How I Fully Quit Google (And You Can, Too)
It’s been a year since this was published, and I’m still Google-free! Here’s my follow-up story on how it is to live outside the Google-bubble, and why more than ever before we need to ramp up the fight for a free, open, and decentralized web.
Over the past six months, I have gone on a surprisingly tough, time-intensive, and enlightening quest — to quit using, entirely, the products of just one company — Google. What should be a simple task was, in reality, many hours of research and testing. But I did it. Today, I am Google free, part of the western world’s ultimate digital minority, someone who does not use products from the world’s two most valuable technology companies (yes, I don’t use Facebook either).
This guide is to show you how I quit the Googleverse, and the alternatives I choose based on my own research and personal needs. I’m not a technologist or a coder, but my work as a journalist requires me to be aware of security and privacy issues.
I chose all of these alternatives based solely on their merit, usability, cost, and whether or not they had the functionality I desired. My choices are not universal as they reflect my own needs and desires. Nor do they reflect any commercial interests. None of the alternatives listed below paid me or are giving me any commission whatsoever for citing their services.
But First: Why?
Here’s the thing. I don’t hate Google. In fact, not too long ago, I was a huge fan of Google. I remember the moment when I first discovered one amazing search engine back in the late 1990’s, when I was still in high school. Google was light years ahead of alternatives such as Yahoo, Altavista, or Ask Jeeves. It really did help users find what they were seeking on a web that was, at that time, a mess of broken websites and terrible indexes.
Google soon moved from just search to providing other services, many of which I embraced. I was an early adopter of Gmail back in 2005, when you could only join via invites. It introduced threaded conversations, archiving, labels, and was without question the best email service I had ever used. When Google introduced its Calendar tool in 2006…