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No More Google (nomoregoogle.com)
664 points by mengledowl 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 384 comments

These anti-Google discussions come and go on the front page of Hacker News, but I'd be curious to know how many people actually degoogle their lives drastically after reading such discussions and articles. I believe it's more of a case of "Oh my god, Google is so disgusting! Shame on Google!", and then people open up a new tab in Chrome to search on Google about their next restaurant destination as if nothing happened.

Or maybe I'm too pessimistic.

Personal anecdote, software engineer/techie for 25+yrs:

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've also moved to firefox across all my devices. I don't use electron apps. I use google search and gmail both personally and at work.

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.

I don't like Electron either, but is it correct to consider it a Google product? I'm not sure.

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.

I believe the point being made is because Electron uses Chromium they are making an assumption that it has some of the characteristics and possibly tracibility of Chrome.

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.

Why not use Electron? That's managed by Microsoft, not Google.

Electron is based on chromium and I want to give non-chromium based things a fighting chance. It also feels like a memory hog and I like running slack in my browser more than as a separate app.

tl;dr nonsensical reasons that don't really stack up but I'm electron free so may as well keep it up

One of the reasons I don't switch to Firefox full time is that it (still, after many years) leaks memory. Use Task Manager to see how much RAM Firefox is using once it's been open a while.

It is unlikely you are seeing a memory leak, it is far more likely you are seeing caching. Using spare memory is far better than not using it - and if another app needs it, FF will free it up.

Hear hear!

I doubt many other people here are going to ditch Electron completely - the current 'favourite' dev tool is Visual Studio Code which is an Electron app.

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 [1] but I think all the privacy issues are part of Chrome, not Chromium.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium_(web_browser)

I moved to DuckDuckGo years ago, Firefox a year ago, from GA to Goat Counter for my personal sites and recently from GMail to Fastmail. It has been slow, but certainly deliberate.

Did you have your own email domain? I have an @gmail.com email and can't even begin to imagine how I could migrate. It's my login everywhere...

You can have you gmail forward to your fastmail account. This way you leave it up but migrate over as you can (you won't miss updates, password reset emails, etc).

Once you have your new domain setup on Fastmail, ProtonMail, etc., you can set up a “vacation responder” on gmail so anyone emailing you there will get an email with any message you want to cajole people into updating their address book.

Before I used a password manager I just looked through my Gmail and logged into every site I had an account with and changed the email address to my personal domain one.

This took about a week of focused effort.

Imagine one day you accidentally like a wrong Facebook post and get "canceled". Poof your google account and you logins with it ...

I both have a custom domain email (mostly for my own work) and a hey.com account. I did not try not move everything from gmail to one or another email as it would be painful. However, I'm moving things time to time and most of my new subscriptions are using either my own domain or the hey domain. In a year or two, I expect to start to redirect all remaining gmail emails to my new main email.

I have fastmail set up so that it continually imports new mail from my google accounts, and if I reply from the fastmail interface it replies using the email I received the message on.

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've been happy with Fastmail as a GMail alternative. Been slowly moving my logins and usernames from one to the other. Only (rather significant) complaint is that since 2018, they're affected by Australia's encryption backdoor bill.

Would you please be able to share a source for the encryption back door? I assume they can access email using the usual court order process in AU but worried this will turn into a free for all like ISP data retention..

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.

The legislation specifically prohibits authorities from requiring the creation or retention of any systemic weaknesses or vulnerabilities, or "any act or thing that will, or is likely to, jeopardise the security of any information held by any other person", other than the individual(s) targeted by the warrant.

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"?

One of the best things I did was to use Firefox Focus for all my mobile Google Search queries. This let's me use Google to (most of the time) find what I'm looking for, but without worrying as much about tracking or having a profile on my browser (Focus resets every time you leave the app). I've found that there are few occasions where I actually want to keep a search history.

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.

I'm also using Focus (Klar, for DE/AT/CH countries - with telemetry disabled by default) as a default browser and combining it with Firefox Lockwise makes it easy to login somewhere temporarily.

But don't feel too safe with it re: tracking, because there's browser fingerprinting that works without cookies: https://panopticlick.eff.org/

On android, Firefox beta (and maybe stable; haven't used stable in a while) allows you to have bookmarks as well as open all links in a private tab by default.

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 been considering getting my own domain for email for some time -- the benefits are obvious. But I have one concern. If I use the address `mail@my-real-name.com`, does this pose a privacy threat? If someone wants to try and track my activities online, they can take that address, which is clearly tied to me (especially if, say, I use that domain for a blog too), and then go to ashleymadison.com (does that still exist?) and try a password reset for that address; many sites poduce differing responses to password reset requests depending on whether or not you have an account there. If the response is "We've sent a password reset link to that address", rather than "There is no account with that address", then people now know I'm a philanderer.

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.

There are a number of things you can do that can help you with your privacy and security:

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"

These are all good points. I guess what I'm getting at is that if you have to have multiple identities to ensure privacy, then you somewhat defeat the point of having your own domain, unless that is, you have multiple domains that you own.

