Or maybe I'm too pessimistic.
I never react immediately. Unless directly affected by an event, I accumulate information over time and it will influence my decision making. Reacting is too disruptive to my own life, and those of the people I support (e.g. family.) Would an article like this make my family change? No. Many don't care; most don't understand the impact on themselves.
My De-Googling has started with my browser. Moved all my open tabs and bookmarks to Firefox, took some time to settle in, now I avoid Chrome except to debug frontend code. Email? I have a Gmail account that I use for all my personal things, so I need to find something else and migrate my usage (and maybe archive my Gmail account so I can search it.) I haven't been creative enough to find a domain name for personal (and family) use. I've been paying for G Suite (for email only) on a business domain, so I need to find something else (and maybe archive the inboxes ...)
There's friction. I'm busy. I'm lazy. I know there's a chance I could suddenly lose access for no reason on the free account.
I'm not really _trying_ to degooglify, I'm just degooglifying when the chance comes up. I'm also not hardcore enough to switch over the email on all my accounts, the people who contact me, etc. And I like free things. So one step at a random time it is.
Electron is heavily dependent on code developed and maintained by Google, but then so is Node, and Go, and presumably anything written in Go, such as Docker. Calling all of those Google products seems wrong—but it's true that Node would be in big trouble if Google suddenly stopped maintaining Chrome or something.
Not sure if that is or isn't true but I would say it is understandably a different type of worry from using Go or nodejs.
tl;dr nonsensical reasons that don't really stack up but I'm electron free so may as well keep it up
Even though Electron is actually a Microsoft supported platform, I understand the connection with Google - Electron uses Chromium rendering engine.
But, this is not the same as Chrome. Chrome uses Chromium  but I think all the privacy issues are part of Chrome, not Chromium.
This took about a week of focused effort.
It's a very easy first step. Then you can migrate things over one by one as they come in without worrying about missing things or switching between interfaces.
I made the move to FastMail about 4 years ago, would hate to change again, is such a pain. Luckily I did opt for my own domain name at least which should make those changes easier if I do it again.
I think the law is over-reaching and lacking in sufficient transparency, but I don't really think it would allow anything like the common understanding of "encryption backdoor"?
Honestly a browser which kept no history but could let me save bookmarks and manage logins (either via a third party app or natively) through a walled garden would be great. Not sure if managing passwords without accumulating tracking cookies is even possible.
But don't feel too safe with it re: tracking, because there's browser fingerprinting that works without cookies:
On desktop I use multi account containers and wipe history on exit, and have a handful of bookmarks for convenience.
For both, I use the bitwarden add-on/app to manage passwords.
I've even heard of people writing a bot to do this across hundreds of sites; it's very interesting to see which C-level executives have been using their work accounts to access sites they shouldn't have.
The obvious advantage of having a GMail or Outlook address is that only Google or Outlook have to know who you really are; the address could be anything you want and doesn't have to be related to your real name. In addition, you can do as I do and have multiple addresses -- not the "throwaways" which people often speak of, but simply different addresses for different online activities -- so that if an account ever got compromised, there would be no way to link it to any other account.
Email security and privacy is a hard problem to solve.
1) Have a different online identity for things that can compromise you/you feel uneasy about. We are talking about a "full identity": number, email, maybe even things like Linkedin
2) Perform Threat modelling
3) Getting own domain is always good, as it gives you the control of your life
If you are just starting out, check out "The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy"
I don't particularly have anything to feel uneasy about. It's more the idea that I don't want one central domain that I use for everything which is tied to my real identity, either through the domain name itself or through the whois record (although I think you can pay to have an anonymous whois). It seems like a central point of failure. There are documented cases of people having their identity stolen and numerous online accounts hacked because they used the same email address to sign into various services. If you know someone's email address and one or two other things about them, social-engineering your way into other services they use seems to be relatively easy for a skilled attacker.
This is all somewhat paranoid thinking, but I don't want to go the hassle and expense of getting my own domain, only to that it is a less secure or private option.
That's the real threat to companies who get to Google's size: their customers dying more so than going to the trouble of switching.
edit to add: Which, I'd guess, is why Google has invested so much in Classrooms.
The most compelling reason I have found for degoogling is to make the question "what happens if they ban me?" get the anwser "nothing much".
The next most compelling reason is to protect the world from their influence. i.e. take my influence amongst my family and peers and use it to steer another small part of the world away from googlopoly.
So I use firefox (of course Mozilla is massively dependent on google for money), and I use DDG, and I have fastmail.
My phone is Android, yet its replacable and correctly backed up (not google auto backups). I try and avoid google apps and services.
I barely use other google services.
With the exception of my day job. Currently we are a GCP shop, for good reasons. At some point in the hand wavy future we should be able to hop clouds as we will though.
Migrating from Gmail to fastmail was really quick and easy and I wish I had done that sooner. Except I think I'll be finding websites registered with my old Gmail address for the rest of my days.
