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How To De-Google-ify Your Life: The Complete Guide To Leaving Google (impossiblehq.com)
34 points by joelrunyon on Jan 10, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

Hush Mail – Hushmail is free email service with privacy and no ads. I haven’t used this personally but it’s a good option for the privacy-conscious.

It certainly is.

If you intend on getting fucked over.

Hushmail has a history of complying with arbitrary appeals, and has sent plaintext transcripts of messages many times in the past. Look it up. Jacob Appelbaum also explicitly warned to stay away from them at this year's 30c3 talk on Tor.

As for search engines, don't forget Startpage: https://startpage.com/

Plenty of FOSS howtos here http://www.howtoforge.com/howtos/email

Will add startpage to the list. Thanks!

Author Here: Got gmail back when people were begging for invites and over the years found using their services out of "convenience". Lots of the recent changes have made me start looking for alternatives. I'm not technical, so I may have missed some self-hosted solutions, but I'm open to suggestions on anything I may have missed.

Taking up your mention of self-hosting, it would be interesting to see an attempt at the same article, but using only software from the Debian repository. Any takers?

..and not one of these is even close to being feature complete. I could get bare IMAP 20 years ago.

There's a very damn good reason that Google's services are so popular.

I wouldn't use feature-completeness as the goal.

I was a Gmail user since it was released[0], and while it was certainly unique back then, I realized recently that almost none of the features I use nowadays are Google-specific[1].

In fact, the one major annoyance of Google's mail services for me is IMAP! Namely - Google provides an IMAP-like interface, but it isn't quite the same as IMAP, and it has a number of warts that make it not impossible to use, but certainly uncomfortable.

I have seen a number of mail/IMAP clients literally special-case Google's idiosyncrasies into their IMAP handling because of this.

[0] Now it's 2014, and it feels kind of weird to think that I've had my Gmail account for almost 10 years.

[1] Even in 2004, most of what Gmail provided was unique to web-based email, but had been around for a while on desktop mail clients. That, and the 1GB of storage, which felt excessive at the time (how things change!).

Don't get me wrong - I like(d) lots of google projects. However, the goal with this list was to diversify the different services you're use for different purposes. Like I stated in the post - I know a lot of people who have done something (out of malice or ignorance) and gotten on the wrong side of Google and had whole accounts shut down, eliminated or made inaccessible..

From a business perspective - that's a really bad position to be in. The goal here was to hopefully bring that to light a little & provide alternatives that are "as good as" and sometimes better than the google option.

Regarding Gmail: I've been using Google Apps for Domains for years, among other things to host my private family domain. All family members, wife, kids, have email accounts there.

Around New Year my 7-year old son's account was permanently suspended. Even I as the superadmin of the domain can't unlock it, there is no way to get the data out. What happened is he tried to register G+. No, our young kids don't have G+ or FB accounts. They are not allowed to and we monitor how they use Internet. But it's hard to avoid running into G+ these days. So my son clicked on a link somewhere. It turned out that a person younger than 13 years are not allowed to have a google account. Period. It's a violation of their TOS. Even though outside of USA, GMail or Google apps for domains never explicitely asked you for your age. Not before G+, and even now only if you register your G+ profile.

Bottom line: I have no other choice than to de-google-ify my life. Google forced me to do it. I know you can lie about age of your kid but doing so is risky. See above.

I have a cronjob that runs every hour to backup all Gmail inboxes to a IMAP server (dovecot) so in my case it's not a disaster. But imagine if I wasn't so paranoid about Google...

Also as they say if the service is free you are their product. These days everywhere every time when I can I choose the paid option.

"At least with these options, you’re diversifying the companies you give your data to."

Why is this better than giving it to one company? Won't I just get more ads?

The argument is the same as applied to governance, you don't want to give one person or entity too much power.

I find the crusade against Google ridiculous for the most part, they're one of the few entities who are doing actual, quantifiable good in this world whilst demanding surprisingly little of me. Compare with for instance Facebook which is really just Zuckerberg's boyish stalker-fetish turned billion-dollar industry.

The flip side of spreading your data across several providers is that you are increasing the odds of finding a problem. But the problem will have a smaller impact (hopefully).

But you're not actually splitting your data across several providers, in many cases, you're making copies of the same data, and so you're actually increasing your exposure.

I don't think you really can 'De-Google-ify' your life.

Think about it, if you visit a site and they're using Google Analytics, you're part of Google data. Same with sites using adwords. Firefox and Google are partners (hence the default Google Search in Firefox). You can avoid hosting your videos on youtube, but are you really not going to watch YouTube videos? Ever??

In the end, though you can cancel your Google Accounts, and not 'actively' use their services, you'd have to block adsense and analytics in your browser, but if you're doing that, you're really harming the site-owner more than google (I suspect).

After consulting at Google last year, my position on them softened - really a pretty cool company, doing many good things.

I use an email address on my own domain, but route it through Gmail for convenience. It takes me about twenty minutes to reroute it, something I have tested a few times.

I did move my blog away from blogger last year, and I just use Chrome for Gmail, twitter, and Facebook. I do all other browsing using Firefox with tight security and anti tracking settings.

I think these steps are reasonable compromises that I also recommend to my non-tech family and friends.

I'd recommend Piwik (http://piwik.org/) as a decent self-hosted alternative to Google Analytics that is quick to set up on any PHP based hosting.

I have been using it also and agree it is worth a look. I keep meaning to move more of my sites to using piwik but time keeps going by without that happening, [sigh].

No self-hosted/FOSS alternatives. This is a bit disappointing.

I could have sworn I saw an EFF (?) link back in June (post-Snowden) containing a list of FOSS alternatives to a bunch of services (Gmail, Skype, Google Analytics), etc. For some reason I can't find it now, though - hopefully someone else has this saved somewhere.

EDIT Thanks to vezzy-fnord below: https://prism-break.org/en/

They seem to have updated their layout since then, but I'm fairly certain this is the same site that I was referring to.

I'd say that notes is better than Textedit if you're looking for something dead simple. Simply because it cross syncs to all your Apple devices (considering you're in the Apple ecosystem). So I end up starting blog posts on my phone and finishing them on my computer as if they were synced with dropbox or something. Mavericks added notebooks so you have some simple organisation. The lack of formatting just lets me get back to writing.

Ironically, I find the hardest Google product for me to ditch is Maps. DuckDuckGo is a decent alternative to search and I use both, but there isn't anything else at the level of google maps.

Still, only using three google things (third being youtube - don't have an account, but watch stuff) isn't so bad.


Listing Microsoft products as an alternative to Google. Why bother?

I'm sticking with Google so that their killer robots will have information about me and hopefully know that I'm friendly.

Great Read!

Hey Michael,

rather than post 'Great Read!', it's best to just upvote the article. Comments are really for commentary on HN, not for Kuddos.

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