Complete Guide to Removing Google from Your Life
We are all aware that data collection goes on every time we go on the internet.
From ISP’s to the NSA, data collection is here, and there isn’t much individuals can do about it.
If these two areas are not bad enough, there is Google placed in the middle who collects more data than any other business around the globe.
Everything we do is seen by Google, even if they offer some of the best free services, they are all harvesting snippets of data with each page we visit, or search we make.
Many individuals don’t know there are plenty of opensource alternatives, which we can use as replacements.
Nowadays, there is a vast number of individuals that are fed up with targeted ads, and the intrusion of privacy.
Google is a part of our lives and individuals don’t often realize how much information they hand over to Google subconsciously.
There are countless areas, where their services appear harmless, but underneath, they operate the same as all of their others.
With all this, and more, we will look at how you can rid your life of Google, or at least minimize the impact of their snooping and intrusion of your privacy and use alternatives to Google where possible.
When you look at the list of Google products, it is extensive. From Chrome, Google Maps, Google Docs to name but a few.
These applications and services are everywhere, and are used by millions because of their convenience. One of the more recent additions they include is their Google assistant. Privacy using this will be all but shattered.
With this service, individuals can do anything from ordering pizza, booking flights, or anything else they can think of. Each time a single word is uttered; this can be stored and harvested so a profile of your habits is being directly fed to Google.
Even governments are making a stance against this intrusion, and this can be seen with the European Union’s launch of the General Data Protection Regulations.
Google may have links with the NSA and CIA, while not proven, it is often spoken about.
If this is true, it means the American government agencies have access to the habits of their citizens, as well as habits of anyone who uses the internet.
Users may not be aware, that when they order something online, or use the Google assistant, this online privacy intrusion is now encroaching into their off-line lives as well as.
To reclaim our privacy, we need to be doing what many others are already undertaking.
That is to stop using Google products just because they are convenient, and look for better alternatives, they are out there, and in some cases, they are actually better.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Not Using Google Products
There plenty of Google Privacy Issues all users of the internet should have concerns over. The data harvesting will not get any better, and will only get worse as time goes on.
Here are five reasons users should consider ditching Google products and to look for other alternatives.
This is the most basic concern, and any user who uses Google search or has a Gmail account will have a profile of their activities. Here, they use their analytics to pull out all relevant information on users.
What makes this worse is this information is given to marketing corporations around the world, so your information is becoming even less private.
Users may not think this goes on, but the company made almost $100 billion in 2017 by selling on user data to marketers.
2. Google Chrome
While this browser enables tracking on a completely different level, there is the concern of all your activities being recorded.
This is the main culprit of all Google products and services that delivers information back to them.
While users can use ad-blockers, Google are even looking at blocking ad-blockers so they can continue targeting ads.
While this delivers an effective email account. This doesn’t mean it is safe. Not only can they use this to track you and your contacts, hackers are busy gleaning email addresses and information. The service may appear secure, but email accounts or email servers are hacked on an almost daily basis.
4. Data leaks
Users may thing Google Docs is a secure alternative to other online office products.
Nowadays, it may be more secure than it used to be, but a few years ago, there was a big that allowed 0.5% of all the documents stored on the servers to be leaked.
The number of documents stored no compared to then will be significantly more, so if there are bugs in the service now, this number will rise considerably.
5. Google Maps
How will you feel if you knew someone knew where you were every second of the day?
Google maps knows your location, especially if you do searches for other locations. Your starting points are used to calculate distances to a destination. This information can be used by anyone with criminal intent.
In the case of Google, they can see everywhere you stop or go on your route.
Google Search Engine Alternatives
When looking for Google search engine alternatives, you need to understand why this need is there. For one, Google Trackers are in around 75% of the top million or so websites on the internet.
Any search results you find, means there is a likelihood you will be tracked by more than a few occasions.
Aside form this, there is the website tracking which is different to the search terms you are looking for.
There are a few Google search alternatives, and while users may think they don’t deliver good results, they are in some cases better than Google because their results are not manipulated. You will see real world results, and not results that Google wants you to see.
Here are 5 alternatives to Google search that can stop the company logging all your search queries.
For privacy, DuckDuckGo is better than Google. Its reputation as being a privacy centric option is well documented. It doesn’t track any search results, online activity which leads to minimal ads following you around.
It delivers a clean user interface and delivers results from other search engines. There is a DDG extension you can add to your browser to further enhance privacy.
It offers one extra cool feature, you can search sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon using an exclamation mark (!w as an example). A drop down allows you to choose from a number of sites using their ‘Bangs’ feature. You can set the default search engine to use this in many browsers.
Qwant is a popular search engine that is located in France. The company claims to never harvest user data or record searches for means of targeting ads.
It delivers a feature set similar to DDG such as their Qwick Search Shortcuts which works in the same manner as the ‘Bangs’ shortcuts. Users are presented with a user friendly interface with everything being neatly organised.