One of many examples is how Google pushes for advertisers to bid on their own keywords, so you have the same result as the first ad and organic page. Is that really necessary?
I'd rather get a discount or better service than click on an ad, performance marketing makes companies think otherwise because it's more difficult to measure.
Long story short migadu are not trustworthy, they fail to assist support tickets and don't notify their clients of outages where mail was deleted - blaming the client for not regularly looking at their homepage XD.
I did look at many smaller providers, I was particularly interested in finding a uk based one. Unfortunately my requirement for a wildcard inbox with true blacklisting and sender rewriting narrows the field considerably.
If fastmail drops me I'll be back to hosting my own and all the PITA that is. Or more likely writing an interface on top of some business mail solution.
I rather think the issue here was that your regexes which were supported on our legacy system were not all converted to the new system during migration. This was something we did notify our users about via email and our home page. Not sure what more we could have done there.
Nevertheless, that has nothing to do with being "trustworthy".
When a very important email never arrived I suddenly realised I hadn't been receiving email for two days. Jumping onto the migadu site I found a brand new UI with all my regexes gone and my email ingestion broken. So I patch it up quickly and send a support ticket.
In short the response to the ticket was: "we had a storage layer failure [...] we could not serve all the requests [...] The catchalls and aliases have been a consequence - hence no announcement" (announcement is a reference to me asking why I wasn't emailed to tell me).
Unfortunate things happen, I get it. However. When they do, notifying clients should be a high priority.
Combine that with some previous and subsequent tickets that were closed without resolution and I have a pattern of behaviour that is completely absurd for the provider of a vital service.
The account that given in your post is at odds with what I received from the support team - this is even more evidence to me that migadu is not the right company to be responsible for my mail.
I also feel its important to highlight your claim "we have never had an outage where mail was lost". When an email responds to a sender indicating that a user does not exist the result is the email being deleted. Many terrible systems in business do this silently. The fact that migadu allowed this failure mode without a mitigation (and in your example, deliberately) is assuredly mail loss. What else could be done? It could be rejected but still saved (bulk disk writes with simple metadata - anything) so that intended receivers can be notified which senders now think they don't exist.
I agree we could have done that better, however an announcement was made via email and site, taken it reached you via notification address in account.
Nevertheless, my apologies on behalf of our team. We will take your criticism to improve. None of us were born doing this and we are learning as we go.
Worst case, you point MX to a new platform or server you own and restore from your backup.
This week I made progress with my phone, now running https://calyxos.org/ and using Google services only via https://microg.org/ for Maps and Cloud messaging.
In my case, privacy is a reason, but I also consider a system inherently insecure if your account can be locked without any way to appeal.
Add privacy and the continuous sunsetting of products and I had enough reasons.
For e-mail provider you can also consider Posteo.de, and for e-mail application on Android and AOSP (forks) you can use P=P (a material design K-9 fork with PGP support).
I'm using Soverin, btw. Happy with them.
As for AOSP forks there's a lot of them, not all equally ready. There's CopperheadOS, there's /e/.
There's also PostmarketOS which is like a mobile Linux foundation for other OSes much like Mer was. There's SFOS (SailfishOS) which has Android emulation (if licensed), and all kind of mobile versions of Linux distributions such as Manjaro, Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, PureOS, etc. If you're into that, Pinephone might be interesting. They got 13 OSes ready to be loaded.
I did get a wake-up call a few years ago when while writing an email in gmail, I accidentally moved a folder with 200 icons, into the new email window, as an attachment (I thought the icons in the folder were zipped up, but they weren't). I realized my mistake almost immediately and closed the browser, but I still hit some internal trigger because my account was immediately suspended. As I frantically tried to find a human to call, the account unsuspended itself after a few minutes. Bullet dodged, lesson (almost) learned.
I am, slowly, figuring out a backup approach and these articles do push me to make those plans more concrete. It is a time-bomb.
I don't mind the automation and the inevitable false-positives, but the fact that there is zero transparency, and you can't get a human online to help you (even if you're a paying customer) is just terrible.
I am assuming Gmail caches the images when you upload, image upload being an expensive operation per se; when you uploaded so many at once, it must have triggered a rate limiting mechanism which stopped requests from you until the cooldown window kicked in.
Why would they add a rate limiting method? It makes sense for every product to have rate limiting beyond fair use, otherwise it makes it susceptible to denial of service attacks by attacking expensive APIs with high volume.
Why did the rate limiting mechanism blanket limited Gmail? I am assuming they either just have a global threshold or you breached both API and global threshold at the same time.
Should they have informed you? Maybe the message was in HTTP code.
Again, no way for me to verify this. These are just my assumptions from building rate limiting solutions in the past. Every service should have rate limiting mechanism, probably with better user messaging I guess.
> The point is, there was no transparency.
Agreed on this and I alluded to this in my comment.
Though to play devil's advocate again, some security practices are intended to be not transparent. Like 404 instead of 401/403 on admin pages for non admin users. Not specifying what out of username,password,totp combo didn't match.
