I think this thread demonstrates why the privacy issues with the likes of google, facebook, etc are pretty much vapor complaints. Essentially, people are happy in the end to sacrifice privacy for convenience. With that mind set, we can easily see why no one really cares about NSA slurping. As far as they are concerned, all the NSA has is what facebook, gmail etc, have. So, what is the problem exactly? And you know what, I can understand the point. I disagree, but equally, I understand.
Having read about how people won't move form FB because it easy to stay there, since their "friends" are there, I now realize most people really are not committed to privacy while it means some sort of inconvenience. There is even a reply here where a friend who wont use facebook is referred to as an "outcast"... Understandable, but also says it all.
Simply pretend that everything you post on Facebook and GMail is in the public domain, posted in the public square.
If I never share anything I don't want public, then my privacy is guaranteed. I'd advise others with privacy concerns to do the same.
Given that you NEVER KNOW, EVER that you can 100% trust the people you're sharing with (no matter which media you use), I think people are kind of crazy to act any other way.
That said, the focus shouldn't be on the companies that collect this data. They are simply doing the best they can to make a profit within the bounds of the law. No, the issue is government. There should be strict laws regulating how data is collected and stored(even non "PII") and even stricter laws around how 3rd parties are allowed to consume, store, and use this data, especially governments. But alas, this is asking the police to police themselves, so I guess this will never happen.
So, cat pics for everyone!!!
I don't follow. My friends and family have always know how to find me. This has been true even without Facebook.
They know because I've told them. Often in person. Or by phone.
I'm sort of puzzled by the idea of there being people who are important to me who I don't keep in regular touch with without having to rely on some specific Web site.
If anything, sites like Facebook are good for looking into people I don't really care about, or who don't really care about me.
I personally live thousand kilometers away from my family and friends, and it's just hard to keep in touch with everybody without a social network. Phone calls, mails and chat would never be as efficient/cheap/time-saving that social networks. Plus, they lack that "social" thing.
Regarding that "elitism" when you talk about your friends, there's "family and close friends", and there's "friends", the ones that are not _that_ important in your life, but with whom you'd still like to be in touch with.
Take for example the "keeping in touch" point. I'm going home in few weeks, I just had to post a Facebook status to tell all my friends so we can meet. How would I do it without Facebook? Send mails? Not everyone use emails. Call them, it's freaking expensive.
Privacy concerns scare me, and that's why I'm trying to leave Google stuff, but leaving Facebook is just impossible at the moment, simply because it's useful and there's no alternative.
I can see people relying on Facebook to keep track of this rather than needing to have someone manually manage it. On the other hand, since it's family, you can just call someone you do have the number for, and work your way through the chain to get to someone that has the correct info.
The privacy concerns we have about Facebook I know older relatives had about the telephone. To this day they still refrain from giving out much information on it and keep calls as short as possible.
And yes, the issue is government.
Or only use it in the Facebook App on your phone, but never log your browser in to it.
"Logging in" is completely broken on the internet - no argument, there.
> or specifically log out of Facebook when you're not using it
will probably not, because they set tracking cookies that remain even when you log out.
Complete speculation here, but if they're willing to do that, who's to say they don't link traffic from known IP addresses as well? It might be linked less strongly but in many cases could still be associated in some way. They track web browsing for non-users already anyway, so if they can connect that to existing users by IP I'd be fairly surprised if they didn't.
In order to prevent this, you have to block trackers in all your browsers and devices with Ghostery or similar tools.
For some strange reason, the same requirements do not apply to Google, and Twitter are currently being investigated.
Not if you log out of FB. Conveniently, the "Like" button tells you when you're logged in and the "(Not You?)" link allows you to log out of FB whenever you notice you're still logged in. Hmm, this gives me an idea for an indicator browser extension.
In line with other responses, I use a browser plugin that blocks all traffic to Facebook when I'm not on a facebook.com domain, and I exclusively sign in via incognito mode so the session is destroyed when I'm finished.