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.

As my kids get old enough to get an email account, they won't be gmail.com accounts. But I will probably never cancel my gmail account which presumably at some point will have the same stigma as a hotmail or yahoo address does now.

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.

Yup... I still keep my old hotmail and yahoo accounts around, just in case google ends up disabling mine for some reason

I've partially degoogled, and it was certainly influenced by these kinds of discussions.

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.

Same. I'm at a similar position except I haven't quite got my Android situation sorted out. Google photos is really quite good. And maps too.

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.

Another compelling reason is to avoid actively contributing to their ad ecosystem, which is ultimately paid for by the users and businesses that (have to) rely on the products because they are the biggest player in the market.

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.

I wonder if all the people leaving Google for Fastmail will make Fastmail the next Google. It's better to diversify accounts like that, especially in the case of email, which (currently) works across providers, despite attempts by Google and Protonmail to lock users in.

On this principle I was actually with migadu for a long time - only recently did I switch to fastmail.

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.

Thank you for your criticism here (offtopic though), but we have never had an outage where mail was lost. Where did that comment come from? I am sorry for that bitterness, but I don't think we deserve it.

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".

Whilst this is high risk for a flamewaresque HN policy violation I'm going to attempt a response.

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.

No risk of flamewar, I genuinely want to know your view, not defend ourselves in public. If we messed up, knowing where and how helps not to repeat it.

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.

You can get your own domain name (ie: me@myname.com) so that you avoid vendor lock-in and migrate your email account to other service providers.

Get a domain, set MX records to a provider and back them up.

Worst case, you point MX to a new platform or server you own and restore from your backup.

Hello, I was planning to move to Protonmail (free version). Can you explain more about trying to lock users in?

Smart man: avoid tail-risk. Google is a tail-risk!

I started a De-googling process. I documented how I replaced Search, GMail, Fit, Photos and Drive:


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.

edit grammar

Great post!

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.

Thanks for sharing! Your blog post was very helpful and informative!!

Thanks for your kind words. It motivates to keep writing and sharing.

>I'd be curious to know how many people actually degoogle their lives drastically after reading such discussions and articles

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.

Why does the attaching of 100s of files trigger an account lockout?

Why indeed.

I don't know anything about this but being an engineer myself I am assuming you hit a rate limiting function.

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.

I can speculate just as well as the next guy. Their system could have been been rate limiting me, or maybe it decided I was a spammer abusing the system. The point is, there was no transparency.

Well, limiting your control for some time on matching spamming heuristics is also kind of rate limiting. I am not sure I see the link between number of email attachments and spam though.

> 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.

What, adding 200 attachments to a mail suspends your account?!

You tell me.

The barrier to switching is high. Things like Takeout really don't account for the frustration of switching your entire workflow over, getting used to new tools, getting everyone you know to connect to you on a non-Google platform, etc.

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.

I moved my many domains and many of my clients' domains and mail hosting to Zoho. I looked at Fastmail at the time, but there was one showstopper which I forget (and should revisit). That said, I have found Zoho to be very reliable and reasonably responsive to support issues. And their pricing is very reasonable, imo.

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.

+1 for Zoho. I moved from GSuite for my domain’s email to Zoho and it was pretty easy and has been running well for over two years now.

How is the office suite from Zoho?

I've really only used their Mail application, and it seems perfectly fine to me!

I'm running a test with paid zoho currently (been going for a few months) to see if they're dependable. I bought a test domain name, and signed with their $1 USD/month plan...so far, quite good. I'm somewhat sold...the only reason i haven't taken the plunge yet is i've been distracted at work, so haven't planned out my migration. (i have so much email that i want to plan this delicately.)

I've been using paid Zoho mail for about eight months and have very few complaints.

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.

Thanks very much; quite helpful!

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.

note that germany is part of the fourteen eyes, which means it might be easier for the US govt to breach an american’s privacy there than here in the US.

>I looked at Fastmail at the time, but there was one showstopper which I forget (and should revisit).

Was it Australia's anti-encryption law?


I'm about 98% ready to leap off Gmail for good and I was going to consider Fastmail but unfortunately won't, due to this.

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:

* Catchall * 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've been with Google since the gmail beta and have slowly de-googled a lot of the stuff I use. Not due to privacy concerns but simply due to them cancelling products or making existing products worse (gTalk/Hangouts closure as well as Google Photos/Drive decoupling were the two big ones).

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 use OneDrive instead of Drive (I get 1TB thanks to the Office family plan), which is ok.

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.

> I still use an Android phone as I find iphones to be very frustrating to use , especially if you do not use a Mac.

This I don't understand, I haven't needed to use my Mac for anything with iPhones for years.

Firefox and DuckDuckGo are my daily drivers, and have been since around the time the Edward Snowden leaks dropped. At one point I was also running a degoogled Android (specifically CopperheadOS), though I've since reverted to using GApps on my current phone for pragmatic reasons.

