How to Keep Google From Owning Your Online Life

I speckled a video of

Donald Glover,

co-star of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” giving a Millennium Falcon tour. Even on my many clever guard, we still clicked a red play button. A few seconds in, we satisfied we was examination YouTube—Google’s YouTube.

Google is so woven into a fabric of a internet it’s all though unfit to avoid. It’s where billions of users find, emanate and store critical information, where they work and confuse themselves from working. You can quit

Facebook

or take a

Twitter

mangle and frequency notice, save for an increasing clarity of dullness in a

Starbucks

line. Google, you’d miss.

But even some-more than other companies charity giveaway services, Google collects strange amounts of information about you and uses it to sell ads. I’m happy with Google, since to date there haven’t been reports of inauspicious breaches or data-sharing scandals on a turn of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica nightmare. If Google springs a leak, it could be disastrous.

That’s because we set out to leave Google’s universe of intertwined products and services. And when we did, we was astounded to find how many clever alternatives had survived a gravitational pull.

Avoiding Google's many renouned product is as elementary as changing your browser's default hunt engine.

Trading spaces

Quitting Google takes some-more than usually typing “bing.com.” we deleted 16 apps from my phone, from Gmail to Google Maps to Google Photos. we unplugged my Google Home, yanked a Chromecast from a behind of my TV, and powered down my Chromebook. Luckily we don’t possess a Nest thermostat, or this would have turn a construction project.

I hadn’t satisfied before how my life had come to revolve around Google products. To reinstate them, we brought in an Amazon Echo and a

Microsoft

Surface Laptop. we used a Notion app and

Dropbox

Paper for records and documents, and switched cord-cutting devotion from YouTube TV to Sling. we deleted a Chrome browser from all my devices, and commissioned Firefox in a place.

Most Google services have candid replacements: Microsoft’s giveaway Office Online for Docs and Sheets; Signal for Hangouts; Evernote for Keep; and Flipboard for Google News. In many cases we can download your Google information regulating a Takeout service, upload it to a new app—for instance, bringing email and calendars into Outlook—and frequency skip a beat. iPhone users who switch their hunt engine to Bing or DuckDuckGo and use Apple’s capability apps occasionally confront Google.

During my time though Google, we missed Maps, Photos and YouTube most. Other navigation services exist (MapQuest lives!), though even a latest Apple Maps can’t kick Google Maps for traversing a genuine world. My Google Photos comment contains years of memories, and Google’s intelligent print hunt is by distant a best.

YouTube, meanwhile, is a usually diversion in city for internet video. (Vimeo has engaging projects, though it’s a handful of silt vs. YouTube’s beach.) Without YouTube, I’m certain I’ve missed dozens of trailers, song videos, late-night clips and useful tutorials I’d have differently enjoyed. That prevalence is a concern, generally when YouTube is underneath inspection for allowing—and even recommending—fake and iniquitous videos.

Avoiding Google was hardest during work. We use Google’s G Suite of craving apps, so Gmail, Google Drive, Docs and Sheets enclose a infancy of my work. we had to force Dropbox Paper on my co-workers, and warned them emailing me wouldn’t do many good. (They still emailed.)

I even encountered Google in astonishing places, like when an app that uses two-factor authentication asked for a formula from Google Authenticator. Or when we non-stop my to-do-list app and satisfied I’d used my Google comment to record in.

Give and take

As Google products have taken over, they’ve also turn some-more close-knit and closed. Google Search tries to answer your questions though ever holding we to another site. Gmail’s best confidence facilities are a con to use, solely for other Gmail users. The Chrome browser is a misfortune offender: Some Google services, like Google Earth, work usually in Chrome—though Google says it’s changing that.

Many apps offer simple navigation—even from good aged MapQuest—but zero rivals Google Maps for traversing a genuine world.

Chrome commands scarcely 60% marketplace share, according to analytics association Statcounter—over 4 times as vast as second-place Safari. It has outsize change over a destiny of a web. Companies such as Airbnb and Bank of America have destined users to Chrome for a “optimized” versions of their sites. If we use a Google product in another browser, Google frequently prompts we to download Chrome. (Google says it is dedicated to ancillary other browsers.)

By roughly any measure, Google collects some-more information than Facebook. we suggest doing a consummate review of your My Activity page, that displays all Google watches we do. You should also conduct and undo information by Google’s privacy and confidence checkups.

On a new day, Google tracked me in 468 opposite activities—many that had zero to do with Google, solely that we did them regulating a Chromebook, Android phone or Chrome browser. Even on one of my Google-free days, that series was still 18—thanks to apps that were logged in around my Google comment (and my fiancée opening a YouTube app on a Roku).

When we get out of Google's bubble, you'll find a startling series of useful choice apps. Even Bing works good for many searches.

I also suggest perplexing some-more non-Google program and services. It isn’t like Facebook, where we have to get all your friends to leave with you.Download Firefox, that has programmed antitracking facilities and some nifty ways to conduct and share tabs. Switch to Bing or DuckDuckGo—believe it or not, they are usually as good as Google for many things. Take your assembly records in Dropbox Paper.

You don’t need to stop regulating Google products altogether—and as we found, we most can’t if we try. But make certain you’re regulating usually a products we want, and extenuation Google entrance to your information usually when you’re removing something we value in return.

After scarcely a week of not regulating Google products, I’m blissful to finish my experiment. we can finally finish that Donald Glover video, and we haven’t found a improved email complement than Gmail or a improved navigator than Maps. Still, a look outward a Googlesphere helped me find some glorious alternatives—many with some-more concentration on privacy—to a apps I’d used too mostly by default. Going forward, I’ll be a improved citizen of a internet—not usually a one Google created.

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