When you search, you will be presented with three categories, which comprise News stories, Web and Social.
This search engine has a separate section for music lovers; they can hunt out new music or lyrics which uses the power of AI.
Search-Encrypt is a meta-search engine (they extract results of your search from the network of search partners), they make privacy the chief concern to ensure your online safety.
The website claims they keep no user information and uses local encryption to secure searches.
Search Encrypt does its best to prevent custom search filter bubbles. It has over 23 million visitors every day.
The top feature of this alternative to Google search is any local search history will expire, and they remove this every 15 minutes with browser inactivity.
Ixquick was an independent search engine besides Google that showed their own results.
Another search engine went into development called Start-Page. This was to include Google best search results but without tracking. In 2009, the two merged and operate under StartPage.
Besides delivering a good number of results for each search query, they offer a proxy service. Users are safe browse securely and anonymously.
To promote the internet with no cookies, users have a custom URL generator. This eliminates any need for cookies. They can save configurations in a privacy focused way.
Additionally, users can change themes. The search engine offers Air (the default), White, Night (Dark mode) and other modes.
Microsoft’s Bing is the number two most popular search engine. It has a decent market share and is the second largest search engine delivering visual when delivering search engine results.
They deal search results in this high-quality search engine from Yahoo!
The background of the search changes continually to show sports, nature, animals and many other images.
Bing presents ads and services such as conversion, translation, spell checking, sports scores and much more. This is the main Google competitor, and has mobile apps for Android, iOS.
With close to a billion users, it’s easy to see why Gmail rules the roost of top email clients. Users should never use only one email address, and this is true when it comes from the company which has more information on your than any other organization on the planet.
With claims of email spying in 2013 as a means of better targeting ads, and with this coming, the chance to synch all your email accounts using Gmail, they have a chance to see every email you send or receive.
With this, here are 5 alternatives to Gmail you can use. Using one of these, you will be able to have more than one email client open at once.
This is closely linked to your Windows operating system. Once you use it, you will find it is one of the best email alternatives to Gmail. It integrates well with Windows and you can synch all your OneDrive, OneNote, contacts, calendar and more.
Outlook.com doesn’t spy on your emails and you can set an expiration period where emails are automatically deleted.
Zoho is one of the top CRM packages around. With this, they deliver document storage and another 5 BG of free storage. For business, this can be the best Gmail alternative.
If you have a domain name, it is easy to setup your own email address through Zoho. Features include a simple interface without advertising, great synchronization with notes, documents, calendar, links, and seamless integration with the Zoho mail and CRM side of the online service.
FastMail has a reputation of being a feature rich email client. It used to be one of the popular Gmail alternatives when it was a part of the Opera web browser; it was pulled from this and went to a subscription-based service.
With this, business users get an ad free interface that is simple to use along with an antispam feature that is fully customisable. In addition, a calendar app synchs with your email, and thus allows you to send automatic replies.
This email service is based in Germany, and with this, users are presented with end-to-end encryption of their emails.
Being open source, there will be no behind the scenes shenanigans, and it can be the best free email account software for the privacy conscious.
The Android/ iOS app has no links at all with Google, so there is no chance of users being bombarded with ads.
Users can also choose from 5 domain names, get 1GB of free storage, and file transfer sizes of 25 MB.
This is another encrypted email service that is based in Switzerland where they also have all their servers. Emails are encrypted end to end, and there is not even any personal data needed to setup your email account.
ProtonMail is another opensource app, so nothing is hidden. It is easy to use and comes with a modern inbox design, which is optimized for productivity.
There is a free option, which allows 150 emails per day, and after this, you will need to upgrade which delivers much more on their already excellent service.
Google Calendar Alternatives
There are plenty of people who use the Google Calendar, but this does need a Gmail account to use. For many the Google doc’s calendar does little apart from being a convenience if they have a Gmail account.
Here are 5 great alternatives to this service that will help you manage your time efficiently.
TimeBlocks is a cross-platform task and calendar application. It helps users manage time effectively.
It comes with an attractive design, which facilitates the visualization of events. Users can code tasks by colours according to different categories.
One feature is the ability of assigning stickers to a specific day. This helps recognize any events with a quick glance. Users can add Google Photos accounts to search for pictures taken on specific dates.
TimeBlocks is free; however, some features only come when the app comes with a premium subscription.
TimeTree is an excellent free multi-platform calendar application for users who want to keep personal and work calendars separate. Adding to this, they can share and view their calendar easily.
Users can create event calendars in the application. Users may have calendars for different events, but, they can see everything in their daily schedule in the ‘My schedule or Feed tabs’. TimeTree runs on the web, iOS and Android.
Kolab Now is a group of tools, which is in fact based around a secure email client. It is open- source, so there is no way the source code can be made to do anything it should without anyone noticing.