Only downside is when i click done actual useful advertising result on gsearch i get a 404 :)
i know your example is moot because google doesn't
But the part about never sharing anything private with anyone, regardless of the media used... maybe I'm misunderstanding it. That sounds like a terrible way to live. By living that way, you are not retaining your privacy... you've already lost it.
You could die when get on plane, but you still do it, because the reward is worth the risk. Someone could wire tap my house, but I don't let that stop me from having private conversations with my family. There's a risk/reward balance that each of us have to set with respect to our privacy and our ability to share and interact with other people. To say the risk always outweighs the reward seems a little extreme.
By doing that, and using any given media that I don't entirely control and that I can't guarantee I can perfectly secure, I'm also accepting the risk that either the provider of the service(s), or a hacker, could also make the information public or share it with the government.
Think about the risk of my friends making the information public, intentionally or unintentionally (they have lousy passwords, or share passwords with friends, or don't use SSL in a cafe, or have an easy to guess Password Recovery answers, or they forget to log out on a computer someone can sneak onto, or they get hit by a keylogger and don't use two-factor authentication like I do, or they get hit by phishing).
I think that risk is ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more likely than the risk that the media provider (Google, Facebook) will, intentionally or unintentionally, make the information public. Or somehow use it to harm me.
Also, the damage, should that risk occur, to me, is very low. (Based on the type of information I share.)
Now, every layer of the service provider is also demonstrably sharing with the government. That's happening.
And many people here are blaming Google (the victim) rather than the government (the abuser), which makes no sense to me.
I accept the argument that we ALL need protection from government spying. I really do. But I have yet to see someone propose how to avoid using an ISP. And many of the people abandoning Google are still running Windows. Or how to abandon a major cell provider.
Dropping Google, while continuing to use major ISPs and Cell providers is like changing which STAMP you put on your postcard, and expecting that will somehow stop the postman from reading it.
This way, you will have data security, better grammar, and fewer embarrassing personal moments.
Your assertion is false.
Please state your case for this. VikingCoder stated theirs.
I would hope that people would consider instead demanding we hold governments and organizations accountable for crimes directly and demand our rights be respected. Picking up your ball and going home is not the correct response to these things, nor will it help or fix anything.
But ignoring that boycotts are largely fruitless. So if it is truly hopeless to demand your government respect your rights and freedoms then yes, you are probably fucked.
If somebody had told me in say 2005 or 2006 that "hey, the government will just print like several trillions of dollars, ultimately backed only by your tax money, and just like that give them to failed banks and other corporations, the CEOs of said banks will then give themselves hefty bonuses for almost killing the economy. oh and the banks will also foreclose many peoples houses because the small people cant pay their debts either." and not one beep was heard from the population, not one broken window. Its not some small money stolen from them either, its entire college-educations and pensions, standard of living lowered. But, hey, they're still better than Africa so its fine.
Please watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qzldtKV1PY , which nahname linked.
I personally would love to use email, but people just refuse to do it. Everyone wants to use Facebook because everyone is on it. Believe me, I've tried to get people to switch to email. But it always reverts back to Facebook.
1.) You have evidence that burntsushi is lying and that the story is untrue.
2.) You don't want what burntsushi is saying to be true (you disagree with the lifestyle choices of burntsushi's friends).
Do we really downvote people for #2 on Hacker News? Or is their proof for #1?
1. Plan event (e.g. party)
2. Invite people on Facebook
It’s massively easier than texting/IMing people. Yeah, you will do it for people you really care about, but you can easily miss out if you aren’t on FB.
I have friends all of the world. I am not on Facebook or any other social networking service. Yes, I talk to my friends.
The worst that happens is that every now and then I get asked why I wasn't at the movies last night or something because they didn't realize that I couldn't see the invite.
This was about not relying too heavily on any one service provider. Plain and simple.
Facebook has what Facebook has. Google has what Google has. Verizon has what Verizon has. The NSA has what all of them have, put together. The NSA can therefore draw conclusions that Facebook and Verizon and Google can't, and therefore I lose privacy when that data is handed over even if I happen to use some subset of the services in question.
That's not my only objection, but it's a substantial one...
