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What I Use Instead of Google (kiramclean.com)
294 points by kmclean on Jan 6, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 208 comments

Google's gotten weird. Yesterday I was doing some keyword planning and got a negative (-) cpc and cost. I looked everywhere to try to determine what that meant and didn't find anything.

They have online chat support, so I tried that. I got routed to a sales rep who called me on the phone and who, after taking all my information while basically ignoring my question, finally heard me. She didn't know the answer.

She sent me a support link which was the same one that routed me to her. I told her this and all she could say was she was sorry and she couldn't help unless I was ready to launch a campaign.

I honestly don't think she knew anything. I'm suspicious that these are indy workers getting routed prospects by Google. I don't know. The whole thing was sleazy.

Years ago when I managed to get someone on the line she stayed with me until my problem was solved. And this wasn't even a problem (or maybe it was? wouldn't be the first bug I found on their site). I was just asking a question.

I planned a google ad campaign with a 200 TOTAL budget. A google representative helped me setting up the account, after 4 days she calls me back and said that my ad is doing very well, And it’s already holding at 800$. Till now google didn’t give me back my money with claiming that I don’t have prof. They are not willing to listen to there own phone systems recording’s because they know that I’m right. So basically WE ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER WE ARE THE PRODUCT

How's the legality of recording a call if the other party does that as well?

In a lot of places it is legal to record a call as long as one of the parties (that is yourself) is in on it.

That is, you can't record a call between two other people but you can always record a call that yourself are participating in.

Careful with this one. In the US, while most states "one party notification states" and operate as you describe:

> Eleven (11) states require the consent of everybody involved in a conversation or phone call before the conversation can be recorded. Those states are: California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.[0]

Recording without all parties' permission in these states is at least a misdemeanor.


I would think that the employees are aware their calls are being recorded if the company announced that to me beforehand. That should be permission enough for me to record the call as well.

If there's a message that says "This call may be recorded..." then I would consider that to be adequate consent for either party to record the call, not just 1 party.


> Maps → Apple maps

If Apple were a different company, it would've made maps available for use on web browsers and non-Apple devices. That could also help in a more rapid improvement of maps as opposed to the mostly-useless state it's been in (except for a few countries and regions in certain countries that Apple likes and works more on).

> and still a little YouTube (anonymously in a Firefox container)

If a Firefox Container is an option, then I'd rather prefer Startpage to DDG for search. Most of the time, I end up performing the search on DDG at least twice (the second time with a bang command to go to Startpage or Google) or I have a heuristic that DDG won't help and just go to the other search engines.

> DNS → Cloudflare DNS

Others to consider are Quad9 ( and NextDNS (if you want ad and tracker blocking lists to be configured at the DNS level, sorta like a Pi-Hole, but on the cloud).

> I feel like I've won a lot by doing all this. I own my data now, so Google can't arbitrarily take it away from me, which gives me peace of mind. I'm no longer part of their ad ecosystem, being tracked all around the internet and having my attention sold to the highest bidder.

The "Google can't arbitrarily take it away" is a good argument, but "I'm no longer part of their ad ecosystem, being tracked all around the internet" requires a lot more effort than just avoiding using google.com, youtube.com, gmail.com, etc. I'm not saying that the current transitions are useless, but that there's more to it.

> If Apple were a different company, it would've made maps available for use on web browsers and non-Apple devices. That could also help in a more rapid improvement of maps as opposed to the mostly-useless state it's been in (except for a few countries and regions in certain countries that Apple likes and works more on).

Try https://satellites.pro/plan/world_map# - you can switch between Apple Maps, OSM, Mapbox, Google Maps, Yandex and Esri

I wonder how they do that, that doesn't look like a use case that Apple is OK with.

But anyway, I didn't realise how bad Apple Maps was. It's miles away from OSM and even from Google Maps, at least in the places I looked up in France (so not like in remote areas of Mali or the Amazon forest).

It's pretty shocking. I checked near some Apple commuter stations (where they presumably have employees living and actively using the service / have access to good data) and noticed it was missing entire parks and roads.

The situation on other countries is much worse though. Some countries are missing entire islands. In Mongolia, they don't have province (aimag) borders, and some provinces are even missing labels for their capitals! Worse, there's sparse recognition of district (sum) labels, but some of them seem to have recognized the sum centers as distinct towns, butchered the transliteration, and then marked them before the aimag capital, as happened with "Hovsgol" (Khövsgöl), Dornogovi.

Startpage is now owned by System1. It’s an Adtech company. I personally know some people who work/worked there and they do not recommend using Startpage for privacy reasons anymore.

I understand this, yet recently switched to startpage anyway due to massive captcha fatigue... Startpage will block you occasionally if you search at too high frequency, but it never gives captcha and blocks way way less than google presents captcha. Captcha has gradually rendered Google completely unusable to me due to being stuck on mobile internet or public wifi+VPN... both of which causes continuous captcha unless you allow them to track you... it's basically a ransom - let us track you or no search for you.

I like DDG, but for many things it's still not good enough.

> The "Google can't arbitrarily take it away" is a good argument, but "I'm no longer part of their ad ecosystem, being tracked all around the internet" requires a lot more effort than just avoiding using google.com, youtube.com, gmail.com, etc. I'm not saying that the current transitions are useless, but that there's more to it.

This becomes much easier with uMatrix + uBlock Origin extensions for Firefox!

Apple Maps is available on the web, DDG uses it for it's own maps

I was going to mention this too. However, to be fair to the parent commenter, Apple Maps on the web is only a recent development, it lacks a ton of the features of Google Maps on the web, and its world-wide coverage isn’t great. There’s also the fact that there’s no direct web interface for it, so if you were going to tell someone using a browser to “just use Apple Maps”, they would have to jump through some mental hoops to find a way to do that.

All that said, I’m optimistic and hope they move in that direction.

It looks like their only price tier is "free with your Apple Developer subscription" or "contact us"—I wonder if their terms allow you to use it with e.g. Mapbox GL JS 1, which is much better than MapKit JS.

Where? I went to https://www.apple.com/maps/ and clicked "Open Maps" but that just brings me straight back to that same page with no map in sight, just a lot of pictures of idevices.

“DDG” in the parent comment refers to DuckDuckGo, for example https://duckduckgo.com/?q=New+York%2C+United+States&t=iphone...

Yes I know what DuckDuckGo is. The comment also said:

> Apple Maps is available on the web

They're probably referring to https://developer.apple.com/documentation/mapkitjs which is what powers the DDG integration.

Anyway it is the case that the only way to browse Apple Maps via the web (AFAICT) is via an integration like DDG: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-use-apple-maps-right-in...

So yeah saying it is available on the web feels a bit disingenuous, but it is, kind of, indirectly.

Ah, that is bizarre. But I've never understood Apple. Thanks for explaining.