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.

The irony is that CopperheadOS officially only runs on... Google Pixel devices. Yes, Google Pixel devices.

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?).

I didn't de-google it, I still use the services but I'm no longer data-dependent on Google. My mail comes to personal domain and managed by Fastmail. Gmail is just a POP3 client for reading. My photos are synchronised via PhotoSync to my NAS and then I upload selected albums to Google Photoes for convenience of sharing. I didn't do anything similar with files and Google Drive because File Explorer on iOS can sync with my NAS. Everything is local first.

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.

I haven't bothered degoogling, but I made a conscious decision probably 7 or 8 years ago to not depend on it for anything important. Heck, I even have my own third party based location tracking that dates back to when I was using that for billing clients - IIRC from one of those times when Google killed off a service I was using.

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.

You can export your Google contancts fairly trivially:


By shame and disgust, I suspect you mean something along the lines of virtue-signalling, but I think it's much more simple than that, it's plain old economics:

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!

people keep trotting out this old story of Google kills products but it hasn't happened in years. Yes they killed some niche products years ago - social network/chat and an rss reader.. but the important stuff with huge user bases is stable. gmail, chrome, calendar, maps, docs have never been shutdown and likely never will until the entire tech world changes drastically.

What is your definition of 'niche'?



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.

Google Finance was 'renovated' and went from a robust portfolio tracking and stock charting tool to a relatively useless news aggregator.

Inbox? Hangouts? Play Music?

> Next up is Google Docs. Sheets is going to be tough.

Microsoft 365 is reasonably priced and you can use the web-based versions for free.

Is Microsoft any better than Google?

I wasn't drastic about it, but I started the process, app by app.

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've never used Chrome except for checking compatibility for my websites. Firefox has been my main browser since 0.whatever.

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.

Only solution I don't have an alternative for is YouTube. Too many of my favorite content creators are only on YouTube. But I don't use Google search, gmail, photos, maps, or a ton of other things. It's just YouTube that I use it for.


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.

Discovery aside (not a big deal for me personally, most recent recommendations have come from HN & channels I already watched) you can just 'subscribe' with some other tool, and download or watch on youtubenocookie, or just use the site not logged in?

I suppose it just depends what you're trying to achieve by 'degoogling'.

That works, but wouldn't for me. Discovery is precisely the primary service YouTube does for me. I really only ever click around the top two rows on the main page, all automatic YouTube suggestions. They are relevant and interesting enough for this to work consistently.

Interesting. Mine are awful, spam-level awful. (Even when I had an account and subscriptions.)

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।

Discovery for me is pretty good generally.

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.

Same here. I've been spending more and more time on Nebula [1], though, since I tend to watch those kinds of videos anyway.

[1] https://watchnebula.com

I've started using firefox and duck-duck go and I cannot belive how much less targeted the ads I get on youtube are now. It's awesome. I plan on removing more and more as I can. Email is a hard switch.

Why are less targeted ads better in your opinion? Just curious because I've read studies that show people prefer ads that are relevant to them if they have to watch ads.

(Not GP but) In the context of this discussion, because they're creepy, an invasion of privacy. In practice, because their relevance to me means I can see through them, that the product's crap, or I already have it, or if I wanted it it wouldn't be the lack of an advert stopping me getting it, etc.

It’s hard to reach 100% but very doable to keep the most intrusive stuff out. These are my steps: - replace search with DDG, gradually reduce usage of !g and either search directly on the site of interest or narrow down the search further if results aren’t satisfactory - Firefox and safari both are excellent browsers (especially reading mode to escape the ads). I use Firefox with separate containers for all the big sites (Google, Amazon, etc) and safari for general browsing - add a pi hole (mine is broken right now, would love to integrate into my router some time) - access email through an email client or a different provider accessing the gmail inbox, I’ve started removing all logins from the gmail address, every time I log in and have the time I change the email - generally avoid all google mobile apps, there’s good alternatives

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.

I've been doing it for while. For me, "degoogling" was (and still is) a long process. I literally went service by service, testing a new solution online for a while, and when satisfied, I switched. Obviously, I can't reproduce the way everything was integrated to work together, but my other options are still comparable and functional. I feel I've taken back control of my data and how I manage it.

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.

For things like backups, passwords, file storage, calendar, I use different systems on a Raspberry Pi that I can access online. When picking an online service, I made an effort to read the EUA and the privacy policy to find out how my data would be used and if/how I would be tracked. In the end, it's very possible to move away from Google and it's working for me, but this will always be an ongoing issue, since companies, like people, will "adjust" their ethics to fit their needs.

Anecdotal, but I doubt there is much hard evidence about reasons people stop using Google products, or even if individuals do, or whether there is just less growth.

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.

I'd definitely fall into that box. But that website helped me understand why, other than being a lazy bum, I keep use google things. It's because:

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

Go try that last one in a private tab and get back to me on how frictionless it is.