But if every time this sort of thing comes up, a few of the crowd are nudged to finally make the switch, eventually we'll pick up some momentum.
Back in 2013-2014, when I first started telling people switching away from Google was critical, people treated me pretty much like I believed in bigfoot and UFOs. In 2020, a lot of progress has been made, even if it doesn't feel like it. Perception is changing, and the legal system is finally starting to catch up.
For data, I use Tresorit. They have a great, if premium priced, alternative to gdrive, onedrive, etc. In my experience, Tresorit is more reliable in terms of successfully tracking and syncing terabytes of data (and many files). Plus their encryption story is believable, and storage is their primary job. They're not going to kick a client out without some conversation at least. I tried Nextcloud, but like OneDrive, it ultimately would develop sync issues with large volume and large numbers of files.
I switched to Firefox a couple of years ago and found it mostly better than Chrome, especially regarding the Multi-Account Containers and the Facebook Jail.
For chat, I used Wire for a long time until they changed their focus to corporate only and their home to the US. Now I'm back on Signal. It's not awesome, but it works fine.
I haven't had any problems with outbound deliverability. However, their inbound post-delivery spam controls are overzealous and categorize almost all mail from new correspondents as spam.
The only major problem with Zoho is that they host mail inside US jurisdiction so it's vulnerable to NSA abuses.
Mailbox.org (based in Germany) is a possible alternative for people who want/need to keep their data further away from American commercial espionage operations.
I was aware that my zoho mail is hosted in the U S. I did originally look at mailbox.org as well as as posteo and another European based provider but can't recall why I had discounted them. (None seemed horrible or anything like that; just zoho won it by minor margin.) The beauty of having my own domain is that if I'm unhappy, I can switch later on.
Was it Australia's anti-encryption law?
The ones I'm considering are Microsoft 365, Protonmail, Tutanota and Posteo. Seems tough to pick between them. For me, the most important things are:
* Multiple custom domains (Protonmail charges for each additional?)
* Desktop app support (Protonmail has the bridge but apparently it doesn't work all that well)
* Easy (or at least reasonable) to import my email history from Gmail into the new provider either via Download->archive->Upload (Microsoft 365) or direct migration (Fastmail).
This is an interesting nut to crack. I'd be willing to bet there's a SaaS space here for someone who can figure it out.
I now use Fastmail with my own domain and I love it.
I also use Firefox which is pretty much back to being the best browser after around a decade of falling behind Chrome.
For search I use DDG but I often find myself doing a '!g' search for local information such as restaurants/maps.
Chat I use a combination of Telegram and Whatsapp (but this is dependent on what other people use).
I use OneDrive instead of Drive (I get 1TB thanks to the Office family plan), which is ok.
I still use an Android phone as I find iphones to be very frustrating to use , especially if you do not use a Mac.
I think the two big unbeatable ones are Search and Maps. No one is able to even remotely compete on those two but I think that's ok. We have to go back to a world of diversifying the software we use and stop companies from forcing us into a single ecosystem.
I just moved everything out of G Drive and iCloud and all of it into OneDrive. Super happy. Might look at Nextcloud or Carbonite though.
This I don't understand, I haven't needed to use my Mac for anything with iPhones for years.
Really, the only Google service I routinely use directly (i.e. other than because some Android app I use requires Google Play Services to function) is Google Maps.
If you use something like microG, all it is is a FOSS implementation of Google Play Services. You're still using Google.
I'd like to see Nextcloud become a drop-in replacement for Google Play Services. They already got Contacts, Photo and Storage support; just needs things such as a distributed Play Store and a Search Engine (SearX?).
The result is that I can still enjoy the technology but I can drop it at any moment.
I don't use Chrome browser on iOS because ands blocking doesn't work there.
The plan now is to switch to android phone start supports large SD cards and install syncthing on it to be fully local-first.
The disappearance of my Google account would be annoying (I'm using an android phone if nothing else), but that's about it. I'd probably lose a lot of contacts, but a lot of them would be people I haven't really interacted with since I migrated them off my Palm Tungsten T3 so not a huge loss. I'd lose my calendar entries that remind me it's Taco Tuesday 3-for-5 day at a local taqueria, but I'll probably remember that.
Financial accounts? No. Domain registrations or hosting? Nope. Business email? Nope. Social media? Not primary at least. Cloud hosting or services? Oh hell no.
Google is fine as long as you keep in mind that it's a giant behemoth to which you and any concerns you might have matter not one bit. It's also a capricious enough behemoth that relying on it for anything important seems foolish.
Long-term reliability and excellence. If you keep shutting down products, who could risk relying on them? Not me, because switching costs are non-trivial.
If you launch ten different chat products (luckily the icons match) and shut them down a few months later, what kind of product mind want to join your company? Not me, because I want to work on products that survive.
If your product hiring pipeline suffers because you keep killing products and you disable customer accounts willy-nilly, who wants to risk falling behind because they are stuck with products designed by designers who never talk to customers? Not me.