> requires a lot more effort than just avoiding using google.com, youtube.com, gmail.com, etc.

Yeah this is fair! I don't want to give the impression that this is all it takes to get Google to stop stalking you. But I do think it at least helps. I found a lot of the chatter in the de-googling community to a bit purist and defeatist at times, but maybe I went too far the other way, here. I want to encourage people to do the same without thinking it's all hopeless or doesn't make any impact because Google's gonna get you one way or another, but I also don't want to paint an unrealistic picture, as if this is all it takes to wash our hands of Google's reach.

I updated the post to reflect this.

> If Apple were a different company, it would've made maps available for use on web browsers and non-Apple devices.

I too actually want to use certain software from Apple, I just refuse to use it on Mac as me and the Mac WM keep talking past each other :-)

I finally got around to installing a PiHole, and it blew my mind that the default behavior was to use an upstream resolver. I had never imagined that the countless folks more privacy-oriented than myself, would tolerate this.

After reading up on it, okay, I get that those upstream forwarding resolvers will be faster due to being geographically distributed and having a huge number of users (== very current cache), but man. Seemed to be defeating half the point.

I'm using the supported Unbound config now, but.. still surprised it's not the default.

It's more complicated than that: using unbound is basically trusting your ISP with your DNS data (it's not encrypted so it can MITM). Using an upstream resolver doesn't necessarily mean you give up on privacy.

It may actually be more private to use a public resolver (with DoT or DoH of course) that will know your IP address but maybe not directly tie it to your identity (like an ISP does). Also, imo they generally have better privacy policies than ISPs (not that I trust those but still).

The next more private options include using DNS over Tor or Oblivious DNS (https://blog.cloudflare.com/oblivious-dns/). Those options are better for privacy, but I don't see them are default (at least for now) as they imply some slowness (Tor) or are more opinionated (ODNS).

Even after all that, your browser will leak the SNI header in clear-text (eSNI isn't popular yet) so your ISP can still get the precise name of the site you want to visit.

Thanks, I guess this is a fair point. I'm with Sonic (who I absolutely trust) but currently my fiber is provided by AT&T, who I do NOT. Still waiting for that native fiber.

I guess I'm so used to thinking about this from the the standpoint of building DNS resolvers for business that I didn't think through the differences when it's just my house's traffic.

I'll look into DoH.

I would probably use Apple Maps more if I could download maps for offline use as I can with Google Maps.

I prefer OSMAnd for that. The maps don't expire after 30 days like they do within Google Maps.

For me "offline" doesn't mean "requires network connectivity and mandatory updates within the the next thirty days."

> If Apple were a different company, it would've made maps available for use on web browsers and non-Apple devices. That could also help in a more rapid improvement of maps as opposed to the mostly-useless state it's been in (except for a few countries and regions in certain countries that Apple likes and works more on).

If apple would have done that (for Maps and other services), how would it be different than Google?

Google offers these services for free to the end-user and generates revenue from ads.

Apple is using these services to sell more hardware devices, and generates revenue from there.

> Google offers these services for free to the end-user and generates revenue from ads.

We pay them with our data. It’s an exchange of services.

I never use the DDG results when looking for something. People on here will sometimes say that the results are as good as Google, but it's just not true in my experience. I would switch completely to Startpage, but I value the !bang feature too much. So for general searches, everything is prefaced with !sp. It's just muscle memory now.

I have found runnaroo gives often nice results especially on technical topics. Combining with DDG removed the need to use Google.

When it comes to technology, people prefer one-stop shopping. Google's email, mapping, mobile OS, search, calendars, video, photos are all free and best-of-class or at least good enough to be satisfactory to 80% of the people, who think they're getting a bargain even as they put more and more of their personal information in Google's hands.

It seems as though there's no way to break this voluntary-monopoly. Waze came along with brilliant innovations like BLE devices monitoring traffic in underpasses etc. (my company makes some of the devices they use) and finding best alternative routes, and an innovative UX, so Google simply bought them, problem solved.

There's a whole menagerie of alternatives to Youtube, but they're like ants next to an elephant. And of course, Youtube itself was bought by Google; they've advanced it technically, but it was better in the old days, less censorship and better remuneration for creators.

Like a lot of other techies, I've switched to DDG for searches and I don't really miss Google search. Probably I use !g about once or twice a month.

It seems to me there's lots of opportunities to improve on Google's offerings; Apple seems uninterested in competing head-to-head aside from its mobile phone OS, but there are still innovations out there waiting to be discovered. Perhaps some here will be among those future billionaires, giving us better alternatives to The Goog which in my opinion has gotten a little too big for its britches.

> Apple seems uninterested in competing head-to-head aside from its mobile phone OS,

I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple keep nibbling at Google's software business as it transitions more fully to an added-value services model. Little moves like Apple Music on android, Apple TV+ on Android-based TVs... One could see a similar play occurring with fitness, books, and maybe even maps in the services-centric Apple future.

Moving large numbers of files - like the 50k of Google Photos the author mentions - can be done using https://rclone.org. Set up Google Photos as a source and then use the copy command to move it to a different location[1]. There are a lot of different commands which work with many different cloud storage systems e.g. sync everything one way locally to a backup, mount a FUSE filesystem, do two-way sync, etc.

[1] https://rclone.org/commands/rclone_copy/

Beware that using rclone with google photos may result in lower quality images and missing metadata. Below is taken from the rclone website:


Downloading Images

When Images are downloaded this strips EXIF location (according to the docs and my tests). This is a limitation of the Google Photos API and is covered by bug #112096115.

The current google API does not allow photos to be downloaded at original resolution. This is very important if you are, for example, relying on "Google Photos" as a backup of your photos. You will not be able to use rclone to redownload original images. You could use 'google takeout' to recover the original photos as a last resort Downloading Videos

When videos are downloaded they are downloaded in a really compressed version of the video compared to downloading it via the Google Photos web interface. This is covered by bug #113672044.

Source: https://rclone.org/googlephotos/#limitations

If you want to save Google Photos, use Google Takeout to download it. It allowed you to download all of your google-related-data, including photos.

As others have said Google Photos backup via RClone has some caveats, mainly not downloading at original quality. Google Takeout does solve this but but in weird hierarchies.

I stumbled on a new project which simulates a browser download using a headless Chrome Developer tools session[0]. Looks interesting, supports continuation and can be ran on a cron job. Worth a look.

[0] https://github.com/perkeep/gphotos-cdp

Also, see Jake Wharton's Docker GPhotos Sync [0] for a containerized version of this tool. Unfortunately, this method seems to be the easiest way to automate a backup at full quality.

[0] https://github.com/JakeWharton/docker-gphotos-sync

> Google Takeout does solve this but but in weird hierarchies.

Surprisingly, the Takeout split archives can contain partial contents for a given folder or album. If you extract everything into a single merged root, you'll see both the sidecars and images in the same directory.

