2. The article then talks about both Facebook and Google and links to some of Facebook's most egregious incidents like data sharing, Cambridge Analytica, WhatsApp.
3. The article then proceeds to tell you how to leave Google.
It just comes across in a bad way. Don't mix up the two companies - they aren't equivalent. And if you want to give advice on leaving Google, do that instead of this switcharoo that uses Facebook's scandals as a reason to leave Google.
(Having said that, Facebook is of course just as bad as Google if not worse)
It's not only PR. Google haven't violated their users' privacy to the extent Facebook have, it's not even close.
Please explain how this is anywhere near the level of FB & CA?
It's not on the same level as CA but should remind you that even a corporation like Google can have such data breaches, regardless of whether they were gaps or poor design. The investigations were initiated only after the CA scandal. Would the gap have been discovered in time without CA? Who knows. Even if it is assumed that this gap was not exploited, 52 million affected users is not a small number.
It's titled how to leave Google. It concludes with how to leave Google. But the vast majority of evidence it uses to justify leaving Google are Facebook privacy examples.
I suspect the author, who is clearly no Google fan, put some effort into looking at Google's privacy violations, but even then had to resort to pointing to FB's instead to beef up their article.
It's certainly possible that Google has hidden it better, but there is no evidence to suggest that FB does not have the same, or better talent, for that matter, to do the same.
My previous post had an argument about how you can't avoid Facebook, as someone who uses Facebook probably already shared your contact information from their phone with them without you knowing anything about it.
That’s exactly how Google ended up in possession on my mobile phone number in relation to my mail address: A friend added the same e-email address I use for YouTube to my android contact, which also included my phone number.
His android contacts app then proceeded to use my YouTube profile picture for my contact with my phone number.
How many people actually go trough the trouble of getting a third party contacts app?
> does not require you to log into any accounts at all to use the phone
That still doesn't stop Google from processing the data that people enter. Just like the fact that even without logging into an Google account there's a ton of unique identifies to track just baked into phone hardware alone.
> You seem to be transferring what you know about iOS to Android when that does not transfer at all.
I'm not "transferring" anything, nor did anything similar happen in the 10+ years I've been using iOS phones.
None of my iPhones contact apps ever pulled account details from other Apple services to populate the phone contact with. Yet on my friends Android phone all he had to do was enter my phone number and the same e-mail address I used to register a YouTube account, and Google matched and linked those two together to populate the contact with my YouTube profile picture.
Which means that somewhere in the massive Google database these two identifiers will now be linked, even tho I specifically went out of my way not to give Google my mobile number.
100% of the users who don't want to give their contacts to Google. You're right that the Google contacts app provides a far superior experience to the iOS contacts app, so most users who don't care about providing their data will use that if it's the default.
> That still doesn't stop Google from processing the data that people enter.
But how will Google get the contact information? The fact remains that iOS requires the user to log into an Apple account. iOS requires users to tell Apple all the apps they run and ties that information to their Apple account. iOS requires that anybody who wants to get their location also send their location to Apple. Android does none of these.
> Yet on my friends Android phone all he had to do was enter my phone number and the same e-mail address I used to register a YouTube account, and Google matched and linked those two together to populate the contact with my YouTube profile picture.
This is called contact merging, which Google's contacts app does far better than iOS's. iOS is a far less usable platform with far more unavoidable privacy invasions.
Stating that FB/G use your data to provide targeted ads isn’t an inherently bad thing: it’s part of the arithmetic of getting incredibly useful tools for free. I’d argue the key piece is what types of ads, and the methods behind delivery are crucial. That isn’t mentioned at all.
Since then, the only time I needed a Google account was when someone wanted to collaborate on a Google Docs file. I created a "burner" temporary account for that, which I subsequently closed.
Every now and then I might watch something on Youtube, but I never really need to be logged in.
It's funny because before closing my Google account, I imagined it would have been so hard, when if fact it was quite uneventful.