(Spoiler: thé “trick” only works if you already have a Google account that is signed in.)

https://doc.new leads to a sign up page for me.

Maybe Gmail was a trojan horse for Google accounts.

Gmail is the linchpin in their whole ecosystem. Break that, and it suddenly gets a lot easier to use various products without being stuck on Google.

100% the Trojan horse. I don't know that it started out that way... but it certainly is now.

I haven't had a Google account in years. Whenever I use its search it is via Startpage, and I dispose of cookies/localStorage when using Youtube. Other than that, not much use.

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.

Its a slow crawl for me.

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.

I've tried and failed. I've been with Gmail since day one and I'm too deep to change every address. It'll never go away. I even use DDG but keep going back to Google & Bing when I'm dissatisfied. Google Drive is better than Duplicity and Carbonite, and way easier than OneDrive. Google Voice has no competition.

"Google Drive is better than Duplicity and Carbonite"

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[1].

What you should probably be doing is:

1) using 'rclone' to move data between clouds[2] - 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.

As you may know, there is a cloud storage provider with this half-page privacy policy[3] that explicitly supports both borg and rclone[4] and has those tools built into their environment.

[1] https://www.stavros.io/posts/holy-grail-backups/

[2] https://rclone.org/

[3] https://www.rsync.net/resources/regulatory/privacy.html

[4] https://www.rsync.net/products/rclone.html

I put them all together because the end goal is to provide some kind of backup strategy. In that context, all three are equivalent. (Carbonite has clunky FileManager-like GUI for handling backups.) Make sense now?

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. ;-)

> I've been with Gmail since day one and I'm too deep to change every address.

It took many years for me, one service at a time, but now I’m free and it was worth it.

It wasn't overnight for me, habits take time to change. Not to mention unravelling my entire life. I think I started de-Googling my life in 2018. Moved away from Google Domains, moved to a custom-domain email address at Fastmail, moving all my subscriptions/accounts/miscellaneous stuff to said new email, when I got a new phone I setup Authy instead of re-adding everything to Google Authenticator, the list goes on.

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.

Over the years due at least party to posts like these I have:

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

Many people in my circle are slowly diversifying away from google utilities, and I think that the low-level anti-google sentiment is useful to spawn new services, especially those that can be deployed and shared from a VPS, or for a relatively small yearly fee (subscription email, sovereign ansible playbooks, mastodon, etc)

I'm pretty much off Google now (using only search and maps now), and I think HN played a big role convincing me to do so. I don't think you can do it on one go (moving from the browser, password manager, email, etc...); it's a big investment because the Google suite makes your life much easier.

I find this list useful.

Yeah, in HN there is a lot of anti-google (even anti-apple) sentiment but at they same time I get the feeling most users don't change their behavior just because of that. Everyone loves their iphones and macs and google home, I get it... I used to mistake techies to be trend setters. I understand now that they are completely different types of people. techies are more like consumers, whereas trend setters are more like people pushing limits and changing their life(style) for the fun of it. I have commented before here but I would imagine self-hosting is really not a big deal. These days we have amazing options like cloudron, yunohost, sandstorm etc that help people install apps and manage their servers but I don't see many comments from people actually doing it.

I've diversified hugely. I still use them for search, maps, and YouTube. However, if I was to get banned by Facebook or Google, it wouldn't be a huge deal.

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.

I’ve removed Google for everything except search, two old gmail accounts, and the occasional Google doc when I can’t avoid it.

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.

Today's latest round of Gmail lockout horror stories prompted me to stop being lazy and go through my various business and customer accounts. At least the important ones. And change them all to my email on my personal domain. I have a 15 yr old account so today's story about a guy losing his 15 yr account hit kinda hard.

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.

I personally switched to firefox on my computers, with DuckDuckGo as my search engine both on computer and mobile. I already use iOS. Still use Gmail, don’t for see leaving it anytime soon, too much of a hassle to find a decent replacement. I have been a passionate user of Google play Music for 7 years, and I would’ve continued, except they took that out from under me. So now I’ve got an Apple music subscription. I stopped using my various Google Home/Nest smart speakers once they made them basically useless unless you enable the Google account setting that lets them track everything everywhere. As soon as you change that privacy setting, Google Homes always respond with “in order for me to help you, turn on activity tracking in your Google account” or something like that.

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.

I managed to switch from Chrome to Firefox at least. But looking at this website, there's not really a whole host of apps and services that I want to switch over.

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.

I use OneDrive. The price is right for 1TB of storage, they have tools for mac, windows, Android and iOS. I know using MS services is not everyone's cup of tea but it's something to look at anyway.

You're not wrong. It's a pain in the ass.

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.

Email: fastmail 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

If nothing else, it has the effect of avoiding new dependencies on the cloud / Google.

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.

As another poster says, these things build over time.

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.

You ask for anekdata, so here my 2 cents.

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.