If you're on macOS or Linux, you can do this by mounting the tarballs with ratarmount and skip the extraction step. Details and links here: https://forum.photostructure.com/t/archive-file-format-compr...

I've been looking for something like sync.com but free and opensource. Does such a thing exist?

I'm planning on setting up my own nextcloud server, and they also have their own file manager system (Nextcloud Files), which is great for keeping files in sync across devices.

And although it's nice to edit a text file that's stored on a cloud server from any of your devices, I want to be able to use more powerful desktop applications to edit/organize other files. e.g. beets for music, digikam for bulk organizing the directory structure of my photos. Darktable for editing photos.

Does anyone know of a workflow that lets me do all the organizing/editing on a desktop, but still keep it all in sync with my other devices via a cloud server?

If you're just looking for personal sync (as opposed to collaboration), Syncthing [1] is a common recommendation, though personally I've had better luck with Unison [2].

[1] https://syncthing.net

[2] https://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/

Could you please expand on why or how you had better luck with Unison and why syncthing wasn't adequate?

Thanks, I already use syncthing for some stuff, and it's great.

However I should clarify: One of the reasons I want to move my data to a cloud server is that I am running out of space for more hard drives on my PC.

So syncthing will work for editing stuff on my local and syncing the changes with my cloud server. But I don't want to store all my data on cloud _and_ on my local PC. I want something where it is usually stored on the cloud server, but where I can bulk edit/organize the data selectively on my local machine.

I use OneDrive for work. The desktop app has "Files-On-Demand" (enabled by default). It keeps everything in the cloud until you click on a file. Then it downloads a local copy and keeps it in sync with the cloud. You can also manually designate files to "Always keep on this device" or "Free up space". You can take space saving even further with Storage Sense in Windows 10. It can delete local copies of files that haven't been used for a designated amount of time (Never by default).

Is Microsoft better than Google? Probably not. I don't know of any open source or self hosted solution this robust. You might want to consider getting a NAS; which lets you mount a network share on your local PC and use your normal file manager.

I've been looking for something similar too. I've no experience with either, but currently eyeing Seafile https://www.seafile.com/en/home/ or OwnCloud https://owncloud.com. OwnCloud seems perfect, but quite pricey for a cloud-provided instance. Seafile looks good, but there's no cloud provided option unfortunately (i'd rather not self-host).

Do you have local (non-cloud) backups? If yes, that's great, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend a cloud-only (or a single backup) approach to storing important data.

I currently have backups on some external drives.

But I plan on also doing backups with blackblaze or somewhere similar.

My plan for the cloud server is just to have a central place to access all my (and my wife's) files from any device. But then my problem is, as I mentioned earlier, how do I bulk edit/organize those files using desktop software?

It feels like you're looking for something like git-annex (https://git-annex.branchable.com/). I've never used it but read a bit about it, here's how you would use it:

- Install git-annex on your cloud

- Tell git-annex that you have a remote there

- Do your stuff on your local drive, push to the cloud when it's done

- If some of the files are not needed locally, tell git-annex to drop them from your local drive. git-annex knows that there is another copy in a safe storage

- If you want to work on some files you don't have, ask git-annex to transfer them to you.

The manual steps might be a bit tedious, so git-annex also has an assistant mode that is a good-enough copy of dropbox (https://git-annex.branchable.com/assistant/). See the archival walkthrough, that seems to fit your use case (https://git-annex.branchable.com/assistant/)

(I have more or less the same need, but haven't committed to doing it just yet)

Thanks, I'll look into it.

This might just work, thanks.

I use your workflow - but back (some of) my data up in O365. On linux, I use insync (closed source) to sync my O365 as needed. Insync allows me to select (within a folder) what sub-folders to mirror. It's pretty perfect.

An extra degoogling

Google Keep -> Joplin (https://joplinapp.org/)

I tried a lot of note taking apps and liked this one for its simplicity (just markdown) and cross platform support. Then just store sync it all either via boxcryptor or nextcloud.

Thanks for the suggestion, I have been looking for a good note-taking app forever, this looks interesting!

is there a way to import all my google keep notes ?

Personally, I went from Google Keep to Standard Notes to NextCloud Notes, but the process is similar to go from Standard Notes to Joplin.

There's instructions for how to transfer from Google Keep to Standard Notes here[1]. Then, export from Standard Notes via a "Decrypted" data archive[2], extract the plain text files from the resulting archive (I don't recall the exact path), rename them all from .txt to .md using zmv or a similar pattern-based file renaming program, and import them to Joplin as-is[3].

You'll lose formatting, unfortunately, and probably other things like attachments and checkboxes -- I'm not entirely sure, as I didn't use any of the more advanced features of Google Keep.

There's also instructions to go from Standard Notes to Joplin directly[4], bypassing plain text. That might preserve formatting and such.

Your mileage may vary, as they say.

[1] https://standardnotes.org/help/35/how-can-i-import-my-notes-...

[2] https://www.reddit.com/r/StandardNotes/comments/5sf0id/you_c...

[3] https://joplinapp.org/#importing-from-markdown-files

[4] https://programadorwebvalencia.com/migrate-notes-from-standa...

This is a business opportunity to provide services at a minimal cost for people. Say 1$ per month per service.

Email - 1$

Calendar - 1$

Document Collab - 1$

Each addon a calculated minimalist approach to each. I still recall what gmail was when it was invite only back in the early aughts. I would still utilize that gmail client. I do NOT need gmail as it is today. And I would certainly pay 1$ per month for that service.

(E) For a minimal and basic interface, along with a low cost, I and certainly others that I know who are tech illiterate, would pay that low cost for simplicity + privacy.

Yeah, these customers who care enough about this stuff will also drop you if you make the slightest mistake. And with $3/user/mo you don't have much margin.

You'll get wrecked. But there's good business in it if I'm wrong. So I wish you good luck.

The pricing you're suggesting may not be commercially viable. That there exists paid alternatives today at a higher price point, when being sold as a dedicated service, suggests that anyone providing these services for free is doing so at a loss.

They're likely able to do so because it entrenches their existing profitable businesses. It's unlikely that $12/year per account will be break-even, let alone profitable, as a standalone business.

Mailbox.org offers email, calendar, and some docs/storage functionality for 2.5E/m .

Sounds like there's even a 1 € per month plan [1], with smaller limits.

There's also Tutanota with a €12/year plan, offering a little bit less but with end-to-end encrypted email and calendars.

[1] https://mailbox.org/en/services#e-mail-account [2] https://tutanota.com/pricing/

Fastmail provide email, address book, calendars, and file storage for $3 per user per month:


isn't this basically librem one? https://librem.one

Thanks, I had not heard of this one

The thing this article doesn't cover is that while you can (and imo should) make all these changes, Google will still track much of what you do online.