During the last 12 months I also closed Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It feels really good. I don't waste time during the day, I'm more focused during working hours and after work I have more time to do whatever I really like doing (as opposed to wasting time watching someone else doing those things on Youtube or Instagram).
Protonmail is SuperSecure and all that, but they only have 5GB of storage and for the 4€/month account, getting it close to 30GB would be 6x that. (The quota was much lower when I evaluated the services around 4-5 years ago)
However, the big upside is that I have my own domain now, so if I need to migrate to something else (be it self-hosted or another provider) I can easily do so without losing all my contacts.
When I get bored, I wade through it and either change the address to my current one (with my own domain) or unsubscribe.
For updates, I've got a filter based on substrings in the subject like "receipt", "invoice", "latest bill" which does fairly well at catching that transactional type of email.
It definitely takes more time than Google's implementation, but in curating the filters myself I've found I've been left with a cleaner, more organised inbox.
If you are looking for cloud/managed alternatives you can have a look at the list here https://degoogle.jmoore.dev/
Regarding webmail: MIAB includes Roundcube by default, which is OK on desktop but basically unusable on mobile, so on mobile I just use the built in client that came with my iPhone.
Of course you can use whatever webmail client you prefer, you just install it on a different VPS though (because MIAB will pretty much take over the whole VPS for itself; the only thing you can have alongside it on the same VPS, is a purely static website).
MIAB also includes Nextcloud [ * ] where you can add an alternative webmail client . In order to install that client you need to unlock the nextcloud admin by executing a script that is included in MIAB .
[*](in MIAB, Nextcloud is intended to manage calendar+contacts but you can also use it to store files or as an additional webmail client, even though those two use cases are not officially supported by the MIAB devs; this means that, if you have an issue related to storage or webmail, you should seek help from the Nextcloud community, not from the MIAB forums).
I think there are good reasons to move away, or at least consider reducing dependence on Google, and the last point about the change in Google Photos policy hints at that (but even there it creates a kind of conspiracy theory where none is needed).
For me, the Whys would be:
1) Far too much dependence on Google. It's probably not a good thing to have so much dependence on any single entity if its avoidable.
2) Google is extremely unreliable in maintaining their services. We have all seen them randomly discontinue services, even successful ones, because their standards for success are also Google scale. This means that anything you're using is at risk of being discontinued and forcing you to find an alternative in a rush, as opposed to doing it ahead of time when you can pick the time and choosing of finding the alternative.
3) Constantly changing UX. Based on HN comments, it appears Google has an internal culture that rewards constant churn. PErsonally, for example, Google Maps has always been untouchable for me. Until their UI changes have started hiding so much data, that just this weekend, it was almost impossible for me to find the address to a destination so I could enter it in my rental car's Nav system. After a few minutes of fumbling around I switched to Apple Maps, for the first time ever, where it was trivial.
I'm not saying Google is completely clean in this regard but it has never had breaches of data or trust that even compares to Facebook's. In this article for example, they can point to Cambridge Analytica for Facebook (which was bad IMO) and can point to Google Photos charging for high quality photos (uh... what?)
Even when it comes to government surveillance, Google was the first to release the transparency reports and from my understanding, even when requested to keep requests from data for law enforcement they'll often push back and notify the owners of the accounts when their data was requested and delivered to their government (according to a few lawyers I've spoken to which have had experience with Google provided data).
Regarding the article: The "Why?" paragraph talks about a lot of things, but not why you should quit using Google. If anything it tells you why you should quit using Facebook/Whatsapp. If the argument is "Facebook is bad, so Google must be bad" you might as well stop using the internet all together right now, as this can be applied to basically any other service provider of any kind.
1. Any time Google deprecates a service/library you're using or breaks it with backwards-incompatible changes, move to a non-Google equivalent.
2. Don't adopt any new Google services/libraries.
And viola, before you know it you'll be Google free.