I've mostly de-googled. I still use Google Search via Firefox container when DDG results are lacking, and still use Google Maps & Youtube because the alternatives pale in comparison (using NewPipe, F-Droid, and microG on my phone and loving the benefits!). I am planning on running a personal Invidious instance since I generally prefer its UX over YouTube's.

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.

The point isn't for people to read these things once and then take drastic measures. It's to slowly build up awareness of alternative services and the number of people who choose them. It's a lot easier to ignore one lonely person calling for something than it is to ignore a thousand.

i don't remember if it was something in particular that caused me to do it, but i de-googled the part that mattered the most. my email. i moved to fastmail with my own domain. a few years later i dropped android too. this way, google can't destroy my online life. it would be very painful to lose my email archive, and access to new emails from other services.

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 did mostly. I have a Google-Mail I am only using for Android related stuff. I did buy some apps for mobile but have stopped it completely and I don't think I want to ever get back to it.

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.

I'm down to just gmail (that's going to be a hard one), occasional youtube use, and android. I'm keeping an eye on the pinephone, but I have a vital edge case for my pixel (NFC blood sugar monitoring) that I really can't give up. If xdrip becomes fully supported on pinephones, I'll jump ship on android that exact day.

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).

I'm gradually moving off Google and those posts do remind me to try push a bit harder from time to time. I still rely on YouTube and maps. Email is also there, but more and more getting migrated to Zoho. Having the periodic reminders does help.

Definitely there's been some influence of these HN discussions on me. I started using Firefox and Duckduckgo and never really looked back. I also looked through different Google account settings and turned off whatever I could find related to personal data collection.

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.

I'm mostly not on Google, apart from an occasional web search (DDG still not 100% replacing Google) and Youtube.

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 did, and know a few that have. It's a slow, methodical process and I think as alternatives develop to each service, it will keep happening. These discussions help us distance ourselves one step at a time.

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.

Each one of these discussions kicks me enough to move another service or reset a few more email addresses to a personal domain. I’m mostly off google after a couple years.

De-Googling has been an ongoing process for me, and sometimes takes a step backward. This type of discussion and article is a nudge for me to check whether I can make a better choice, rather than Google-by-default.

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)

I did today. Have moved FB, Linkedin and Github account emails to my own domain so far. So much else to move (a very long tail), but I'm feeling pretty good already.

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'd already switched to Firefox and DDG.

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.

> 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".

I did a few years ago. Fed up with their overarching encroachment into my data. Removed Chrome from home laptop, changed search to duckduckgo. On my phone did the same, changed google maps to apple maps, only keeping gmail account(using apple default mail client), but am looking for a free alternative. Did the same for Zuckerberg products as well, deleted intstagram and facebook accounts. Missed nothing doing these actions.

As you're seeing, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing switch to degoogle. I stopped using Chrome and search ages ago. About two years ago I switched away from Gmail (NOT to Fastmail!)

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.

I don’t think there significant loss from abandoning Google, I stopped without really noticing any negatives. Gmail, Chrome, and Google Search used to have a significant advantage, but like most near monopolies Google stagnated without stiff competition and are from my perspective sub par at this point.

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.

I’ve just been gradually de-Googling. It took years to take slowly take over my life, so I figured I’d play the same game and have just been picking something else every time I have a choice. So now I’m on iOS, not Android; personal email has moved to Fastmail, my sites have moved to Clicky instead of GA. There’s still plenty of Google in my life, but a few years from now it will just be gone.

Degoogling your life is incredibly hard because no competitor offers one-stop shop replacement for Google services.

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 de-googled several years ago, when they dropped Google Reader. It wasn't about privacy, or the threat of my account being locked. It was just because they killed off a product I loved and depended on. I thought Gmail could be killed off soon too.

I still have my Google account, but when I do a "takeout" there is almost nothing there.

I'm sorry to say that only using ddg would impact my work performance negatively.

I don't care if google know what I'm working on.

Moved from Gmail (with my own domain) to Fastmail (with the same domain) I think 4 years ago.

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

I'm partially degoogled thanks to Hacker News as well as "Tech Twitter."

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.

I’ve been slowly moving away from Google for a few years. There are no Google apps on my phone. I use Chrome only when signing into Google accounts like gmail or docs and I only do that rarely. I’ve moved most of my workflow elsewhere.

Gmail is the hardest for me to replace. Everything else was not difficult at all.

I degoogled as much as possible about 5 years ago after finally having enough. Some things are hard to ditch; I still use YouTube, Adsense and Analytics, but that’s it. On a rare occasion I’ll use Search when DDG isn’t surfacing what I’m looking for, but even that is pretty rare these days.

I've de-Googled nearly everything:

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.

I am one of those. I really want to degoogle but everything from my phone to my work depends on Google. The one thing I have done is stopped using Chrome on my laptop. But even then I have to use it occassionally because some websites won't behave properly in Firefox.

