entire drive from, but I do not test this backup. If it doesn't work, it's not that big of a deal. I cherry pick what I really find important and burn it to M-DISCs. Very little content is actually that important, baby photos and things like this.
They both have an app you run in your phone, and a companion app you run on macOS, Windows, Linux, or your NAS, and it syncs (even through a NAT) whatever you've configured to backup on your phone to N servers.
If you're away from home, you can run it on your laptop next to you, so your phone is backed up quickly, and then throughout the day you laptop can sync with your home server while you're out exploring. It's nice.
I have two backups online, and an external drive I rsync to monthly then turn off.
Before you delete your originals in Google Photo, use Takeout to validate the files. Mine (at "original quality") were mangled.
- I recommend Syncthing (easy) or Seafile (more features).
Both are free for personal use but the latter is a product (paid plans, support), Syncthing is more of a 'project' (both work great).
You can self-host the recipient machine at home or on some cloud (depends on your internet connection, needs, skills, and budget, I guess).
[IMHO it's a must-have skill in our historical era to be able to manage data at a basic level, just like managing one's finances, or health status; so I recommend learning 'enough' about it.]
- "Data that only exists once (1 original copy) does not exist." — the idea of a single point of failure without possible recovery.
Have at least 3 copies: 1 original (e.g. phone, laptop); 1 'repository' (file server) which aggregates all sources and becomes your central source of authority; 1 backup. (this ensure that you never go below 2 copies, if any 1 fails). I use Google Photos too in addition to Syncthing — sort of a failsafe for uploading.
- For long-term storage (photos usually qualify), consider bit rot — the fact that storage devices simply fail partially randomly, i.e. you lose literal bits here and there from time to time, unless precautions are taken (e.g. self-healing ZFS array).
This makes cloud services usually attractive, they take care of all the low-level behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Conversely, long-term physical backups (HDD) should periodically be either fully checked or rewritten — but they're far cheaper, now below $25/TB, so it's easy to just have two backups, one 'hot' (disk online) and 1 'cold' (disk in a dry closet). I would recommend a filesystem with checksums.
If you need more advice or guidance, feel free to ask questions.
There is probably some form of recourse available, but knowing google you'll be talking to bots.
The ability to schedule emails in Gmail is something I've missed from Outlook (desktop) for a long time, and it does it serverside unlike the desktop Outlook app.
The downside to Gmail is that the default user experience is pretty poor. You have to enable the preview pane yourself, and if you don't, you also would have to enable the auto opening of the next email after you delete one otherwise it takes you back to the list. Gmail's list of emails has the star on the far left, and all other quick controls on the right. It's pretty absurd.
But if you disable categories and the rest of Google's convoluted ideas, enable the preview pane and set it to the compact layout, I haven't seen a better free webmail today.
I would switch to Outlook.com just to split my email account from Youtube and Google Maps, if Microsoft supported scheduled sends. iCloud.com would be my first choice but they don't have a robust calendar system like Outlook and Gmail (iOS reminders only, no email reminders). Same concern with ProtonMail (I never saw the appeal to FastMail). Hosting my own is a non-starter because I feel with all the competition in webmail that I really shouldn't have to, there are good free services.
I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem ...
I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive ...
I used Google Hangouts ...
My home is covered with Google Homes ...
I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google ...
I found it to be completely hassle free, and I can highly recommend it to anybody looking to take back control of their privacy.
Context: I've done it for myself and others recently.
Running a server for yourself and your family is a far smaller effort than administering a public site.
As for the rest, the services I use, I use them because they work better than any of the other options I have tried.
I'll admit that that amounts to as substantial number of services.
It’s always been inexpensive enough to buy a domain and have an email address associated with it.
I also don’t understand startup founders who tie personal emails into a business email account.
Keep a separate email.
It’s much harder to transfer gmail.com, office.com, etc
What I like is its simplicity which Gmail may bloat with too many features. One notable feature of Fastmail is alias: you can create other emails alias to your main account and use that to create different rules. Super handy and convenient. If you worry about encryption, probably ProtonMail is a better choice. For me, Fastmail is good for my usage.
P/s: if you want to sign up for Fastmail, here is my referral link https://ref.fm/u12211285
Folks, back up your shi^H^Htuff.
All of these things work just as well for teams/orgs (including LDAP/SSO) as they do for a single user
Are there ways to bring down this cost? I know some people argue that I could use that host for other self-hosted services to amortize cost but i don’t pay monthly recurring fees for a lot of other things (but I do for Google Drive).
I’ve been using it for a few months and my only complaint so far is that you cannot setup your own (sub)domain but get a random one assigned that’s IMHO not easy to remember.
I run Nextcloud on my own hardware and VPN in because Nextcloud isn't something I want exposed to the wider internet. Not very long ago there was a CVE that effected some Nextcloud (and other) setups.
Today's Google would have suspended all associated accounts.
I no longer can support a company whose tagline is "Do No Evil," yet that's exactly what they do!
Do tell this story.
I've spoken with some of these people and hear there are many more examples yet those people put it behind them or don't want to come out against the biggest tech company. That's too bad as for too long in history those in power and position have stolen from the rightful creators.
Google got some pretty useful things up there.