I'm not sure why you haven't considered the possibility that I don't want the government to have my data from an entire collection of web sites, but might not mind any one particular web site having it. More to the point, I worry a lot more about what the government can do with my data than what Facebook can do.
Skipping the obvious opinion against the NSA and "The Society of Likes". At least taxpayers (how I hate this word! but it is ironic in this context) should force the Government to fire a big percentage of its workforce since the work is trivial and algorithms to analyze the information are in general already published.
Very few people are in a position to make a difference alone, and even fewer dare to act. There's only one Snowden.
The rest of us, we vote, support civil liberties organisations, sign petitions, and the most active amongst us lobby and demonstrate.
The notion that the way to change things is by individual sacrifice, and if we don't we obviously don't care enough, is an fundamentalist libertarian fantasy.
The real world doesn't work that way. Real people don't work that way. At least 99% of us don't.
This statement rings with me quite a bit.
I'm reminded of the day the FBI released the video and photos of the Tsarnaevs just after the Boston bombing and it was discovered that they were from Chechnya. If you visited twitter and searched for their names, you could have found a few thousand tweets asking why the Czech Republic was attacking the US. Here are thousands of Americans, typing words into a computer connected to the largest distributed information storage network ever conceived by man, and they don't bother to verify that Chechnya and the Czech Republic aren't the same place.
Most people aren't stupid, they just don't care. How many times last week did knowing the difference between Chechnya and the Czech Republic come in handy for you? Likewise, knowing that the NSA is actively slurping all your phone calls and emails, what can you do that doesn't require massive lifestyle changes?
Thank goodness not everyone feels the same way you do. You can't change the world if you don't at least try.
I'm glad that at least 1% does work that way. I think it's too bad there aren't more of these types of people in the world.
All my friends are on Facebook and as much as I dislike Facebook's piracy invasion, it's an excellent tool to keep in touch with people.
I could drop Google Talk, but as much as federation is a good thing, ironically I wouldn't have many people to talk to, since they use Google Talk/Hangouts.
Perhaps a decentralised file sharing tool is better. But everyone is using Dropbox and Bittorrent Sync will be too outworldish for colleagues/family/friends.
Now the tech front is reversing its position, and hopefully the rest of society will eventually follow. Unfortunately the scene isn't set just now, because there simply aren't good alternatives to Gmail – nothing free or self hosted comes remotely close to its clean UI.
When such a thing exists, selling regular users on moving away from Google will be a much easier proposition
[If you're reading this and thinking of cloning Gmail – for fuck's sake don't waste your time "innovating" on the UI and getting it horribly wrong! (This was really the biggest tragedy of the Reader transition). Do a pixel perfect conversion. Except for artwork, cloning a UI is perfectly legal as demonstrated by case law going back 20+ years in the EU and USA.]
Let's not forget these are just tools. Most of the relationship people have on Facebook are as shallow as they get because it's easy to shoot a message on such systems. But do you really care about EVERYONE you have in your networks ? Would you really miss something crucial in your life if you didn't have it ?
Before people used to bond because they had things in common (Usenet, IRC with specific topics of interest), the "new" social networks are just about gathering numbers and bonding with people you have just met once or twice in your life and with you have little in common. At least, that's how I see most people around me using Facebook.
– Amr Gharbeia (https://twitter.com/gharbeia ), a few years ago at a conference, commenting on their activism in Egypt and coping with overload and unavailability of Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Also fully agree with your other points. I don’t use Facebook (Twitter though) and just email people whom I care about. Works fine, and those who really care have no problem with you not being on Facebook.
Doing all that w/o facebook would be a giant PITA.
I do get the idea, sometimes I feel a little bit excluded without an FB account, but I have never had the problem that somebody didn't have an email address. Not even kids.
People seem to make up all sorts of excuses, but in the end it always boils down to 1) suffering minor inconveniences and 2) the (often irrational) fear of social exile.
As other people have pointed out, changing networks is not that hard. It's a false belief that it is. Years ago my local friends were mostly on MSN, East European/Middle East folks were on ICQ and Y!C, US people were using AIM. So I used Trillian and later Pidgin. What you saw was this, people are moving around all the time, and many of the persons were 2 or 3x in my contact list because they too were on multiple networks. Google chat just sort of edged itself in there as well.