The internet is rotten with linked media, amp pages, blogs, and ads hosted on Google servers.

If you want off Google, you should use something like Pi-hole to lessen that. Since it's DNS level only, I imagine even that won't make you invisible to Google.

This was a great read, but Google has a million other ways to collect data about you, against your will. That deserves a mention.

Yeah this is a fair point! I found the rhetoric in the de-goggling community to be a bit purist and defeatist at times and I'm more of a "better done than perfect" kind of person, but I also don't want to be unrealistic about Google's reach or suggest this is all it takes to escape it. I updated the post to reflect these thoughts. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

Cheers. I enjoyed reading your post. The amount of research you put into it showed.

Thanks so much!

I try to use Bing for all my searches (set it as the browser default), but at least a third of the time I end up needing to open Google and search there instead. Anyone got any tips for getting better results out of Bing? It doesn't help that when I'm using a VPN, searching for an English term often causes Bing to deliver a bunch of results in the native language of the place the VPN is located, rather than in English.

The quote and plus search operators are your friends for that last third. I don't think Bing tailors its search results as aggressively as Google does, so you sometimes have to be more explicit with domain-specific searches.

If you sign in with a Microsoft Account, Bing does a bit better at guessing which language/locality you want results in, and a few other related things.

Of course, at that point you are just trading opt-out Google tracking for opt-in Bing tracking, and that may defeat some of the reasoning behind why you are using VPN for those searches. I find Bing ads and Bing tracking far less problematic and insidious than Google's, so it's an interesting trade off, for sure. One interesting part of the trade off that Google doesn't match (neither opt-out nor opt-in tracking) is "Microsoft Rewards" where Bing gives you a small cut of tracked ad fees in "rewards points" (like credit card/frequent flyer "mileage" programs) that you can redeem for things like gift cards. Sure, it's a cynical loyalty grab, but at least for me it shows that Microsoft still prefers to be a product company at the end of the day and is a little less likely to fall into the evil opt-out only panopticon tracking ad direction that Google has. Obviously other people's opinions vary, and many are loathe to trust Microsoft, but it's an interesting trade-off to be aware of.

Makes sense to try duckduckgo or startpage? My Bing using experience was extremely bad for all non-tech, maybe except sport.

> My Bing using experience was extremely bad for all non-tech

Do you mean it's good for tech searches? That would be good news, because those are pretty much the only searches DDG uniformly performs badly on, for me - the only searches where I know that a `!g` would improve the results significantly. Perhaps it should be a `!b` instead now, I'll try it out.

> Do you mean it's good for tech searches?

Not good as Google, but definitely better than DDG. Try it, don't wanna give you high expectations.

I have the same bad experience with DDG and it is so slow. I found Bing relatively better and it is constantly improving with new features.

Maybe 2021 will be the year when I give Bing a real chance?

(I was simultaneously deeply impressed and worried last year when a colleague of mine showed that Bing also returns results from company intranets if they are set up correctly and you are signed in to Bing with your work account.)

DDG can be localised to a country in a drop-down menu on the left above the results.

Every time I try to get out of google they (my colleagues) pull me back in. They share documents in google docs and google drive. I have no choice but to keep my google account.

Firefox Containers are extremely helpful in this regard. I put off using them for a long time because i thought it would be a hassle but it’s super easy and keeps your work-related google activity segregated from the rest of your digital life. It also helps a lot with switching between google accounts; before I used containers I was constantly fighting with Google’s account switcher, which more often than not just straight-up didn’t work (it would either act like I had switched accounts but I hadn’t, or it would put me into a sort of endless “which account do you want to use / enter your password” loop.

It's been really interesting to see the shift in ads and other things across the entire web when I forced all of my Google interactions to non-default containers. The amount of painful ReCaptcha interactions I've had has gone way up, but getting rid of a lot of the low quality "personalized" ads generally seems worth it.

It was most useful for cleaning up the horror show that is YouTube recommendations if random YouTube videos from searches and chat recommendations don't get tracked to my logged in account. There's still a ton of noise in the recommendations engine and I will never trust auto-play again, but I'm having to block and/or report fewer channels and I don't automatically shudder just seeing the recommendations column show up above the fold anymore (though I still tend to prefer browser widths that drop recommendations below the video I'm watching because what a waste of space that is).

> The amount of painful ReCaptcha interactions

I've found that clicking the Headphone icon and transcribing the few words makes this a much less annoying experience (especially as a non-American [1]). It also seems more forgiving of errors, though the audio is pretty clear anyway.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25226805

I have resorted to that more than once at this point. I consider that part of the "painful" as I may not always have speakers at the ready and/or at certain times of day feel a need to take the time to plugin headphones so as not to bother neighbors/etc. I also suspect given how many bots have moved on to using that themselves that those are going to get nastier and worse "soon" too.

Keeping Google as a secondary/special purpose account should be fine. I would personally consider that as “already gotten out of Google”.

I personnally see work-related accounts as not mine. I'm in the process of de-googling myself, but I don't mind my company still using it that much because in the end it's not mine, and they actually have read and agreed with the Terms of Use. None of my personal info is reachable from my work email.

You can create a "Google account" using a non-Google e-mail address. You still have access to all their services but you don't have to use them for anything other than accessing documents.

"I'm sorry, I don't have a Google account (anymore?). Could you share it in a different way?"

I have seen this work more than once.

Would they accept you using a work-related Google account?

I always make a “work” google account if the company isn’t already using GSuite.

Never use my own Gmail account for work. Or my own FB account for that matter!

I don’t need FB locking my account as it’s connected to some clients dodgy FB ads :-/

They don’t mind which gmail account I use. I work at a university so we don’t have gsuite. I guess it’s a good idea to use a separate account for this but I don’t want to create yet another google account.

> I suspect means it [DDG] would be a perfectly fine replacement for most people

I suspect otherwise. DDG is as good as Google in certain topics, especially programming-related topics. But otherwise, not so good. Sometimes, it feels like it simply has indexed less pages than Google.

But I still use DDG as much as possible, only !g when the results are unsatisfactory. I don't know how much it actually help DDG, though, since it doesn't seem to get much better over the past few years.

My experience is that DDG still isn't as good as Google historically was, but Google itself has actually gotten worse, to the point that they're now about the same.

The main problem seems to be that Google will no longer surface anything that isn't on a major site, so even when you know that the thing you're looking for exists, it can't find it. Obviously this also implies that it's missing a ton of stuff you didn't know existed but would have wanted to see.

Yeah I agree.. DDG has limitations, but I find the first 2 pages of Google are almost entirely ads now (either literal paid ads or posts full of ads and affiliate links). The whole SEO racket has incentivized all the wrong kinds of optimization.

That's what I noticed as well. I didn't switch over to DDG because it was better, I did because Google just got much worse and so cluttered with ads and knowledge blocks that were wrong more often than not.