I started by moving off Chrome over to Firefox, and if Firefox continues to decline I may have to look at Edge Chromium. Moving data out of Google is a much slower, more careful project that will likely take a few years because of the sheer number of accounts tied to the email.

it's literally impossible in my field. I own an SEO agency. Many of the tools I use simply don't work in any other browser than Chrome. it's also not in the realms of possibility to stop using Google Analytics, Adwords, and Google Search Console.

At some point I did. Now I’m barely using Google services (their maps is still the best), though the account still exists.

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.

Once I buy the iPhone 12 mini I have prepared everything to de-google the last bit of it. I will only keep the old gmail address but not for logins anymore and i will erase every bit of the info. It is the last thing I want to do to be complete google free.

You can count me as 1. The only Google service I’m using is Calendar and only because my employer requests it, google search from time to time when I need ambiguous search result (“the movie with woman in red dress on poster”).

Not one post though as it was growing in me.

Just jumping on as another agreeing on this — it built up in me over time until eventually I decided to go all-in and removed Google entirely.

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 never used any of Goggle services, for privacy reasons, just as I never had a Facebook account. Until Android came around. This one is really hard to evade, unless you want an iPhone, which is an even greater evil.

The first thing is asking if people continue to invest their time in new Google products.

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

I've started switching to u2f as my main method of authentication and 3rd party password manager instead of google's chrome one.

Those might be small steps, but the thoughts of google closing my account are filling me with genuine terror.

That’s true, but I’ve noticed a significant drop in interest for any new Google products. It may not affect their bottom line, but the hype that led to waiting lists for Google Wave or rapid trial adoption of G+ is over.

I became aware of the evil and set reminders in order to spend one hour every Saturday to google-detox. I think I will be completely degoogled in a couple of weeks.

I switched from Google to duck duck go. Switching other products is a little bit trickier.

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.

When mentioning alternatives to Google search, 99% of people suggest DDG. But there are lot of good alternatives now, Qwant, SearX for example.

Your browser can also do the universal search bar: https://blog.mojeek.com/2020/11/popping-your-filter-bubble-w...

I use gmail (my own domain) and use their search occasionally. I am aiming not to be using gmail by the new year (think I may opt for Fastmail) and only use G search as a last resort.

I try to but find the search features just aren't that great with DuckDuckGo or whatever so end up crawling back :(

I did completely move over to Firefox and change email providers though.

I use Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and Hey (email).

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.

Regardless of Google shenanigans, cutting youtube off your life is a pretty good move (as well as reddit, twitter and the like).

Yup. Wise words.

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.

I still use FB and twitter, and trying to use Parler a bit more.. there isn't nearly the engagement on Parler. As to FB and Twitter, I'm on it FAR less than in the past.

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.

I've found YouTube to be extremely valuable for eductional/informational content that I wouldn't have otherwise had access to.

Ditching YouTube would be a massive net negative for me.

These discussions are why I use Firefox and Searx[1].

[1] https://github.com/searx/searx

Or rather who went all-in on Google only to de-Google now. I would struggle to de-Google myself since I have been trying to stay away from Google for a long time already.

I'm getting there, plus old enough that FB and twitter never made any impression. Google apps is hard to cut off when you have school age kids though.

> Google apps is hard to cut off when you have school age kids though.

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.

I use a non-Google browser for Facebook, and the browser does web searches in a non-Google search engine.

It worked for me... I've completely de-Googled my life. Every time you read a post like this you learn a few new things.

I stopped using their search engine a year ago. That and YouTube were the only Google products I use (still use YouTube, so....).

I switched to bing a few years ago. Works great. I still use gmail but change emails every few years so dont rely on it.

My strongest argument against google is my inability to function in modern society without feeding their money printer

I de googled around 2 years ago as a result of one of these lockout discussions. So, there’s at least two of us.

I have switched to Firefox successfully, but only at home. I still use Chrome at work for webdev.

I moved to DDG on all devices 2 years ago after an article here on HN.

google is so tightly coupled into my life I don't know how I could. Its not just the search engine, its the tv, the maps, the phone service, the church...

I switched from Chrome! And do DDG too. Baby steps

Seeing Notion ranked so highly makes me wonder what other people do that's so different from me. I try to like it (I was an early paid adopter, and now my company uses it so I must too), but there are so many points of friction that most of my effort is spent fighting it rather than using it.

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.

They seem to have a very active marketing team. There was even a post on HN about "onboarding" onto Notion recently.

From an investor standpoint, a marketing-first, usability-second (third, fourth maybe?) approach is clearly best. All you need to focus on is that next round of funding that pays off the previous round with a nice profit.

Notion powers literally 90% of my business productivity. We use it for todos, project management, kanban, wiki, writing, knowledge base, employee onboarding, and more.

I agree it's slow and the mobile apps are terrible. But I haven't found anything better yet.

I'm not sure how close can it get, but ONLYOFFICE products have been good to me so far. AGLPv3, good docx / xlsx compatibility, free for personal and there are paid business plans.

They use Google Analytics though, boo.