Think of it like this, remember how easy it was to find all your friends on FB because of that network? And didn't the same happen with email, and with AIM/MSN/iCQ/etc? I see friends and acquaintances trickle in on G+ without any effort for that reason (except I don't want to use G+ either). Now FB pushes its "help" quite aggressively, but even without that, people connect in networks, point eachother to their friends, it's very peer-to-peer :)
 I mean, it happens ... http://www.ibiblio.org/harris/500milemail.html
 note I'm not saying "always", I can imagine certain high school scenarios where this fear might be somewhat real, although one has to wonder ...
 unfortunately I lost my MSN acct because the not-hotmail domain I registered it to expired a long long time ago and it stopped working--if anyone knows a solution to that I'd love to hear it because I would love to see that old contact list back :) (however I could also reg a new account and repopulate my contacts via-via just as easy)
>facebook has been replacing those short messages that email or IM used to be used for.
It's the complete opposite of email where I think "I'll wait until I have something proper to say" and then never send anything. On FB, it's totally normal to leave one-line comments. Having said this, I barely use FB anymore (due to privacy concerns).
Edit: I should also add that I've never used email in the social way that people seem to refer to. I really don't understand how that would be possible. FB allowed new types of social exchanges that didn't exist before (for me, at least).
An email (whether direct or via a mailing list) is an interruption (at least to me), whereas a Facebook post just drops off the bottom of the page if I ignore it.
EDIT: Sorry, that was poorly worded.
The discovery side of it is more like an RSS reader (or maybe a group email). But the key distinction (for me at least) is that I can be totally passive - I don't even need to mark things as read - or I can engage.
10+ years ago I knew a bunch of people who had personal blogs, but of course most of them were filled with "sorry for the lack of posts recently" type posts.
I'm not on Facebook, but I understand why it's popular. The more people who might be reading, the more reason there is to post stuff. So it makes sense that everyone winds up in the same network.
Someone on the other side of the world posts a photo of something they've been doing, I comment on it and we have a conversation.
For this to happen without the likes of Facebook, they would have to explicitly share that photo with me, something that may or may not be likely depending upon what the photo is about, what their perception of my interests are and whether they think I want to be bothered with it.
People do use email still... But pretending facebook doesn't offer any value is an exercise in reality distortion.
Email is a very explicit share. You are telling someone to look at this, because you sent it to them. This is much more personal. There's a social stigma in over-emailing, as much as there is a social stigma in not reading the emails a friend sends you. Emailing pictures is more like calling a friend. Yeah it's nice to hear their voice directly, but what if they don't want to hear what you have to say at this moment?
There are certainly different social assumptions between email and Facebook, but the differences have long started to blur, depending on what context we're talking about (e.g work vs friends, etc.)
Even now there are still simpletons who don't understand the reasoning of those deciding to stay away of these sites. I'm saying just understanding it, not necessarily agreeing to it.
I don't get why it's necessary to justify not using such a "tool".
That was my experience a year or two ago. At some point I deleted my facebook account, because the value I got out of it wasn't sufficient to tolerate all those annoyances: changing email notifications, constantly changing privacy settings and policies, annoying ads, annoying messages from people I barely know...
Mind you, the constantly shifting privacy settings are weird, its easy to be really granular (go to your Activity Log) but it is effort. You can also change privacy on a post by post basis, but its sticky, so you need to be careful. The ads never really bothered me (except for the dating ones just after i came out of a long term relationship). In fact, I never ad-blocked facebook because I could x out of ads I didn't want to see. The annoying messages from people is not really Facebook's fault, though I feel your pain....
Making someone into an outcast because they do not use your favorite social networking system is the problem here.
Ever tried mail and the ocassional phone call or meeting?
Do you really have to keep in touch with people seeing what they did on their vacations, bs inspirational quotes and baby photos?
You may mock, but keeping involved in the minutiae of each others' lives does enable the maintenance of friendships over longer distance and time spans. Minutiae that we wouldn't necessarily make the effort to email or chat about.