So avoiding Google at this point is less about morality and more about insuring yourself against a myopic product strategy and engineers who are not allowed to talk to their customers.
If you want to fix Google, put engineers on call and let them talk to customers. Fire anybody who refuses to talk to customers. The problem will resolve itself in 6-12 months.
Of course, it is important to put your money where your mouth is, so to answer your question directly: I am actively de-Googling myself and being very vocal about it because I believe that's the only way to affect change in large corporates who. Here is what I've done:
- Switched from Google to DuckDuckGo. Haven't used Google in over 6 months.
- Switched from Chrome to Firefox. Very happy so far.
- This week I signed up for Fastmail and switched my MX records over, so Google can't learn show me ads anymore.
- Next up is Google Docs. Sheets is going to be tough.
Hey Google, you're screwing up BIG TIME. Talk to your customers!
Maps suffered from a nice 100+ times price hike a few years ago and killed plenty of companies that relied on it. I'm currently using maps because it's the most reliable and the product can afford it, but I'll switch to something else as soon as possible. I'm working on getting the local government to sponsor an effort to improve Open Street Maps enough to be better than google.
Microsoft 365 is reasonably priced and you can use the web-based versions for free.
I started with Chrome, because it was easy.
Google Photos is holding my photos hostage, so it's the first candidate. Google Drive will come next, since the solution I picked also covers that.
I also stopped using the Google Maps location timeline, and use OsmAnd most of the time for navigation.
My personal website doesn't use Analytics. I don't load Google Fonts either.
I have my email hosted on fastmail, using their web interface. I don't use gmail.
I switched over to duck duck go three (?) years ago and have been happy with it. This was because of online advocacy that you are questioning.
google maps was the killer app for me, but I've been using the here wego app on my phone and it is 90% as good. the main irritation is that every time it does an update it seems to reset all of my preferences. This was because of online advocacy that you are questioning.
I'd be free of google except (and this is a big exception) I use an android phone. I don't want to participate in the apple ecosystem.
With mail, search, maps and various others, there is no community lock-in. Who cares who else uses their same mail provider?
YouTube is the only thing where I do not see an alternative, simply because that website is not about the product itself, but about the people who use it. Replacing the product is easy-ish, but the people are impossible to.
I suppose it just depends what you're trying to achieve by 'degoogling'.
But I think my point stands - recommendations don't actually need any network effect, or to be done by YouTube itself. You could have a third-party/OSS recommender, it's just pretty niche and probably doesn't exist.
IMO YouTube can be used as a dumb content store. It's on the creator side that it has the 'network effect' handcuffs - it's the content store everyone goes to, so if you make content, it's where you need to store it।
I try to watch high quality content on YouTube, or at least high quality for the areas of interest for me.
For that reason it really tends to recommend pretty good stuff for me.
What’s really difficult:
- completely moving out of an email address people have been using for years to contact me
- many clients I work with use google docs
- the stuff I don’t see, all the cookies and analytics
- YouTube, though I prefer reading
It would be very nice if my taxes could go towards protecting me as a consumer from companies that get too large - especially considering some of the acquisitions in the ad ecosystem (YouTube, doubleclick), but here we are.
The list in the headline is very helpful.
Another aspect is that I have much less trust in any online services - free or not, open source or not. I'm more sensitive of where my data is hosted (politics and privacy), who owns the service, and their reputation. I now have a plan B for those solutions I've switched to, just in case.
I have decided not to buy a Google phone next time, and to start the mamoth task of moving my primary email address to one using a domain I own rather than a gmail.com one (changing email address is hard :( ).
It isn;t so much because Google is evil, it is because their stuff isn't as good as it used to be, and they arbitarily lock people out of accounts for poor reasons, or force changes on people, at times. I have a Pixel 4 and have been pretty unimpressed with it as a phone and with how buggy Android seems to have become. I've also, over the past few years, started to dislike their stuff more and more. Having to use G Suite for work, as a user and an admin of it and supporting users (though I don't actually suport them directly myself), puts me off their stuff too.
Google no longer makes good products, but they think they do, and change thewir stuff on the assumption that they are improving it when they are not.
1. Google has great products and they are "free". Airtable a drop-in for G-sheets? Count me out.
2. This is the sneaky part - zero onboarding friction. Want to try notion? Need to "sign up" or watch stupid video. Try google docs? COMMAND+L + doc.new
(Spoiler: thé “trick” only works if you already have a Google account that is signed in.)
Maybe Gmail was a trojan horse for Google accounts.
100% the Trojan horse. I don't know that it started out that way... but it certainly is now.
A non-insignificant number of people around me behave similarly. At my company pretty much every non-tech person uses DeepL. My lawyer uses DuckDuckGo, and some other people I know also do.
I practically removed everything Chrome in my life. I never was much of a desktop user, but I used their Android app out of convenience and have gone 100% Firefox.