> Google will no longer surface anything that isn't on a major site

I like this search engine very much. It has all the "alternative" stuff.


Wow, it's amazing how fast a website can be without 2MB of silly Javascript frameworks. I did a search for "Weather" and got a result for my local weather in ASCII form. This is right up my alley.

As has been mentioned many times, the problem (if you want to call it that) with DDG is that it does not personally tailor results. Google is great at deciphering what I mean because it has data on me. DDG doesn't have this data, so how I search needed to be tweaked. I rarely have need for the g! anymore.

For me, the non-tailoring is a massive benefit because it doesn't try and guess at what I mean. When I search for "Python" I get snakes and language documentation. Having to be more specific about what I want isn't a great burden when it means I can actually find what I actually want, not what the search engine is guessing I want.

I'm genuinely curious about this and would like to use Google search less than I do now...

Would you mind sharing a few tips (or pointing me in the direction of some tips) for better DDG searches?

I love the concept and philosophy of DDG but the search results I get could definitely be better!

It’s hard to describe. For example, I keep in mind that DDG does not know I’m a programmer. So, I have to phrase queries with that in mind.

DDG also has a lot of ! shortcuts, not just google.

Even has a hacker news hn! shortcut.

> DDG is as good as Google in certain topics, especially programming-related topics. But otherwise, not so good.

Interesting, my experience is exactly the opposite (as I mentioned in another comment here). In general searches, DDG and Google return about equally good results, with 10% of the time DDG doing better and 10% of the time Google doing better. With programming-related searches, Google is pretty much guaranteed to return better results for me. Doing the Advent of Code 2020 was the first time in months that I had to consistently do `!g` re-searches, because DDG results were significantly worse.

Localisation as well. DDG lets me pick the UK but almost all results are US centric.

IMO, their general results are close enough my preference for DDG’s UI is a major factor. Where Google wins is better parsing of math and conversions. ex: “37 * 5 gallons in liters”

We’re trying to build a competitor to Google ads, targeted at developers: https://www.ethicalads.io/

As developers we understand the most how privacy is violated across the Internet. If we can’t contribute to the change in the ecosystem, we don’t have much hope for the rest of the industry.

As an aside: As more and more techies repeatedly fail to decouple their digital belongings from Google‘s infrastructure, it should become clear how strong the lock-in effect of cloud services is in general and in particular their proper UX.

EG.: one of gmails main selling points always was the „available anywhere“ web interface and its quick, and useful search.

I did something similar a few weeks ago and found that https://rclone.org/ worked for me to automatically port Google Photos data to a Nextcloud instance with WebDAV. That being said, it cannot pull the original quality images, only the compressed version.

Perkeep devs built a tool to grab the originals: https://github.com/perkeep/gphotos-cdp#gphotos-cdp

I'm afraid Google will lock me out of my account if I use anything like this?


In addition to their always valid "because we can" this would also add another: revenge.

But are there any reports of people who use this getting locked out of their account? That would make me very leery as well. Otherwise, I wouldn't personally be worried, especially as the goal is to get off Google in the first place.

Here is a similar write up on how to exit google


Recommendations for good, helpful, non-toxic tools: https://goodreports.com/

Problem is on the phone side. There is a duopoly; Apple or Google. Neither is great. We should be able to have control over this, as it is increasingly being the way in which the majority of the public have access to their information (photos, docs, etc).

Same on the desktop we have MS, Apple.

Yes Linux (variations) are available on both, more so on desktop, but not a real possibility for most consumes.

> GoogleDNS -> CloudflareDNS

It's better for sure, just from trying a couple (OpenDns, cloudflare, quad9) I really love the offering from nextDNS


It somewhat smashes together the features of pi-hole and opendns with the features like DoT or DoH as you get in cloudflare

Seconding NextDNS, it’s well worth the price for the features and privacy. And not having to administer a piHole, which was always slightly unstable for me.

Your list neglects a huge data vacuum, scooping up your personal data: the Android OS on your phone, which Google develops. My recommendation to replace: eOS by the eFoundation (https://e.foundation/)

Chapeau, good move. Your honesty is impressive.

IMO paying money and thus enabling humane businesses to thrive is key.

If you have to use Chrome for selenium; use a docker container https://hub.docker.com/r/selenium/standalone-chrome

That's a good idea! I hadn't thought about using docker.

Instead of Google Analytics look at Matomo. Since you are self-hosting Nextcloud, standing up a self-hosted Matomo instance won't be difficult. https://matomo.org

I'm all for getting out of the cloud, but moving from one company, to multiple other companies seems to have achieved nothing but diversify and multiply the amount of terms you've had to agree to (they will all tell you the same thing in the end: if they block your account, or lose your data, it's your problem).

The only real solution is self-hosting[1], which is becoming a bit difficult with email these days.

[1] No, a rented server in some datacenter is not self-hosting, self-hosting is when you can walk into a room and point to the box that stores your mail.

I have wasted a lot of breath trying to convince people that the right way to go is to have one physical data center, and put all redundancy and edge networking in the cloud.

One of my fears is that as soon as you outsource hardware maintenance, then employees who were good at this sort of thing lose much of their value, either in their own head, or in the group consensus. They start to wander off to work for other companies, and you quickly lose critical mass. Once that happens, the quality of advice you get for architectural proposals degrades, and your number of stupid design mistakes notches up considerably.

These people also provide a lot of your 'informed consumer' qualities. They can explain why you shouldn't have to pay $1000 a month for a service.

I've seen this play out a couple of times. It's too slow to be called a train wreck. It's like watching erosion take out beautiful house. You can enjoy it for a while, but eventually it starts to sag and then fall apart. Slowly at first and then all at once.

> a rented server in some datacenter is not self-hosting

It is though. Don't be elitist.

yeah, I guess I've been elite since I was 14 years old and put my pentium 90 online as a server.. it's entirely doable, there are two million guides for doing lots of stuff more ambitious on a raspberry pi, and that'd even be plenty of power for many uses.

Not elite, but elitist. Yes, running your own hardware is easy. It also sucks, and you will have poor network performance compared to a datacenter.

This is ultimately what I ended up doing, with one caveat: I have mailinabox running on a VPS in a local datacenter.

If my ISP wasn’t so aggressive with sending mail, I would’ve just self hosted on my own computer.

However, mailinabox also comes with nextcloud, and it works out of the box with exchange activesync, allowing me to basically mimic gmail’s syncing of calendar/contacts/etc. I made the switch about a year ago, it took registering two domains (one for the actual mail server and one for <lastname>.com) and paying for the VPS, plus all the overhead of initial configuration, but it has been smooth sailing since. My email is happily firstname@lastname.com to the public and private@mailserver.tld for private stuff- it even supports the firstne+string@lastname.com.

At the end of the day, this is probably the best someone can reasonably do. Then it’s just ddg and Apple Maps.