Maps - They massively hiked API prices a couple years ago, literally by orders of magnitude (a kind of breaking change?). They've also broken a bunch of user-facing features and made it slower; it seems a common complaint here that maps now is a worse product than it was 5 years ago.
Search - They seem to have gone all-in on AI, and I've seen a lot of people complaining here that it's now harder to find things than it used to be. Precise queries also no longer work (searching for an exact phrase), a kind of breaking change. They also do a lot more human curation than the competitors, which some would consider a breaking change compared to the past. Even their automated, user-profiling-based curation is a breaking change to how Google originally worked.
Android - If you don't upgrade your Android phone, but do upgrade your OS, you'll find it gets slower and slower, as newer versions consume more and more resources. This is a kind of breaking change, if you don't want to buy a new phone.
Maybe you meant something different?
There are plenty of projects that aim to remove Google from an android, but I question their security; even if the privacy is good, there could be exploits or unpatched vulnerabilities.
Or you'll be stuck with broken services.
I firmly believe the best remedies are regulation (to protect privacy) and breaking up monopolies.
I'd say it's realistic at this point to just assume they will stay unregulated monopolies and protect yourself as much as you can. It's not like it's even possible to actually "cancel" companies like this, that's just silly.
There's two caveats: (a) it's a little unstable with no Google account but using a throwaway Google account fixes this, and (b) it doesn't get you away from Google because they still have a lot of ways to track you in Android without an account, but...
You can disable Play services and install Aurora Store from F-Droid and have a very reasonable Android experience with no Google account.
Aurora Store is a Play Store client that doesn't require a Google account, so you can get access to all the "normal" commercial apps and games that are absent on F-Droid. The developers use a central account for API access which can get rate limited and get blocked sometimes (they recommend you sign in with your own throwaway Google account to avoid this), but otherwise it's better than Play Store in many ways.
Some apps will not work without Play services but I've found that in most cases it's either a matter of:
- some annoying notification function of the app doesn't work but the rest of the app works fine
- in some rare cases, apps with a strong reliance on Play services have alternative independent builds available as apk from their own website
You can also just leave Play services enabled and simply never log into your Google account (the Aurora account login is separate, it doesn't link into the rest of the device) BUT if you do this Google will plague you with prompts to login for all eternity.
Honestly, we need a optimised non-custom rom alternative to smartphone operating systems, which is not iOS or google/android.
While the custom-rom development has come a long way, it's to fiddly, often lacks long-term support, shortcomings in terms of stability (network/singal disruptions, battery usage, crashes, bricks)and even privacy.
And so here we are, living in a world of a million different sized rectangles; all running Android.
> Honestly, we need a optimised non-custom rom alternative to smartphone operating systems, which is not iOS or google/android.
Symbian was way ahead for its time. But I'm just glad we have some developments such as PinePhone and Librem
Meego was it.
Nokia messed up by not actually sharing it properly like the Android Alliance or whatever it was called did.
Nokia went under and Android is everywhere :-(
It's not perfect, but works well enough for daily use in my experience.
So it seems it's possible?
(Not to mention many deGoogled Android builds like Lineage which, ironically, usually run best on Google phones due to their published sources).
Get an iPhone then? Or a feature-phone?
2. Not using Chrome browser. Using Brave/Edge which are using the same chromium engines and are very Fast. Also I use Firefox for its container tabs feature. Personal stuff in Firefox tabs and rest on Brave.
3. I am using VPN, browser extension are also available, I keep my gmail account in a separate browser container tabs.
4. Tried DuckDuckGo for sometime but results are not good as Google, so I am using google search in separate tab where my account is not logged in.
5. Same with youtube, opening in different tab and without logging in.
6. Turned off timeline history in google maps.
7. Stopped using Google Home.
8. Planning to move from Android to _____ whichever is much safer. This is where I think doing all above won't make any sense as long as I am using Android. Believe I am using my phone in a restricted mode. :d
After doing all this, I still think they can track my activity. Haha... But I am trying to make it little difficult to connect the dots.