I've seen ONLYOFFICE used on Nextcloud instances and I haven't seen Google Analytics loaded up. Do they provided a cloud/hosted version that has it? But agreed - I was impressed with ONLYOFFICE.

They have lots of different offerings. I looked at personal.onlyoffice.com, their free hosted version for personal usage, and they load Google Analytics not just on the landing page, but when you open a document as well.

Not sure what's your use cases, but I have never encountered any of issues youve mentioned. Never got any delay, everything works smooth. I do use it a lot on desktop and mobile

I agree, to me Notion is not so much about taking notes as it is about presenting nice notes after the fact for showcasing to others (or for personal review). If I need to bang out something quickly, Notion is one of the worst options available.

I'm really glad someone mentioned this. I have stuck happily with Bookmark OS

Agreed. The latency between keypress and result makes it such a pain to use.

Hacker News is incredibly biased against Google. There was recently an informal survey[0] in "Tech Twitter" (i.e. other technical people) regarding opinions about the top tech companies and Google scored second highest overall behind Apple, with something like 85-90% positivity overall across different questions. Facebook, for reference, was something like 35-40%.

[0] https://coda.io/@sriram-krishnan/2020-state-of-the-tech-indu...

Edit: n=3017, 93% are in tech industry.

Or perhaps those on your twitter are incredibly biased towards Google? Twitter is repeatedly presented as a general sentiment test, yet this is just not true.

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.

Those twitter results seem in line with the general population.

Approval ratings by brand:

Amazon: 91%

Google: 90%

YouTube: 90%

Netflix: 89%

Microsoft: 89%

Sonos: 86%

Apple: 81%

Slack: 78%

Instagram: 72%

Facebook: 71%

Twitter: 61%

The reality is that these are very popular companies.


That's a vox media survey weight heavy towards vox readers.

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"

This is incorrect. The survey was conducted in December with 1,123 people, nationally representative of the US. The sample error is ± 3 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

This is so obvious it's painful. People obviously trust google, otherwise they wouldn't be switching their emails to google, doing all their private searching on google.

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.

Vox isn't a reliable source for this sort of thing.

There are research companies and financial publications that do a more thorough, and reputable, job.

This was commissioned by The Verge and conducted by an outside polling firm. The survey was conducted in December with 1,123 people, nationally representative of the US. The sample error is ± 3 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Feel free to link another survey, this was just the most recent one I could find. There are similar results from surveys in 2017 and 2018.

The biggest anti-Google sentiment on this site is always that they keep shutting down services, but the entire reason they do so is that those services were never popular among "normal" users. Such users also care a lot less about online privacy and data sharing.

Yeah, "Tech Twitter" is just whoever follows the guy who made the survey and whoever follows them who saw the retweets. The idea that this survey is anything serious is ridiculous.

I think I was pretty clear that it is an informal survey. With that said, I don't see how that survey data is any more biased one way or another than Hacker News, which was my initial assertion. I didn't make a statement that Twitter is correct and Hacker News is wrong, just that whatever OP perceives to be reality here is far from the case elsewhere.

The universal experience is that Hacker News is incredibly biased against whatever you happen to favor.


Agree as a rule and even in this particular case, but I think the Hacker News sentiment is closer to the sentiment elsewhere for companies like Facebook and Uber. I do not favor Facebook at all, for example, but defend them equally in instances where I would defend others. I do favor Uber (or at least tech-enabled ride sharing companies in general) but think the common criticism here is warranted even though I do not feel nearly as strongly one way or another. It's a mixed bag.

Edit: Why was my GP moved to top level? It made much more sense as a response to the comment questioning the true sentiment.

>93% are in tech industry.

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

Did you actually look at the data? Quite a few of the big companies received very negative opinions, much more negative than I would have blindly guessed.

Vast majority of people on Hacker News also draw paychecks from these companies or similar and the sentiment is vastly different.

I don't know, I work in tech and I think FB,G,etc are pretty nasty. While they may have started out as a net-positve, I think the results are now a net-negative from advertising and/or social media centric companies. Apple maybe making us pay premiums for everything it sells, but I still think that's at least one or two tiers below the levels of evil from the others.

Yes, this is mostly HN crowd or very specifically HN crowd last couple of years. Something happened at that time period, after that I have noticed HN became less insightful, less interesting and typical internet beating-the-dead-horse conversation. Every single day there would be at least few articles against Google. Even the articles that are not related to Google, people bring up Google and then start the whole beating-the-dead-horse charade again.

I noticed that around the time the old press started pushing out articles against Google because it was threatening their livelihood. That made sense. However, the general sentiment seems to have changed in the meantime. Have the HN demographics changed? Or just people's opinions? Or just they got older?

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?

Common people have not the time to de-google, nor the interest. Privacy is only a techies concern.

The objective reality exists and there are legitimate reasons for people wanting to have nothing to do with this company. Not everything is a bias.