The fact you were able to register your lastname as a dotcom is incredibly fortunate, especially if that was a recent registration. Mine has been a marketing agency since 1995.

I ran my own business email for a while in a DigitalOcean VPS, but it was a huge pain. I did it all by hand though, I should give mailinabox a try.

I've just set up a mail server with the same stack as mailinabox (with a few minor differences, since I didn't care for the web-screens, self-hosted DNS and the fact that my residential ISP offers a static IP service).

If you do give it a try, I would personally simplify the set-up. If you're comfortable with some downtime you can get away with running just Postfix, Dovecot (with some secondary services) and delegating to the OS for user management. All of them come with systemd services so it isn't too bad to manage.

I got lastnamefarm.com there are plenty of variations on that theme to go around. My last name is common enough that if I had thought to get it in 1993 I would have sold it by now anyway.

Is getting your mail sent from your own e-mail server past the GMail and Outlook spam filters trivial? I always hear about the aggressive spam filters that these providers have which makes it hard to set up your own server. Not saying it's not possible, but I am assuming it is somewhat difficult to set up and their is probably some maintenance that goes along with it. So much so that paying for a provider makes sense. As long as my subscription is the only revenue stream, I see no issue with using a "cloud service" to run email for my custom domain.

I'm willing to be the other services have similar situations where you might as well just pay someone to do it for you. $160 to not have to maintain a server room seems like a nice deal to me.

no it is not trivial, it's getting harder, and it's partly because we're letting it, by using the option less and less.

> they will all tell you the same thing in the end: if they block your account, or lose your data, it's your problem

Still there's a huge gap between "might do that according to the contract" and "does so on a regular basis and is well known to have no official way to appeal".

There's also a huge gap between the number of proton mail users and gmail accounts, percentage-wise, it'd be interesting to see how many percent of gmail/protonmail users has problems and. I'm sure we will see the most silly examples from gmail, we have to, because they have the most users, and so the greatest chance of hitting strange edge-cases.

And with edge-case, I don't meen technical ones only, but also customer-support ones.. If you've got support for many more people, then more people are going to have a bad experience, and even more likely that someone has a rare (in percent of total experiences) terrible one.

I'm the one entirely against any cloud stuff, I just don't buy the argument that other providers are necessarily better. The bigger you are, the more interactions you do with your clients, the more likely that you will mess it up big-time for some of them.

Down to -1 now, I take that as a clear sign that someone does not want to think too much about just how bad our situation has become :) (or they're trying to sell a SaaS and therefore need me to be wrong), nice :)

It's amazing how this place is called "Hacker" News and downvotes opinions that are not mainstream enough or not corporate-friendly enough.

You are right that self-hosting means that your data sits on your devices, and this should be made possible to most users without having to pay 3rd party services, buy domains, pay for VPSes and learn to manage servers.

(edit: hah, the downvotes are coming already!)

That little downtime recently that in some places looked like Google had deleted my account got me quite a shock and made me re-evaluate my dependence on Google too.

For anyone looking for a simple self-hosted file sync system I'd recommend Seafile though. It has delta sync (like Dropbox) and great performance. I finally switched to it after years of increasing frustration with Nextcloud, which has none of these things.

Moving to Apple Maps is basically stabbing yourself in the face.

OSM would be a better solution.

If only an email service as good as Gmail existed anywhere on this planet :(

Isn't OSM a major data source for Apple Maps?

Edit: I checked, the OSM wiki actually has a page about it [1]

[1] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Apple

> Moving to Apple Maps is basically stabbing yourself in the face.

After doing some basic A/B testing (checking Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps for routing guidance) and establishing that Apple Maps has been giving me earlier arrival times through different routing guidance (and actually delivering on that earlier arrival time, by means of actually using it), I've determined that's less likely to be true, if you're in a city that has been refreshed recently.

Combined with the (potentially anti-competitive) use of private APIs on both the iPhone and Apple Watch, enabling the phone lockscreen to always display routing guidance, and the watch to provide haptic feedback for routing guidance, Apple Maps has become a superior experience as far as driving goes.

This is all if you're already a sucker in their eco-system, and happen to live in a city they care about, which I am.

EDIT: At the same time..

> Moving to Apple Maps is basically stabbing yourself in the face.

If you're taking this from the perspective of moving from one megacorp to another, rather than quality of service, then yes, there's basically no difference here. Apple today is claiming to care, in a similar manner to Google's old mission statement of "dont be evil". Apple have been pretty clear that their interest in your privacy only extends as far as lip service goes, given the lack of E2E encryption on iCloud storage for the majority of your data.

2 decades ago Google was "don't be evil" and here we are today. Where do we think Apple will be in a decade or two from now?

So yes, in that respect, don't stab yourself in the face, and don't use any megacorp products.

We techies like to believe that we can find technical solutions to these problems but I think this is misguided. Even for a very technical user completely untangling yourself from FAANG is a lot of work and a massive inconvenience. And if this kind of privacy is really only available to a small technical elite then how much good is it anyway? Privacy is only really valuable when it's accessible to everyone.

Respect for user privacy is going to have to come from regulation.

> If only an email service as good as Gmail existed anywhere on this planet

Office 365, which is Microsoft Exchange under the hood?

When was the last time you used Apple Maps?

I'm running Amazon WorkMail for $5 a month under my own domain. It's very bare bones but it does what I need.

I use Here WeGo for maps and I'm quite happy with it.

Has anyone compared all the photo alternatives? I need a good place to store my family photos and share with my wife.

Email and search are easy, email is standard so anyone can do the same features more or less. Search has no lock-in so you can just try whatever. Photos doesn't seems to be either, and I don't personally want to invest the time to try them all.

I'm curious about this, too.. I'm trying out a couple of different ones now, but Google photos is pretty hard to beat, especially its semantic searching. Also I know there are loads of them I haven't tried yet.

I will suggest a more balanced and practical approach:

All of Google’s unethical practices are supported by its advertising business, so the only replacement I will consider is the search engine, but even here there are no good alternatives.


Good recommendations. To minimize Youtube tracking, I use the fantastic `youtube-dl` to get the movie (or only audio) locally, then keep it or discard it as the case may be.

As far as I understand, to track users, website use : IP, Cookie/LocalStorage, Fingerprinting.

I wonder if youtube-dl really helps ? It doesn't change the IP, you can refuse/clear cookies in your browser, and for fingerprinting, isn't scraping via youtube-dl make you even more unique among other regular browser users ?

Good question.

A) IP - use a VPN. youtube-dl == browser

B) Cookies - youtube-dl doesn't retain cookies, I presume. youtube-dl >= browser

C) Fingerprinting - good question. I'd hope youtube-dl doesn't offer as many avenues. Can it identify you from one visit to the next? Beats me!

> Maps → Apple maps

HERE Maps is good.

