Google. Where do I start?
My first introduction to google besides the search engine was email. I jumped on when it was in beta and the only way you could join was to be invited. I dove deep into the google infrastructure through the years. G-mail, Google+, YouTube, Google ads, Google Hangouts, Google search, Google Chrome, Google Chromecast, Google Photos, Google Drive, and Google Home.
Recently though, I’ve been feeling the need to pull away from using web services from large corporations. Hence my fascination with the Fediverse. This has lead me to re-examine my dependency on Google, and what I might be able to do to lessen it.
Now, I haven’t used Google+ in years, nor Google ads, nor Google Hangouts. So I don’t have to worry about them. Here are the ones I’m dealing with…
I have 3 G-mail accounts. One for signing up for, whatever, and the other two are just normal email accounts. I don’t do a ton of emailing anymore. These days it’s just to get notifications about things like renewals, orders, and of course “special offers”. Because of chat and social media, I haven’t had an email conversation with anyone in probably well over 15 years?
So switching to another email provider shouldn’t be difficult.
The email service recommended to me the most is ProtonMail. Touted by those in the know as being one of the most secure email services that you can find. On their recommendation I created a free account. With it you get…
150 messages per day
And yes, I know, 500MB doesn’t seem like enough. But like I said, I’m not using it that much and once I get the notice I can delete it and save storage space. Not that big of a deal.
The only reason I would upgrade to the next tier is vanity. Plain and simple. For $4 a month or $48 a year, I can get the following…
5 GB storage
Send up to 1000 messages per day
Labels, Custom Filters, and Folders
Send encrypted messages to external recipients
Use your own domain (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Up to 5 email aliases
Priority Customer Support
The only reason I would upgrade is for the domain email, but I don’t really need it. I already have email forwarding on both domains that I own, so I can just have it all forwarded to my proton email.
This one is easy. I’ve stopped using Google search and have started using DuckDuckGo.com. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and it’s great. They don’t track, they block trackers, give unbiased results, very much pro privacy, etc. Switching has been easy and all of my results have been great. I definitely recommend using it.
Another easy one. I stopped using Chrome and I’ve started using Firefox as my primary browser. I can do everything that I could do with Chrome. Both on my pc and my Iphone. They sync together better then Chrome did, so +1 for FireFox!
I spend a TON of time on YouTube. Lot’s of subscriptions and I surf the recommended list like I used to with cable tv. I spend more time on YouTube then I do any other entertainment service. It appeals to my ADD, and my desire to learn. No one else has their amount of content. Where else can I go to learn how to make a cake out of bologna or learn that Russians all have dashboard cameras? This is one of those things that Google does that no one else does as well. Until that happens, I’ll keep using YouTube.
Photos ( and cloud drive )
I’ve been using Google Photos and Google Drive since they both started. I have gigabytes of pictures stored there as well as documents and other things. What I need to do is back them up on a portable hard drive, but in the back of my head I’m always worried about “what if the hard drive fails?”. Of course there’s the other side which is, “what if the storage service goes out of business or gets shut down?”. So it’s a calculated gamble either way. What I think I’ll do is back all of my stuff on a hard drive AND on to a new storage service. Right now I’m looking at is Pcloud.com. Their name kept popping up when I searched for “Google Drive alternatives” so I decided to give them a go. You get 10 gigs for free when you download their app and of course they offer larger storage for pay. I’m not looking to pay a monthly fee, but I’ll admit that their “Lifetime” deal at $175 for 500 gigs is a pretty sweet deal. I’d probably get it if I had the money.
I don’t though, so I may end up creating a second account. 20gigs should be enough.
The REAL issues…
I own 2 Chromecasts, and 2 Google Home assistants ( one Mini and one Home ) and I’m not giving them up. Not only are they practical for me to use because they don’t force me to move when my arthritis has flared up, but they’re just so damn convenient. Google excels in this area and until someone comes up with a better home assistant, Google has me here. I don’t see a way around it.
I log in with Google to SO MANY WEBSITES. I’m not even sure if I can remember them all. It’s SO convenient ( there’s that word again ) . But that’s how they suck you in isn’t it? Convenience. At least with this one, I don’t feel as tied to it as I do the Google Assistants and Chromecasts. It’ll just mean I’ll have to enter usernames and passwords myself, which if I’m being realistic, is probably a better idea anyway.
Nope. Not done yet…
I thought I had finished writing this article. I was about to hit the “publish” button when I suddenly recalled three more services. So I went back and add Google Photos, Drive, and Verification. I can’t believe how deep I am into the Google infrastructure! That’s crazy to me!
Good news over all, is that I can leave MOST of Google, but not all of it. I think that’s a good start.
If you have any recommendations for better web services then the ones I’ve mentioned, feel free to suggest in the comment section. I’ll check them all out.