I stopped using Google Search and instead use Bing for most things... yeah yeah I know, one demon for another, but Microsoft Rewards have saved me some measurable cash so far and I have pretty much isolated my Microsoft life from any other online personas.
I'm starting to eyeball moving away from Gmail more and more as these stories show up. I've had my own domain for years now and have my incoming mail forwarded to gmail. It won't be hard to migrate that end of things.
I don't see myself ever dropping Android, but I'm not going to be replacing my Pixel with another one. I'll probably go towards something less "high end" and just root it for my next phone.
I think my experience is the same as many. Its not an all or nothing thing, its about gradual, manageable changes that happen over time.
This is an odd sentence because Carbonite is a provider and Duplicity is a backup software that you can point at many different providers.
So Google Drive might indeed be superior to Carbonite but that has nothing to do with Duplicity.
Further, there is almost universal consensus that borg is superior to duplicity. It has been called the "Holy Grail" of backups.
What you should probably be doing is:
1) using 'rclone' to move data between clouds - either downloading it back to yourself or migrating it to a new cloud that you prefer.
2) using 'borg' to initiate, or replace, existing backups with encrypted backups that only you hold the key to.
I actually use Google Drive for files I share with people who don't have MS Office, then I use Duply+PGP->Duplicity to AWS S3 backups of all documents on my Mac that aren't on GitHub (and don't have GB of object or docker files), and lastly I do monthly TimeMachine for the entire DISK (because TimeMachine is effing amazing, I won't go into to much detail, but it is brilliant when moving to a new machine).
When it comes to backups, I am reluctant to spin up rclone/borg when a single alias that calls Duply+PGP to S3 on my 1GBit upstream fiber has worked fine for almost 10 years. Just telling me I should switch to something without a making an effort to explain WHY is basically asking me to spend hours studying and trying something that might fuck up my established protocol for what ROI? I don't quite share your enthusiasm for new flows, prima fascie. ;-)
It took many years for me, one service at a time, but now I’m free and it was worth it.
At this point I still maintain my GMail account for stragglers, which forwards to my new domain. I still use YouTube since most of my favourite creators are still exclusively on there, though I have moved to Vimeo or Patreon whenever possible. I use Chrome at work due to policy, but I use Firefox at home. I don't think it's possible for me to 100% decouple, but I am no longer dependent on them, nor are they getting the bulk of my information. I think I can live with that.
Switched search engine to DuckDuckGo
Switched browser to Firefox
Moved away from Gmail. Still have my account but moved my personal domain to Zoho and started using that for most things.
So there's some effect. On the other hand, I still have an Android phone, and haven't found good replacements for Google maps and Photos
I find this list useful.
If Apple decided to ban me it would be fairly miserable, but I don't see them pulling this sort of shit in the same way FB and Google do.
My replacements are Fastmail for Mail, Contacts, and Calendar; Apple for photos, notes, and music; and Microsoft 365 for all of my office apps. I’d already used Dropbox for storage.
The Gmail accounts are still active because I’m still finding services I missed during the switch. It’s easier to notice this if I don’t forward them.
Search, I tried DuckDuckGo for a month, but just wasn’t good enough. Every fourth search ended up on Google anyway.
I'm still using other Google services. Have a Chromebook I like, and still defaulting to their search. But at least I won't be at their mercy when it comes to email.
Basically Google maps and Gmail are my main 2 google services that I haven’t yet moved away from. Apple Maps isn’t quite there yet, especially when it comes to international map data. And Gmail is something I’ve been meaning to swap out but it’s just so tedious to switch and I really don’t like the alternate options I have tried. I also have a Google Fi account for international data, because it’s the best way to get unthrottled unlimited free international data basically anywhere in the world, but I don’t use it as my main phone line domestically.
In 2013 I was one of the first Google Glass explorers and I wore it religiously for 3 years. I was google’s biggest fanboy in every way imaginable. And yet Google abandoned me, not the other way around. My switch off Google was less about privacy issues and more about the Google products and services I used to use have been either getting worse or pulled out from under me, or just aren’t worth account closure risk anymore. There’s also the privacy aspect as well, which wouldn’t be so bad if I still trusted them as a company to do the right thing, but those days are long gone.
For example switching Google Drive, the top suggestions are Nextcloud and Dropbox. I tried Nextcloud and it was horrible. Stopped after a few months of sync issues and slowness. And Dropbox is like six times the cost for the basic tier of service.
Only Google product I willingly use is YouTube (no viable competitor).
My schooling forces me to use a gmail account.
I've successfully excised their products from my life otherwise.
Music: Apple Music
Documents: LibreOffice, MS Office
Video conferencing: Zoom, Discord (Google cloud, unfortunately)
My phone is technically Google (Pixel), but it's operating on Grapheneos
There are a couple instances where I have migrated off the cloud, but other instances where it's too much work (e-mail, etc.)
But I avoid taking new dependencies on the cloud, unless it's doing something tremendously new that I can't do otherwise.