+1 HERE We Go, they also have an app and support the offline maps. Very handy. Basically, Nokia Maps.

Using YouTube with Firefox Containers is in no way anonymous. Instead try to use it with the Tor Browser (also checkout the Invidious project).

No way, Google constantly blocks TOR with tons of their captcha.

That's why I mentioned the Invidious project which is a YouTube frontend. Also solving the ReCaptcha is for most of us not an insurmountable task, it's definitely worth the cost if you want some real privacy.

Re Firefox vs Chrome: On Fedora chrome is unusable with newer video formats, you have to use Firefox. Which is better in all aspects.

> Maps → Apple maps

I can't find Apple maps in the play store. Is there another alternative?

I did something extremely similar: https://mallocate.com/blog/removing-google/

I've checked Linode. Why it's price is much lower than others like AWS, Azure or GCP? Because of some drawback?

It's the other way around, AWS/etc are more expensive. Linode is just a VPS provider, and it's been great for me for the past 6 years. There are cheaper alternatives, though.

Cloud providers like AWS are more expensive because what they provide is a completely different set of services and guarantees, so their value [and cost] is much higher.

There are actually much cheaper VPS providers than Linode. Check out lowendbox.com for deals. I've had a Linode for years and it's completely underwhelming for the cost. I'd try out multiple different cheaper VPS providers instead, maybe even use multiple for redundancy at the same cost as Linode.

Well their offering is much simpler than that of AWS, Azure or GCP. I've been using them for over 5 years now without any issues, it's often the case that you get what you pay for but Linode do a very good job for their price point (yes they've had their issues but so have Gandi, Digital Ocean, ... any other competitor).

Linode has a fixed price strategy and focused on being a VPS provider.

I prefer using the best technology over endless virtue signaling.

I don't care about virtue signalling, best technology is worthless when google's legendarily horrendous customer service/algorithms can screw you at any moment. So for me: GMail, GDrive, GCP, etc. are too risky; even though I use Firefox because of its customizability I could use Chrome(based) browser; GMaps and Youtube are fine; I use neither Google's nor Cloudflare's DNS, they have too much of my data as it is anyway and frankly speed difference between DNS providers is negligible; only time I don't act completely rationally is good ol' search - because I'm worried about google's monopoly I try to use/support an alternative.

I'd take a technology hit to break from Google, but the McMorality of the author was certainly nauseating.

Research prototypes are usually very haphazard and have a ton of rough edges.

But this is how you try making something new to eventually work, and maybe even become the polished "best available".

These articles are not about supporting a new or better product. It's always around virtue signaling because google = bad... she says it right there in the second paragraph.

Ok, Google.

Interesting to see what others use. I'm a bit curious about using CloudFlare's DNS though.

If you take a stand against Google's societal impact, why switch to CloudFlare? CloudFlare's 'content neutral' stance enables a lot of hate speech and other, more disgusting material.

It seems odd to have ethical concerns about Google, but not CloudFlare.

I haven't done as much research about CloudFlare. I generally appreciate their views on privacy and the internet, but I have heard some really sketchy things about the way they route traffic and what you're describing sounds worrisome for sure!

I find it extremely hard to be an ethical consumer these days and honestly just get burnt out learning about all the horrible things people and companies with lots of money get away with, so I need to pace myself and take it in manageable doses. I will spend some time learning about Cloudflare this year.

I am against censorship but also don’t support companies who actively promote hate speech via recommendations. I’m ok with anyone having a blog but not OK with FB/Google creating conspiracy theory rabbit holes to drive engagement. This is a distinction I wish more people made.

Because I think censoring hate speech can have a worse societal impact than being a neutral host. CloudFlare is, from my viewpoint, behaving more ethically.

Google is such an insane value. $5 you get GSuite, auth, drive, chat, meet, and a bunch of things.

Folks that are privacy concious are equally deluded. It's marketing and you're falling for it. ProtonMail doesn't have stellar record for privacy (or any Swiss company in general). There has been several discussions about this on HN, and otherwise where many have compared email services and rated their privacy claims. FastMail seems to be the worst of all. Migadu seems to be good but an extremely bad value for your $.

Stick with Google. It's not fashionable but a bargain. You're commodicized on the internet unless you run your own services. Don't let any marketing fool you.

I'd rather be in iron clad hands of Google's engineering and security practices than a 30 people company with no fricking clue about security. This is often not part of the discussion.

Office 365 (or Microsoft 365 or whatever they want to call it today) is also good value. ~$5/month gives you more or less the same as Google where it comes to email/calendar and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. It can go even cheaper at ~$2/month for just basic email (on the "Kiosk" plan) if you don't need cloud storage and just need hosted e-mail.

Regarding your counterpoint, I disagree. It's not about ProtonMail claims of encryption or security or anything, it's just that their business model is to be selling hosted e-mail services and not advertising, and they have no incentive (nor the technical expertise in-house) to read your e-mails for advertising purposes. Furthermore, ProtonMail and all these other services only get a part of your data, so even if they do use your data nefariously, it's better for each one to misuse a separate chunk of it than for one entity to have all of it.

> it's just that their business model is to be selling hosted e-mail services

Does anyone know if pro/business accounts with Google GSuite have better privacy than free accounts?

Another counterpoint to my original post is - you can call someone at ProtonMail, can't do that with Google.

> Does anyone know if pro/business accounts with Google GSuite have better privacy than free accounts?

Yes. If you read the terms when you sign up to pay them money for GSuite, it says that your data in not used for advertising, targeting, or any other analytics. Basically the minimum terms for a large organization to be willing to entrust their internal data to Google.

> Does anyone know if pro/business accounts with Google GSuite have better privacy than free accounts?

Yes, the GSuite data is separated from non-GSuite and is goverened by a different ToS. This includes this data not being used for advertising, conforming to different deletion requirements and more. Check out the GSuite ToS for details, we looked into this awhile ago.

> Does anyone know if pro/business accounts with Google GSuite have better privacy than free accounts?

Officially, I'm sure they claim that G-Suite data is not used for any advertising purposes. However, just like I wouldn't trust an alcoholic with guarding a warehouse full of booze, I wouldn't trust this promise especially considering they intentionally violate the GDPR with a misleading, obnoxious and non-compliant consent form for EU visitors.

Furthermore, even if we assume G-Suite data itself is not used, what about general data collected by Google services? For example, a lot of their properties have Google Analytics included - does being logged in a G-Suite account automatically opt you out? What about YouTube (when logging into a G-Suite account you briefly get a redirect to accounts.youtube.com presumably to set a session cookie)? Etc. Given that Google is an advertising company, I can see it being easy for them to collect data they shouldn't, even because of an oversight (such as forgetting a "if account.is_g_suite" check, or legacy code predating G-Suite) as opposed to any malicious intent.