P.S: I do like Google as a developers company.
DDG's results have gotten comically bad, unfortunately. xD It used to be unusable for code stuff, but the unusability's getting more generalized. Still, you're just a "g!" away in the search query from Google results.
>8. Planning to move from Android to _____
Usable Linux phones when ;3;
(There's Librem 5 and PinePhone, but...)
And I'm pretty sure we're averaging at least a few of these per week.
As ever, this isn't to do with rights. The government isn't forcing you to do this. Neither is Google.
Slavery is an obvious and unquestionable violation of a person's human rights -- and that is a true statement regardless of the fact it was not illegal in many countries until the late-1800s (it was a violation of their human rights at the time as well). Same goes for the right to vote -- or if you prefer the right to self-governance -- which was not given to women and minorities until the mid-to-late 1900s. The fact that laws did not grant these people their rights doesn't mean their rights did not exist.
In addition it should be obvious that rights can be taken away by someone who is not an agent of a government. If you enslave someone it is a violation of their human rights regardless of whether it was sanctioned by a government. So (hopefully this was already self-evident) human rights also exist outside of government action.
That was the point I was making.
This doesn't make much sense, but I think I get the idea.
What most people mean when they say this is "the value I get out is worth more than the data I put in". And that's a perfectly valid view.
Sure. But that is only a valid view if the seller of services is transparent about the price.
Currently, I have absolutely no idea what I am paying to use Google.
That sweet paycheck tho.
Throwing out any other google service but search is easy. Yet there is basically nothing that google can do in terms of business practices, that would make me go "that's it, I'll just have to settle for these worse search results". So while I usually tend to argue the importance of integrity, it turns out I'm not ready to give up even a few minutes every day for this cause.
It returns search results from most search engines, it's highly configurable and trivial to self host. There are some hiccups here and there, but it's well maintained and issues are quickly resolved.
Besides the combined search results, a big positive for me is having a simple and consistent UI, free of A/B tests, ads or the concern that it may change some day because some overpaid design team discovered a change that maximizes engagement.
As soon as someone comes up with a half decent hosted calendar service that's half as good as Google Calendar.
People like to give GCal a lot of shit while comparing it with local apps; there's very few hosted services that are so versatile.
I use the Calendar app with NextCloud for a CalDAV server + calendar web interface. It's fully-featured as far as I can tell. I use its CalDAV functionality to sync to my Android phone using DAVx^5, which integrates the calendars natively so that you can use whatever calendar app you want on your phone (I use Etar).
Nextcloud's website does have a page on getting ("free"?) accounts from providers. It took me a hot second to find the "change provider" link, but that allows you to see a bunch of options.
I'm set on going towards privacy/transparency/local-first-data.
But this one really amazes me:
> Recently Google changed their policy for storing photos. Starting from July 2021 you won't have unlimited High Quality storage as before rather than 15GB limit. This is still okay in terms of space but the politics behind it is just disgusting. Google was effectively feeding it's photo AI algorithms for face detection and tagging for years now using user data obtained by giving up the service for free. Now when these algorithms got so good and it's almost impossible to make them better and Google don't need users anymore they switched to make some money from the service.
This guy is salty that Google doesn't provide their platform for free. Aside from that, of course, some ramblings about privacy and stuff. But seriously, complaining for not getting something for free. The entitlement is strong here. I'd go as far and use the author's words here and say it's disgusting. And the privacy arguments are BS, just look at those pretty Google Fonts he uses to tell you how bad Google is.
For example Google Music was closed. Google moved my playlist to Google YouTube Music without keeping order of songs and loosing a lots of them in the process. Replacing my songs with completely different ones. I was paying for that "service" and got screwed by Google.