As I get older my friends (and myself) have dispersed all over the globe, and even the ones not so far off have less time to give (and possibly less inclination) to spend time just hanging out.
That said, it doesn't have to be FB, or a centralised service at all.
I remember in 2004, 2005 when Gmail began, why would anyone use gmail, everyone is using hotmail (shared experience). Why would anyone begin using skype, everyone is using msn? Why would anyone begin using Facebook everyone is on MySpace?
Someone has to be the first, take the step. Its us geeks that have to take the lead, do it. Just imagine if 5% of hn people would all begin using alternative software, improving it in the process. Free software at its best. Just a dream?
Time to jump of the trainwreck of these "cloudy" "services".
People started using Facebook because it was exclusive for a group of students. They were friends in reallife already and Facebook made it easier to coordinate.
People started using Skype because it allowed calling real phones cheaply, msn doesn't.
A large fraction of HN readers probably use Linux and free software. A fraction of them probably even improves the software they use. That doesn't mean that the average person wants to switch too.
Citation needed, from a different source than the FB founders.
It's a very juicy marketing lie to spread but I've seen social and IM networks of all types come and go and the only reason ever has always been "because my friends are there".
All the rest is just feature candy, stuff to attract the pioneer trend-setters. The great mass of people just herded there, couldn't care less about exclusivity or particular features (cause learning to use features is hard and exclusivity is scary), not until it was shoved in their faces.
The trend-setters don't care nearly as much about "my friends are already there", because if they did, they wouldn't be trend-setters.
So right now what I'm seeing that among those people who care about features, what is in demand but not currently available: decentralized and private (and on some level, not-Facebook, not-Google), and another important thing I keep hearing echoed but not quite emphasized are group chats (quite available already but it also seems to be a deal-breaker for new platforms if it's not there, just saying, in case anyone wants to build the next encrypted social messaging whatnot).
>Citation needed, from a different source than the FB founders.
Facebook was only limited to a number of higher education institutions for the first few years of its life. You needed to be a student at a college / university to get access as it wasn't open to the general public, and it took a couple years before it was widespread across all schools before going public. I was among that set of people who were able to use it.
Its a big problem, to get all this right, but whoever does it is doing humanity a great one. I propose to fund it by donations, not ads or subscriptions.
You are right in pointing out that all the services we switched too, had some USP, I believe I2P, ownCloud, Citadel, Tor, gnunet, OTR/XMPP all have their USP too, and that is safety and freedom to express and say what ever the fuck comes to mind without self-censorship or fear for what consequences/blackmail it might have in the future.
I have a thing to not talk about the "average person" because it means too many things and more often than not is a patronizing way of saying idiots. But lets go with it this time, the average person has no incentive to use productive equipment like a PC at all and they are perfectly fine with a consume-only, digitally-rights-managed, locked-down, surveillance device. We hackers should just give up on them, let them eat cake. /rant.
It goes over the internet in plain text, has substantial meta-data, and even the contents are trivially small to store.
When people want to come off of G+, Facebook, etc... great, that makes some sense. If they want to stop using Chrome Sync, and to use Firefox, install add blockers, anti-trackers, change their hosts file, use VPNs, enable Tor, change DNS provider... great, that makes some sense.
Email makes a lot less sense though. It's effectively public and what security exists is about effective as your front door lock. It keeps out the average person that passes by and little more than that.
There is actually some argument to be had that if most of your contacts use Gmail that you should stay on Gmail as the email wouldn't route via the public internet.
I am sticking with Gmail, but am using a Google Apps for Domains account for it as that allows you to configure the domain to fully disable other Google and related services (G+, YouTube, advertising, Drive, etc). I then access Gmail via Chrome Incognito and live the rest of my internet life in Firefox.
Effectively Google for me, starts each day afresh, sand-boxed in a private browser session, and with no permission to do anything else.
The only other Google things I used they have already shuttered or have announced they're doing so. Effectively when this happens I am one of the n% who don't move to G+ and roll off of Google services.