Not using Google means you don't have to interact with Google at all unless you explicitly want to and aren't exposed to any of the aforementioned risks.

Agree. It is unlikely that google adheres to their ToS, it is more profitable to violate them and if you get caught do the usual "oops, our bad" like Facebook does regularly.

Then you can't trust, accept, or move to, any other company, either.

Saying folks that are privacy conscious 'deluded' is a bit of a stretch as well as assuming their reasons for deciding.

You list a bunch of services Google provide for that $5 and yes, no doubt you can extract good value if you want to use all those things, and also don't mind relinquishing privacy for the content you choose to put on there. FWIW Gsuite is more like $7/m where I am.

For me personally, you can list those bunch of things and gmail is the only really useful, day to day tool - mainly because their spam filtering is better than most. Essentially that's where the only value is, for me.

Also bear in mind Google's history of retiring products, hardly 'iron clad' reliability.

For me, their lack of privacy ethos compounds the problem of them having a monopoly on search, and to a large extent information discovery. That, alongside their huge reach in how they can gather information on people to aid advertising, via Chrome, Android, DNS, analytics... that huge list. Sleep walking into a society where a handful of large corps know everything about you isn't necessary.

How much do you value your online life ? Put all your eggs in one basket and you allow yourself to be locked away from it at the whim of some unknown algorithm, with practically no recourse. A strike on your account (maybe a Play Store upload or some vague TOS violation) and you may be locked out of your mail and the auth that you use for everything. You'll end up adapting your behavior, consciously or not, to avoid angering the giant. Spreading the risks, and taking back control, seems the level-headed thing to do.

And the concept that there is only a single company in the world that knows a thing about security seems deluded to me.

This comment should not be this highly rated on Hacker News. The entire content of this comment is: I read a bunch of stuff somewhere that said all these alternative companies are bad.

There are no links to sources, there's no evidence presented, there's nothing to dispute. There's no substance to this comment.

Hacker News has a bias towards Google because Google offers a bunch of services for free that are useful to HN's audience, so HN users would rather not have reasons not to use Google services, which is why comments like this get upvoted, despite their lack of substance.

> Hacker News has a bias towards Google

There are multiple threads every single week that get hundreds of upvotes for criticizing Google. I think Hacker News is heterogeneous enough on this that "bias towards Google" is an overstatement.

Fair point. I can’t edit the comment anymore, but if I could I’d say some HN users are bias.

> Google is such an insane value. $5 you get GSuite, auth, drive, chat, meet, and a bunch of things.


> Stick with Google. It's not fashionable but a bargain. You're commodicized on the internet unless you run your own services. Don't let any marketing fool you.

You also don't get any useful customer service for that $5. I know companies that charge less but provide customer service. So what you value isn't what others may value.

That's one of the drawbacks of Google in general. I think if you want to buy Ads and have a big account with them, perhaps you can talk to a human.

Also if you are a big cloud customer.

I know, I consulted for one.

That said, it wasn't reliable.

One day: two sw engineers onsite, we recreated the problem, they went back to yake care of it.

Another day: what seemed like a student from a third world country on a very cheap helpdesk asking irrelevant questions instead of reading the description.

Another day again: answer by "head of <something>" acknowledging the issue and pointing to a fix coming <at some specified time>, only IIRC the fix didn't arrive, at least not at the time that person said.

> Folks that are privacy concious are equally deluded. It's marketing and you're falling for it.

At the very least, if you use providers other than Google, you can decentralize it. You can give one company your search history and a different company your emails. Even if both companies are equal to Google in terms of privacy, you still end up with better overall privacy because tehy can't join the two datasets.

> ProtonMail doesn't have stellar record for privacy (or any Swiss company in general).

Can you back that up with some references? I live in Switzerland and Swiss data protection law is certainly better than American.

I’m not sure why wtmt_arn‘s comment is dead... it’s correct

You forgot how they'll also helpfully remove services that you could otherwise end up spending your valuable time on:

- Reader, possibly to make room for Google+

- and then Google+

- etc

You also forgot how they'll ban you from accessing your own paid account, and there won't even be a sham trial or even a kangaroo court, just an automatic death sentence for your data.

Seriously: Google has earned the distrust they are now facing. They have dug this hole

- one shady tactic at a time

- one let down at a time

- one deal with China at a time

- etc

until even former fan boys like me become happy every time I see Google in hot water.

@Googlers: nothing against most of you as individuals. Hope you get well paid and good jobs when Google has to cut. (Except those who think it is OK to use search as a playground for wacky AI experiments, those who implement rules to punish logged in Firefox users with Captchas etc :-)

Or people are just sick of being shown ads on everything Google. Sure $5 you get X, Y, Z but you also get 000's of ads pumped at you constantly. Even though you pay for that access you are pretty much opening up all of your inboxes etc for crawlers to scan for your likes, dislikes etc.

GSuite subscription excludes you from most of it, to be fair.

I would to believe this but after spending many years of with SEO and PPC it just doesn't matter if they do to be fair. One way or another your GSuite account is linked to your personal account and that's where things get back on track for the big G and their data.

My reason for not using google services goes beyond privacy. I also do not want to contribute to or reward Google’s monopoly practices

> ProtonMail doesn't have stellar record for privacy

Customer here. What have I missed?

> Folks that are privacy concious are equally deluded.

This is the kind of nonsense comment that ends up being used as the moral justification engineers need to build these privacy invading services.

People are entitled to their own privacy, end of story.

This is the most deluded and blatantly incorrect comment I've seen on HackerNews to date.

What's so wrong with FastMail?

They're presumably concerned about FastMail being in/from Australia.

The thing is, if you're concerned about a state agency, you have bigger issues. If all you're after is "I don't want to give Google my money", FastMail is pretty good - and to boot they're one of the few with a still working push notification certificate for Mac Mail.app users, I believe.

Email is a lost cause. Just choose the one that sucks the least, and don't do important things on it.

> don't do important things on it.

How do you accomplish that? In my experience every single service on the internet relies on email for account creation, password recovery and general identity verification.

I'm not saying that's good, only that it's the current state of affairs.

I'm rolling my eyes at your comment. Come on now, you know what I meant.

Email is like getting mail in your postal box. It has no real protections except for people saying "yeah, I won't read your mail". Thus, if something is important enough, don't use it for that.

If you really need to do something privately there are better equipped avenues; if you're worried about tracking, it doesn't matter because

- any service mailing you will try to track you

- if you email with anybody from Google/MSFT/etc, your email is on their servers anyway.

It's a lost cause. It has been for some time. Keep a strong password on it and 2FA and such, but otherwise, it's not worth the time to care about.

Right, so don't do important things on the internet. Good advice in general.

Some info here: https://drewdevault.com/2020/06/19/Mail-service-provider-rec...

There was another highly voted post on HN that compared all services (except Migadu) just last month, I can't find it.

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