Lists like these are excellent for people who havn’t come across or had time to look for other services yet. Maybe they were stuck thinking “it’s too hard to leave google, I’d have to make all that stuff by myself” (or the corporate equivalent for things like analytics).
In my case, it took several years of posts, paranoia and planning. I tried out a few services. I already used Safari (Apple’s another story). I switch to Firefox as my main front-end dev tool, which took some getting used to. I already had a vanity domain name and some for of email hosting. At one point I decided to flick a switch and stop using as many Google things as possible. Some time later I got sucked back into GSuite because of work and some of my hobby/social life projects. When I start my own projects, I don’t use Google.
I was an early Gmail user, got my account though an invite from a kind slashdotter. I've introduced Google docs/drive to a few organisations successfully around 2010. A few years later the privacy issues started to become clear to me and are what started my quest for ending my Google use. Around 2013 I started moving services off Google one by one, as fast as I could find satisfactory alternatives. Gmail was the last service I left, in about 2015, because it was obviously tied to external use, and for which i made a plan with timeline. Search by the way was not hard, other engines are really quite good, otherwise just use a proxy like startpage.com.
I still have an account for the odd Drive share I have to collaborate on, but other than that, zero. I even deleted the email address this year.
The main motivators for me was not having all my eggs in the same basket, and also supporting smaller single-service businesses. The privacy & tracking issues were also considerations. An unexpected benefit is that I found my relationship to tech and the internet has been simplified, partly because I'm no longer engulfed in one company's gigantic ecosystem that constantly pushes new features and new products on me like Google or Apple.
i don't need to de-google myself from search or youtube. they're read-only for me. i don't post videos to youtube. i do use the subscription feature on channels and sometimes create some private playlists, and i enjoy the recommendation sometimes finding me gems, but i could do wityout it, or even re-create it if needed. (all my subscriptions are backed up as pinboard bookmarks with tags)
I am never logged in while searching or on YouTube, which they don't like given the newest message that pops up randomly with a prompt to sign in. Mobile and PC are completely compartmentalized, I don't need to sync anything.
I use duckduckgo, since I can just add +g to get Google results and otherwise it uses Bing. Perfect for privacy and convenience.
I use Chrome and FF at work, but I vastly prefer FF. I use their services if useful, but I certainly try to minimize data exposure. Not too strict, but I think it helps.
In general I'd say not to be too pessimistic about consumer awareness. I know non-technical people who are using brave browser, do not want smart home listening devices in their houses, avoid buying from amazon, etc. A few years ago I wouldn't have expected that from them, so it feels like it's getting better (anecdotally).
Gmail and Google Maps are two services I still rely on. There's a few good online map/navigation services where I live (Prague, Czechia), and I'm starting to migrate there - it takes time to kill a habit, though.
Gmail seems like the hardest thing to let go.
Oh, and of course deleting Facebook acc a few years ago has been one of the best decisions for my mental health ever.
There is just no replacement for YouTube for now. 99% of I'd like to watch is there, most of which I can't even find a place to buy.
I guess this is where it's hard: even if an alternative is built to better YouTube on every technical aspect, the contents are just not there.
Tangentially, I don't believe it's possible to pressure Google to do anything by not using a Google product, as long as the majority of the users, who are not at all technical, don't care.
It's practically quite meaningless, apart from making myself feel better.
I've switched to brave as my browser (curious to see what the opinion is here of brave) DuckDuckGo as a default search engine.
Proton mail for most of my email, although I am looking for a better alternative.
I've backed up everything that I used to leave on drive, I although I still work on drive then download the files, I haven't found a good alternative here.
I have a OnePlus so oxygen os for Android.
For example, I started using Google Docs again because I was required to for a job, and found some of its features useful enough that I didn't have an immediate replacement.
I reflexively use Google Translate (there are alternatives listed here that I didn't know about)
Btw: Most of these large social sites allow registering multiple emails for a user. That seems sane to use if your attack model primarily is Google attacking you by cancelling you. Keep one gmail email, and add one with your own domain. That's also a backup in case you mess up somehow with domain.
I took the plunge and switched to Fastmail recently. They've done amazing work to make that as quick and easy as possible - in about an hour, they'd imported all my mail, and I had all of my email clients set up again.
I'm mostly off Google services now, but I haven't found a good replacement for Google Maps. I've had Apple lead me into the woods one too many times to really be willing to trust it.
This reflects my experience as well. It's usually correct but when it's wrong it's really wrong.
In a thread about getting off Google, I'm also getting off Apple. I just finished killing iCloud and now have all my backups etc in OneDrive.
At least with OneDrive, I have cross platform support and it's easy to sync and upload/download and I know where my data is. Apple, who knows. It took 2 days and 95% of that time was getting my data out of iCloud.
Ultimately I want my device to basically be a dumb view into whatever accounts I have set up. Sick of the lock in and "ecosystem".
