De-Googlify your life!
In our current lifestyle, we’ve become so much dependent on Google. We do many things that are actively or passively dependent on Google from dawn to dusk. But if you want to get out of that Google bubble, these are some alternatives you can use to replace some of the Google services.
Replace the search engine
Let’s start by replacing the search engine. There are a lot of alternatives available for the Google search engine. One popular alternative is DuckDuckGo. It is a privacy-focused search engine that keeps no logs of users, also it blocks all the trackers. So you can go searching with complete peace of mind.
Replace your Email provider
Gmail is simply the most popular and most used Email provider out there. But if you want to come out of it, one best alternative that you have is Outlook mail. This email service from Microsoft provides the same amount of cloud storage as Gmail i.e 15GB. Also, it does a good job of detecting spam emails.
However, if you want more secure and open source alternatives, Protonmail and Tutatnota mail can be great alternatives. They provide E2E Encryption to all your emails and do not track your activities. However, the only caveat though is that they offer very less cloud storage i.e 500MB and 1GB respectively.
Replace your Browser
Google chrome is the most used browser out there. But it does some amount of tracking. So if you want a more privacy-centric browser, definitely give Brave browser a shot. It blocks all the trackers by default and also gives an ad-free browsing experience. It has a built-in TOR integration. So if you want to search the web with the utmost security, brave browser got you covered. But if you are not interested in Brave, the following are some privacy-centric alternatives that you can try.
Replace Google maps
Google maps is one of those few services that are very tough to replace. Luckily we have a few alternatives. The best alternative to Google maps is probably Apple maps. But it is limited only to Apple devices.
But if you do not have an Apple device, you can go with HERE Maps. HERE Maps might not do so well in India. So try Mappls, an Indian-made navigation app specifically for Indians. But these are still not very good alternatives to Google or Apple’s solutions for navigation. So you still might have to keep Google maps in an emergency.
Replace Google workspace
Google workspace is a great place to collaboratively work with your colleagues and friends on documents, sheets and slides. However, Microsoft office also provides a similar workspace.
But Office requires a subscription, right? — you may ask.
Well… not if you are ok using it on the browser, just like Google workspace.
Everybody must have used MS office workspace at least once in their life. So most people will be more familiar with the MS office than Google docs. Hence making it an easy recommendation.
Replace Google drive
Assuming that you have moved to MS office workspace, you will get 5GB of OneDrive cloud storage which will be enough for most of the documenting work for most people. However, if you want to store other files like images, videos and other documents, you can look at other cloud options like Mega.
I have personally used Mega and it is a really good cloud option. It offers 20GB of cloud storage and we can share files through encrypted links. Mega says it stores all the files using E2E encryption. It also hosts its code on Github, hence adding that to the trust factor.
Replace your conference app
Google meet has become one of those very important tools for office work nowadays. Due to WFH, a lot of office meetings have moved online using Google meet. Luckily, this sector has taken a pretty big jump since the Covid and there are a number of alternatives. Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex and Zoom; just to name a few.
Replace Google forms
Google forms have become a go-to solution for conducting small surveys for most people. However, Microsoft offers a similar solution namely Microsoft Forms.
It is so similar to Google forms, but just in under the cover of Microsoft. You can accept multiple forms of responses like Text form, Options form, Multiple choice and etc. All the responses will be shown in beautiful infographic diagrams just like Google forms do. All the responses will be saved to an excel file. So definitely give a shot to MS Forms.
Replace Play store
Playstore needs no introduction. This is the place we go to download any app. But if you want to replace the play store, the best alternative we have is Aurora Store. It basically runs on the base of the play store but without all the tracking done by Google. It doesn’t even need a Google account to be signed in to use the app. So Aurora store might be a perfect replacement for the Play Store.
If you want to try other alternatives, here are a few:
Replace your calendar
Many people use Google calendar to plan their day, schedule meetings and etc. I have become an integral part of our workflow for many people. However, if you want to try a new calendar that is way more secure, you can take a look at Proton Calendar and Tutanota Calendar.
Replace your keyboard
Gboard comes as a default keyboard for most modern smartphones. However, a good alternative for Gboard would be FlorisBoard and Swiftkey Keyboard. FlorisBoard is an open-source keyboard app, it’s source code is open on Github.
Replace your OS
And the last thing you can do De-Google is replace your OS by flashing a custom ROM. Here is an article by MakeUseOf on the best privacy-respecting Android ROMs.
Refer to this article by XDA-Developers to learn how to flash a custom ROM.
It’s not a very easy task to replace completely remove Google from our life. We one way or another will still encounter Google at some point. Also, not every alternative listed here provides complete value like their Google counterpart does. But still, if you are a privacy freak, above mentioned alternatives are some of the best to consider.
If I have missed out on any other alternatives that you know, please comment them below.
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