I do wonder if we'll ever hear what % of users didn't go to Hangouts when they re-branded and closed Talk. What % of Latitude users will vanish when G+ gets whatever location sharing capability. Maybe it's negligible to Google, but it doesn't feel negligible when I speak to friends who used to use Google a lot more.
"The recent Google Reader shutdown and Google Hangouts disabling XMPP federation made me realize that any of my services could go at any time and I didn’t want to be so dependant on a single provider or the integrations between services."
Yes, but only because setting up proper encryption in email is a pain (but it isn't impossible). Email makes the most sense to move off centralised services if privacy/security of your data is one of your aims.
Edit: Though to be fair to the OP, that's not the threat model he's tackling. It's more the potential for service shutdown or lockout (which I think is low risk in the case of Gmail).
I was actually replying to others in this discussion who advocated "move your email too".
I originally composed the above as a reply to one of those, realised I was replying to several (4 at this point) other replies, and figured I'd make the point more generally that moving email provider achieves little.
I'm not saying that is what's happening, just saying it makes it easier.
I don't know the penetration of TLS in SMTP servers, tried some google-fu but I didn't find anything interesting.
EDIT: chances are I misread your comment but still I really wonder how popular TLS is.
Wrong, you're still a product. The "consumer vs. product" dilemma is a false one.
"We are selling our product, NOT our users.
We will never sell your personal data, content, feed, interests, clicks, or anything else to advertisers. We promise."
Which means they are just lying in their about page.
Making money through you. (Like all user-generated content websites)
You are not being "sold". That entire line of thinking is intellectually lazy and meant to provoke an emotional response. I wish people would stop it.
A reasonable analogy would be conferences, are you paying for the venue, or the access to other people/speakers? does that mean the people/speakers are the product?
Might be a bit evil/selfish, but I somewhat hope that services that user need to pay for with personal data gets taxed, just so that truly "free" services can get an competitive edge on the market.
Obviously it's still not a guarantee.
There are lots of companies that simply sell you the serive and at the same time profiteering on your data.
Unless, of course, privacy is part of that service, but even then the company isn't trustworth unless it actively encourages use of end-to-end encryption wherever feasible.
Obviously, it's not a guarantee. They can still profit both ways. But if they have another means of profit, then there is the possibility that they're not dead set on profiteering on your data.
This is still not good enough for me though. Self-hosted or nothing as far as I'm concerned (Social Networks).
No, you're clearly in the majority of people who value their own convenience highly. I unfortunately have to include myself in that majority too, although less enthusiastically than you.
> The synergy effects are worth it
To you as an individual maybe. Overall the prospect of a populace whose information and activities are all stored and logged by a small number of entities is a pretty big "it", and I don't think the (admittedly great) personal convenience is worth it.
Edit: It occurs to me that your use of the word "ecosystem" is a bit weird. Really, what you're saying is akin to saying you like the advantages of a monoculture.
Google hasn't exactly been a good company recently, at the very least the whole reader issue has caused a lot of worry.
As an end user it is in your best long term interests to have open solutions. That means protocols with multiple implementations of the client and server ends. It means identity, authorization and exposure under your control. And it also means freedom for others to write new clients and servers.
This author admits Chrome is better. Google cannot disable his access to Chrome. If it's cancelled, then IT IS open source, and someone can run with it and make a new project (much like Cyanogen). If in the future it requires you to use other products in certain ways, then it IS open source.
There is literally no reason to not use Chrome, other than spite.
If someone else prefers another browser, that's fine. But none of the stated rationale explain why the author abandoned it.
"in the interest of free as in freedom software". Can you make any sense of that?
They can disable access to some of the functionality - for example bookmarks, password sync, what tabs you had open etc. Suddenly having a "naked" browser without any of that could be disconcerting and problematic.
My bigger point was that if you use Google (or anyone else) for 15 different things then all 15 won't be best of breed. (Obviously some could be.) Putting all your eggs in one basket means getting less than the best for some of those 15, likely the majority.
Using open solutions means you can use the best for you.
> ... free as in freedom ...