Just about the only Google services I still rely on are Android (Because you can't get an iPhone with a physical keyboard) and Drive, and even that I only use because it's the path of least resistance for syncing my password keychain.
Give it another 3-5 years and they might turn it around, but as far as I can tell their still costing on reputation at this point.
In order for a competitor to do so they need to first tackle search (the hardest part) but also think holistically about replacing other big "points of contact" like Browser or Email. Because Google is not just search; Google has become the infrastructure of the web.
I still have my Google account, but when I do a "takeout" there is almost nothing there.
I don't care if google know what I'm working on.
At that same time switched from GDrive to iCloud Drive.
Switched to DuckDuckGo 3 years ago.
What I still use Google for (with a fake account with fake info and a fake e-mail):
- YouTube; there is no alternative
- Google Maps when I need to use maps on my work Windows laptop
And as much as I don't think people can be completely "degoogled", we need some healthy competition to keep juggernaut's power in check. And hopefully we can nudge it towards more privacy-aware and open practices.
Gmail is the hardest for me to replace. Everything else was not difficult at all.
Firefox, DDG, protonmail, BitWarden, LibreOffice, etc. I even switched to iPhone.
The only thing I haven't been able to get rid of; YouTube. There's really nothing to replace that. At least I access it without being signed in, and in a browser on both desktop and mobile.
It is pleasant knowing that Google for some reason blocking my account would be a minor inconvenience as opposed to the destruction of my entire digital persona.
Not one post though as it was growing in me.
I used to be fully bought in to them. Used to have everything Google. 2 Google Homes, Android, Chrome, Gmail, Calendar, Photos, Chromecast, and everything else.
Now I occasionally use YouTube because that’s much harder to replace, but that’s all the data they get on me. Everything else is gone! Feels freeing honestly.
I stopped doing that a while ago, and now as they turn off, in moving to other options. Eg. Google music turning off printed me moving away from chrome and search
Those might be small steps, but the thoughts of google closing my account are filling me with genuine terror.
Alternatives need differentiation to specifically pick them and being not Google isn't good enough.
Ddg has bangs which make it a universal search bar.
I did completely move over to Firefox and change email providers though.
There’s no replacement for YouTube. But otherwise I’ve cut it out pretty well.
I do have to maintain old gmail accounts as they’re logins for god knows how many sites.
I miss pre-2015 Twitter. I interacted with a lot of fellow devs across the world. Who I would often meet IRL at conferences. It was super enjoyable and valuable. Alas I unfollowed everyone and only open Twitter a couple of times a year.
FB I stopped using many many years ago which was easy. I do use Instagram for sharing vacation and new puppy photos privately. But I easily go months without checking it most of the time. I never scroll.
I go through phases on Reddit. I like r/rust and get a lot of my Rust education from posts there. Which sucks me back in, unfortunately.
I've never gotten pulled into the YouTube rabbit hole. I just click links that happen to be hosted there from time to time. I don't subscribe to much other than SmarterEveryDay and a handful of similar channels. An alternatively would be nice. I wouldn't feel bad about my YouTube usage if it wasn't Google.
They've just become toxic on so many levels. What I used to appreciate was actual discourse with those I don't always agree with and now everyone just got completely intolerant of any views not their own. I've had more unfriends/unfollows in the past year than the past 20 or so before that.
It's an echo chamber of insanity, and if you don't fit cleanly in it, it just feels like you want to drop in less. There are a few FB groups I check in on, and engage with, but now it's maybe half an hour a day across all social platforms where as a couple years ago, it might have been 2-3hrs a day.
Ditching YouTube would be a massive net negative for me.
Tell me about it, the classroom is Google's next territory to invade and they're already making solid headway. Between Classroom, hangouts/meet and School email, I can't stay away from them.
Luckily my kids' new school doesn't use these products but the outlook for avoiding them for the next 14 years doesn't look good.
Does the general typing latency not bother people? There's a noticeable delay between pressing a key and seeing a character appear. Other apps, Electron-based even, don't seem so slow. But then you type something like a/b and you realize why it's so slow. About half of the things a technical person might type while writing notes or documentation result in some "helpful" popup which must be canceled. I have a long laundry list of usability issues, but from all appearances their company has been growing and selling but not making good on the promises of addressing feedback.
My team and I use google docs to get the initial collaborative concepts down, and then one of us manually creates a Notion page with the more permanent result. I sincerely wish to find a collaborative writing/spreadsheet/drawing suite that was open source (paid service even) that could come close to the utility of gdocs.
I agree it's slow and the mobile apps are terrible. But I haven't found anything better yet.
They use Google Analytics though, boo.
Edit: n=3017, 93% are in tech industry.
Also, what on Earth is "Tech Twitter"? My forays (now abandoned as fruitless) into twitter show it as dispersed as any other social media group - if not more so.
I can't imagine anyone being able to run a cross-sectional survey of 'tech' over twitter without massive buy in from either twitter or dozens of disparate groups who would have no interest in measuring tech giant positivity scores.