I (Xoogler) personally don't think Google is as evil as they color it. But the risk of The Algorithm locking me out on a whim is definitely scary. That's why I'm following more of a "have a backup plan" strategy: mostly just making sure I have copies of all I care about in other places. Gmail, Drive, Photos, etc. Sure, changing workflows and stuff would be painful, but not as much as all that PLUS losing all my data.

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.

Saw the alternatives to Google Sheets, clicked on Coda wanting to learn more and guess what I got?

            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]

> "You can also sign up with your email or SSO."


Yeah I found it funny that most of the linked sites had "Download the app from the google play store" at the top of their page.

The issue here is ecosystem. Googles advantage is everything syncs together across there platform seamlessly. Going the no google routes fragments my ability to share photos, share docs and sheets, access easily across platforms.The trade off is being locked out and tracking (which you can limit in privacy settings).

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

We need open ecosystems then. When I started using a Sandstorm server, it became a method I could share access to things from all sorts of applications through a single interface... but all of the apps and the platform itself are open source.

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.

First I've heard of Sandstorm[0]. Very interesting, I need to give this a try soon.

0: sandstorm.io

I use Google Workplace, less friction for getting things done.

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.

Google's making it harder for me to share photos nowadays. Instead of just sending the picture, it sends a link to a website with the photo

Install SolidExplorer or similar, share the photo, select SolidExplorer (or any other file explorer) and it's downloaded. From there you can share it anywhere else. It's one more step in the middle though - and it's the reason why I have migrated all of my photos away from Google and to a RPi4 with NextCloud and 7 TB hd.

Limiting tracking with google is performative, as they still retain and use all of your data within their system to continue to 'improve our results' (generate revenue).

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.

This is a great compilation, but it sort of misses the point. The problem isn't that Google owns all of the services we use. It's that someone owns them and even if you switch to a handful of independent services (which is a worse UX), someone else is snooping on you. Google's value proposition is that if you're inside the Google family of services, each service is made better due to having a unified analytics and user profiling. This is a double-edged sword:

  1. A single service has full visibility into your habits
  2. The upper bound for the efficacy of each service is higher.
Is this worth it to you? That's the question you should be asking yourself.

Related discussion and the biggest counterpoint. If Google disconnects you, you are disconnected from all services. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24965432

I had to read this comment multiple times because I assumed that "a single service has full visibility into your habits" was obviously an extreme negative compared to many services each having visibility into some of your habits.

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.

To be fair, many of the alternatives are privacy focused and data collection is more likely to be anonymised.

Honestly, for me, the hardest one to replace is YouTube. I think the best I can do is to create an account specifically for it + use firefox containers.

I think there is also a difference between lock in and just using a service. If your primary email is Gmail, it's hard to switch and it's worse than YouTube. With YouTube, if Google decides to lock you out, you can more easily move to PeerTube or another service. I also recommend that if you create content for YouTube, you also upload it elsewhere.

Switching from gmail and forwarding to your new address sounds easy unless you insist on deleting it and changing every account referencing the old email.

Forwarding to a new address doesn’t solve the whole Google problem, as GMail still stores and processes all your emails.

Your final point is the pertinent one. Without content elsewhere that is interesting and easy to find, there will be no alternatives.

YouTube UX has gotten really bad. I don’t know where to start. Auto continue eg or the fact that you can’t continue watching in the background on your smartphone unless you pay.

But I agree it can’t be replaced currently

The broken back button has to be the worst thing on the YouTube UXthough jumping video ads out of the comments section is also a huge pain though I can see how it's more profitable

Background watching has suddenly started working for me on Firefox on Android recently.

Do you post content there or just subscribe and/or comment? If just sub/comment, you can use an RSS reader to "subscribe" to channels and give up commenting.

Same, I'm rid of Google except for Youtube. There are just too many creators I follow there that I really enjoy to give it up. A few upload their videos to Patreon (usually for early access) and I think if I ever manage to ditch Youtube that is how it's going to happen.

mpv + youtube-dl and RSS as replacement for subscriptions.

I personally ponder the idea of de-FAANGing my life as much as possible. There's something distasteful about these very small number of global companies shaping so much of our human condition.

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.

The title says "Privacy friendly alternatives that don't track you":

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

Google authenticator is an interesting one given that it literally doesn't use your Google accounts at all (no sync or anything) while Authy has a recovery process for retrieving access to your 2fa secrets if you lose your phone.

Take it as evidence of how difficult it is to avoid Google and continue to function on the web. I use weather.gov.

a lot of the companies listed use google analytics on the exact page being linked

arXiv as an alternative to Google Scholar is a bit misleading, since

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).

I'd suggest Semantic Scholar (https://www.semanticscholar.org/) as an alternative to Google Scholar. It's maintained by the nonprofit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and has many useful features (both metrics based and more interesting things like tracing idea influence).

Yeah, it's kind of silly really. Google scholar feeds off the arxiv.

I've found this list generally useful along the very same lines: https://degoogle.jmoore.dev/

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