Another example is Google Photos. It does not have basic functionalities expected from a service to store photos. I can not easily organize my photos in folders because of whatever reason Google decided. But the thing that me decide is that after carefully choosing 1500 photos to move to a "separate" folder, it told me I can not move that many photos at once.
Google services are lame. I'd rather pay companies who care about my data and provide what I need.
To a certain point I'd even agree. Google products often lack a certain love for details. Their apps sometimes feel like MVPs that aren't nice to use, which in turn leads to them abandoning them.
2. Kill all competitors
3. "It's not cost effective for this to be free, new captive google users."
Yes the part "Why?", which should explain this motivation uses two paragraphs about unrelated stuff, like Cambridge Analytica, which was Facebook's problem not Google's.
> "Entitlement is strong"
Yes, complaining about someone not giving you something for free is entitlement. In its purest form.
> "privacy arguments are BS"
They obviously aren't. But in this context they are. Either you care about privacy or you continue to use Google products, like Google fonts. This just shows, what the author is "salty" about, which is Google charging for their products. Because he continues to use their free offerings.
Once you've turned off personalization, Google will no longer use your info to personalize your ads. Ads can still be targeted with info like your general location or the content of the website you’re visiting.
I also completely realize this is an irrational opinion. I'm extremely jaded by advertising and want the major ad companies to have as little of my data as possible.
I never had a Twitter, Reddit, Instagram account. I had a FB one for work opened ~ 2010 for recruiting presence, closed it a few years ago. I have an Android phone that works, like 99.99% of these phones, with a Google account and the article does not help with this. I also have a Google mail account (same) that I use for nothing important, I have a different, non-Google one for personal stuff separate from the work account. So I am fine with Google reading all my useless emails, no problem here.
So, how and what to de-Google? The email ... no need. The phone ... no solution. Photos? Why would I ever put my photos on Internet, am I some kind of moron? Google Drive ... I used it as a dropbox to share a file with someone and delete it (and the file is encrypted if it matters). Waze? Wow, I have no replacement for that and I use it a lot, the traffic in my area is so bad (top 3 in Europe in the bad way) that Waze is essential to know where there are 10 minute standstills and try to go around or leave 15 minutes earlier. What is the replacement for it?
I've seen them abandon products in the past, and have always been wary about their use of my data, albeit never enough to make the effort to use another service or pay for one.
This was such a bold reversal of their promise to offer free photo storage "forever" that I felt like it's only a matter of time before I get seriously impacted in other ways.
So I switched up everything:
- Google Photos -> Apple Photos (and local backups)
- Google Maps -> Apple Maps (luckily recent improvements have made it usable for my region)
- Gmail -> Fastmail
- Google Search -> Duck Duck Go (still relying on !g for most programming related searches)
- Google Chomre -> Safari (switched a year ago)
On the plus side, it feels good moving away from Google and not giving them my data. On the downside I'm now paying for services that I had for free, and in some ways getting more tied to Apple.
The recent removal of infinite photo storage, and the always-imminent demise of hangouts might have finally moved the for me on Google, but it's unfortunate that Google Docs is still the premiere collaboration platform for many folks.
And Messenger/WhatsApp are the messaging platforms of choice in at least half the world. One can't just up and leave while staying in touch with friends/family.
2. Backup data from Google using automated tools like rclone. Rclone can download Google Drive data and Google Photos (albeit with duplicates).
3. Encrypt and backup your data to services like Backblaze, AWS S3, Wasabi, etc.
PhotoStructure will dedupe your Google Takeout, FWIW.
For example, how is using YouTube via the iOS app any different _at all_? If you had android you could use the app newpipe.
In any case, YouTube alternatives like LBRY have way better apps for android. Element (matrix chat) is also 100x better on android.
I can only imagine that android is easier to develop on and get approved, even for more experimental apps like Manyverse (secure-scuttlebutt twitter).
I'd love to see write ups on ways to make competing products and have a shot at taking customers from big tech.