Approval ratings by brand:
The reality is that these are very popular companies.
Who are Vox readers? Rich under 35. It would make sense why this group identifies with major brands as a status symbol. I would love to see what people over 35 and/or make average income or less think.
"Vox Media's properties target educated households with six-figure incomes and a head of house less than 35 years old"
They willing give google EVERY bit of personal info about their lives (between emails, search history and phone / android).
When firefox defaulted to yahoo, most folks (70%+?) switched to google - on an OPEN SOURCE / freedom focused platform like firefox! Think of the normal population the preference for google is going to be even higher.
There are research companies and financial publications that do a more thorough, and reputable, job.
Edit: Why was my GP moved to top level? It made much more sense as a response to the comment questioning the true sentiment.
no offense but is it surprising that the people who likely draw paychecks from those companies like them? The question is framed as "does tech company X do good for the world?"
Presumably if you're working in tech you're already self-selected to agree with that question or you're likely hypocritical enough to answer yes anyway. Seems like asking people in the oil industry if oil company X is good for the world
Vast majority of people on Hacker News also draw paychecks from these companies or similar and the sentiment is vastly different.
I do remember the highly technical discussions around Google product launches (especially in GCE space) but it's been pretty dry for a while now, most of the Google news these days seems to me to be trying to overstate first world problems and coming with first world solutions to them.
And another thing I noticed: similar to how on Slashdot there was a significant change in mentality and opinions around H1b programs and immigrants many years ago, I've started to see a change here too. What used to be a place where immigration was seen as a largely positive force it's slowing turning into a "it's OK sometimes but there's all these problems with it". Curious to see if it will turn into current day Slashdot opinion of "close borders, don't let any immigration for technical jobs". Is that also part of aging?
Sure, my gmail address is still the primary (possibly only) contact on many many places, but I think that risk would be outweighed by my domain registration accidentally lapsing, or my servers getting spamlisted, or smaller providers going out of business. Again, it would be infuriating and bothersome, but not the end of the world.
That said, I try to keep my personal account for personal stuff, and whenever I want to try something out of the "ordinary layman user" realm, like trying out dev tools or APIs, cloud products, you name it, I'll use a secondary unrelated account just in case The Algorithm finds that odd and ban-worthy.
Welcome to Coda
Coda is an all-in-one doc that brings
words, data, and teams together.
Sign up to make a doc for free.
[Sign up with Google]
Edit: also want to add that there is also a risk with using smaller platforms as they have a high chance of going bust. I employ a strategy of keeping files on both google, iCloud and a personal drive to have redundancy in case of issues. Of course this does make sense if you want to be absolutely invisible
But the problem with locking yourself into a proprietary platform, be it Apple, Google, or Microsoft, is that in order to use service A, that you like, you may also have to put up with services B, C, or D, which suck. For example, you might love Google Photos, but if alongside sharing Google Photos with your friends, you have to deal with Google's endless stream of terrible short-lived chat services, that seamless ecosystem platform isn't really doing you any favors.
Just my opinion, but if you want a one-stop-shop for a Google replacement, probably Fastmail is your best bet: email+calendar+notes. ProtonMail is less well integrated, but in a year I would bet their email+calendar+vpn+secure data storage will have a better workflow. In addition to Google Workplace, I am also a paying customer of ProtonMail and Fastmail - I just don't use these alternatives right now.
Lots of choices is a good thing.
There are enough self-hosted options and third-party paid alternatives that the Google ecosystem lock-in isn't as useful as it once was to me.
1. A single service has full visibility into your habits
2. The upper bound for the efficacy of each service is higher.
I'm still not sure I understand your comment, but I would add that that even with multiple services, each can buy data from each other and from brokers, bringing the situation with them closer to a multiple-google situation.
Problems like this cannot be solved by technology.
edit: Being all Google may ultimately be more similar to the Apple proposition, where they actively fight their users to maximize their own profits, but also actively fight others for the complete possession of their users. As an Apple customer, you know that if your usage is irrelevant to their bottom line, they'll generally protect you from third parties. The reason it's not obvious that Google could be that way is because they're an ad company.
But I agree it can’t be replaced currently
I already dumped Facebook. I feel like I could do Google and Amazon next. I make my living with AWS, so there's that.
I'm not sure if Netflix is worth dumping, by din of this criteria.
I feel like Apple is the least offensive here, but their app store missteps this year put a harsh light on their relationship to their dev community.
Twitter I'm likely to close after the election. I know I need a year off it, no matter what happens.
So, maybe I want to de-GAFT.
Then there are entries for Google authenticator -> Authy, Google weather -> DarkSky (whose Android app was killed), Google Scholar -> Arxiv, etc.
I can't take these posts seriously no matter how loud their proponents have become
1. arXiv does not feature any sort of metrics (h-index, citations count) for the author(s) and
2. Probably no author's complete list of non-informal publications would be available on arXiv, which is why it may not be the place to look for some obscure paper of said author(s).