It was as a contrast to "open". For example it is possible to have open protocols, but implementing them requires licensing fees, or dealing with patents, or paying for certification. See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html and apply it to software running on either end of open protocols.
Another point that actually bothers me more is how inflexible this is. You can't mix & match the best services when sticking to one ecosystem. And you cant take part of new development happening elsewhere. So you're actually missing out on all the cool stuff happening elsewhere, and the longer you use these services the harder it is to switch to something else.
I now use the opposite strategy, having several various providers, preferably not free, while one company provides only one service, i.e. one for bookmarks, another one for email, etc. I found that I don't miss the synergy effect as much as I thought.
My guess is more will come out, and people will see that trusting private corporations with private data isn't a great idea.
I'd call the reasoning used in this article "Reader Derangement Syndrome".
It sounds like he's more concerned about the NSA stuff than having services shut down but never really says that. It's just a weird rant as far as I can tell.
Personal email would be the most important service to get under your own control, and it's the hardest of all problems to solve.
... a lead time of months, with daily notifications in the final month? But he's willing to go with other cloud services?
As for the total abandoment of google products, it seems petulant. 'I won't do Android, I'll do Cyanogen instead!'?
GMail is excellent at search and spam filtering, everything else is just a standard e-mail service. The tutorial points out how you can at least try and match the level of spam filtering with the community based Pyzor.
I wrote about how I use Google-alternatives here:
An addendum to that, since the article mentioned Music and OwnCloud: I use Subsonic to stream my music collection, the Android app is very nice in how it caches so I always feel like I have full access to my complete collection without getting huge mobile data bills; I don't think OwnCloud's music app can match Subsonic quite yet.
* We’re reworking the Music app this summer, see http://kabum.github.io/2013/06/20/GSoC-First-report/
* There is a stable News app to read RSS feeds: http://algorithmsforthekitchen.com/blog/?p=580
Wow, my Gmail calendar is the one thing I can't see doing without. View from anywhere, seeing my team members schedule, adding invites to each other's calendars. It's pretty much my task (or reminder) list as well.
If anyone has any questions about privacy on Photographer.io or any other general questions then I'd be happy to answer. You can also email them over to email@example.com if you prefer.
(Yes, I'm being glib, but with a point - there are real downsides to moving away from services like Google that have industrial-strength cloud services behind them. Just because you can move to other things or self-host to improve privacy doesn't mean there aren't major tradeoffs.)
We need a single, all in one solution for all the basic things: email, search, video, photos, social networking, calendar, sync and maps. Have I forgotten anything? Another essential app is a Tor-like browser with strong privacy support.
All of this needs to be bundled in a private cloud app capable of handling from one person to a group with thousands of people, like, for example, a university.
We need to be able to own our own data, to have access to our logs and to be the only party who has access to our logs. This whole thing needs to be open source and thoroughly tested.
Last year I moved back to a paper diary and a mechanical pencil. It is considerably more flexible, readable and editable. I hit several brick walls with computer based calendars particularly with having to add complex events like "every third Friday but not the 25th because I'm on holiday then".
Free form is sometimes better than structure.
Its like going from a relational database to a document store.
For example, if you want to be reminded every third Friday of the month, except on 19th of July because you're on holiday, you can write:
OMIT 19 July MSG Holiday
REM Fri 15 SKIP MSG My Event
$ remind -s6 test.rem
2013/07/19 * * * * Holiday
2013/08/16 * * * * My Event
2013/09/20 * * * * My Event
2013/10/18 * * * * My Event
2013/11/15 * * * * My Event
2013/12/20 * * * * My Event
Plus I have to have a network connection and log into a UNIX box for it which I can't do whilst I'm on the phone as it's stuck to my head at the time.
I'd rather have neither than any that aren't trustworthy.
A paper calendar and pencil simply doesn't scale if you need to share & sync calendar events with a team or group of people. Or simply want to keep your phone's datebook in sync with the one in your email client, etc.
It scales fine. In fact it scaled for hundreds of years before electronic calendars appeared. They mobilized two world wars with pens, paper and typewriters.
Synchronisation is not an issue if you have one single source of truth.
It seems your argument against a digital calendar holds for all the things you're seeking a non-Google replacement for. In light of that, do we really need email or blogs, or federated IM, for that matter? Write a letter instead.
It's a weird combination of laziness and an unwillingness to use other tools (email, issue tracking, typing). If they just typed up an agenda (heck, Confluence has a template ready) we could probably wrap up the whole thing while I'm goofing around on HN.
Having to go through an EA/PA to schedule meetings is one of the best ways of exchanging money for time, plus you end up having one person who never makes you cringe, unless you start worrying that they're giving notice because they're starting their own company or moving across the country.
It's still in my start menu somehow, although I disabled it. And this is happening to a guy who religiously scans and cleans his Windows partition.
I recommend everyone stay away.
At the end of the email marketing remains the numero uno method of user acquisition and retention. With the new features such as priority inbox and automated classification of personal emails/promotion emails it is going to make it impossible for new consumer web startups to succeed.
If Google managed to snuff out such a widely reviled marketing channel, it would be an enormously disruptive force in the tech industry. And disruptive forces aren't hurtful for the startup community at all. Disruption makes room for innovation.
Sure, it'd be bad news for SendGrid, but it'd be awesome news for some lucky group of people in the 2015 YC batch.
I would rather see a more distributed and open system that helps people get rid of the promotional emails or not.
Times will change again.
Some people like being informed about the products/services they use - in this case, the email marketing they opt into is a periodic newsletter of sorts. When a new feature or improvement is released, some people like receiving an email notifying them of the release. Again, such an email is marketing. For larger companies, there's a marketing team who designed the email and wrote the copy for it.
Don't confuse email marketing with spam. Some marketing is spam, much of it is not.
> Unsub is stupidly easy to find and use. No, I don't need to fill out your survey or login and use textboxes to complete.
> I signed up for it. The default on the signup page was no. There was clear seperation between boxes that had to be ticked and ones that didn't.
If you don't you lose the semi-legitimate and you're getting marked as spam.
It's interesting how the recent NSA revelations didn't play a role in this decision. Providing NSA access to user data - Fine, whatever. Shutting down a service - How dare you! Evil company! Consumerism trumps the civil rights.
There’s also a great RSS feed reader for ownCloud since some time: http://algorithmsforthekitchen.com/blog/?p=580 – installable from the App settings, would be cool if you can add that.
I do use the Google search sometimes, and sites that retrieve from GoogleAPIs, but frequently dumping all cookies, cache and such and changing browser details will keep you off the radar if you wish.
People speak as if it's a big hassle to avoid depending on big companies - or to avoid the tracking and wiretapping - and but it's really just a question of the relative values one attches to privacy and convenience.
The lack of Linux support for their downloader is annoying, but I don't feel the need to download entire albums particularly frequently. When I do, spinning up a Windows VM is the work of but a moment (I haven't tried running the downloader under wine, but it probably works well).
I don't mean to excuse Amazon for their Windows-only mindset or suggest that lack of Linux support won't be a big deal for you, but don't let this post discourage you from trying it in case you're a Linux user who wants to give it a shot.
Disclaimer: I feel strongly about this topic  and think that most of HNers should too.
I am trying to do the same thing. Problem is, I used my gmail address everywhere already. My contacts know me by my gmail address. Dropbox identifies me by my gmail address .. you know what I mean.
I moved my custom domain emails to fastmail. But my @gmail account can't be moved. I really don't know what to do with it. I am stuck.
After about a year or so of that (plus having the presence of mind to update your email address whenever you use a service), you should be able to delete your account without too much inconvenience. Yes, it's a pain, but that's how lock-in works.
I had a bit of trouble adapting to the kinds of results I
was getting and what sort of language I used when
searching (I didn’t realize how tuned-in to Google’s
search algorithms my subconscious had become), but after
using it for a while I began to love it.
Made the painful move back to firefox on all my computer after being used to Chrome. I have started using DDG in desktops but still depend on google on my mobile devices. Email, I am still stuck with gmail as the primary mail box (Which I am actively working on to move out to paid account).