As well as the email side of things, users can look forward to text messaging, and address book and efficient calendar.
The service is cross-platform so it runs on Windows, Chromebooks, Mac and Linux along with others.
It is easy to access Kolab on the web, as it is to use their Android and iOS apps. All the services to do with this calendar application are based in Switzerland, so users will know it faces strict privacy laws.
Mailbox.org is a virtual office that covers all areas. Once you log in, you can see all your tasks on your planner and calendar. It comes with a full featured address book and users can synchronise it across devices.
This app works online or offline and you can invite friends to tasks on your calendar by email.
With the Mailfence calendar, you can integrate plenty of things with no worries about missing any of them.
There is the Mailfence documents, Mailfence contacts and the group chat for collaboration between members.
The service allows you to share with whom you wish even with individuals who don’t have a Mailfence account.
With no tracking and free from government surveillance, users are safe while they are arranging all their tasks and memorable dates.
Google Chrome Alternative
The Google Chrome browser powers many other browser on the market, however, all of these strips out the intrusive parts. It is these parts of Chrome, which relay info back to Google, and is the main area where they get some of their data harvesting from.
Downloaded files, each URL you type, asks users to sign into their Google account, connects to sites in the background without asking for permission.
This is some of the features, and are the areas, which are intrusive. To top all these, the Chrome browser reports home every 30 minutes.
Here are some alternatives to Google Chrome:
This browser is one of the best ways you can secure your online activities. It is focused on privacy and is based on Firefox.
It uses a separate network, and can be slow. It is mainly used on the desktop, as the Android apps are still net yet fully released.
If you have heard of the dark web, then this is how users access it. If you want privacy, then this Tor browser is the best Google Chrome alternative.
This is one browser, which is based on Chrome, but it includes its own feature set. It now includes a VPN, although this isn’t fully featured.
Even if it doesn’t work as a full VPN it can be worth enabling it so there is no way Google can trace anything back to you.
It is a good alternative, and users who use it will miss nothing that Chrome offers.
The new incarnation of Firefox ‘Quantum’ is as fast as any Google Chrome apk download on Android. It is open-source, so there is no messing with the code, and it is not as harsh on system resources as Chrome.
While many browsers use Chrome as their base, this is built from the ground up and delivers a better experience without tracking in many areas.
Brave is touted, as being much faster than Chrome, but this isn’t the best features. It has a built in ad-blocker, a tracker blocker so any software, which follows you around the net, will have a hard time.
Like others, which are against the way Chrome reports home, this browser is open-source and was created by the co-founders of the Mozilla, project. These just happen to be the ones who started Firefox.
It can be the best Chrome alternative, but it still lacks as many features without needing to rely on Chrome extensions.
This browser is for users of macOS or iOS. It is fast and like many Apple software, it is secure. It comes with some solid security features and blocks ads and trackers.
The interface is user friendly and can synch across your devices. There is no risk of it letting your data slip back to Google because Apple isn’t the type of company to let anyone take advantage.
Google Drive Alternatives
Countless individuals use online storage. Google Drive is no different, but is Google Drive secure? From outsiders it is secure.
Data is encrypted when you send it and Google re-encrypt it at their end. However, if you as, is Google Drive Private?
Google scans and analyses everything you upload. While they say it is to protect and offer features, it boils down to seeing how they can make money from you with ads.
Here are some decent Google Drive alternatives:
This Canadian company makes it easy to share and access your documents and files. They use end-to-end encryption so everything is 100% private.
Files of any size can be sent to anyone, and multiple users can access the same sets of folders. You are always in control of your files, and the best is backups are synced automatically.
While not as capable as some of the cloud services, this is still among one of the best zero-knowledge services.
Users can use private encryption and you can encrypt links to send to other users when sharing files.
While it does allow users to view photos and play videos in a secure manner, it still struggles in the Microsoft office department.
This cloud storage service focuses on security. No matter if you need to comply with any local regulations such as GDPR, there are plenty of tools to help you along the way.
It allows you to automate your workflow in a secure manner. You can set file access and sharing and control any data you have on your cloud-storage.
Everything is encrypted by AES 256-bit encryption that is the same as many VPN’s use. It is a solid Google drive replacement that will not be sharing your data.
This online storage solution says even the administration cannot see your files. You can use their pCloud Crypto for this, and only you has the key. Files can be shared on a broad range of devices; they can be shared and worked on.
While it is a paid for service, users can sign up and get 10GB free storage for a single account. Like others, there is file management, sharing, backup and many more.
It was this storage service that really began it all. It is a decent alternative, but even their security and privacy is not the best when you look at others. What it lacks for in security, it makes up for in other features and usability.
Office online is well integrated and delivers very fast data syncing. If you have things, which are not sensitive, then it makes a viable option against Google Drive, but for sensitive data, the above options are a better bet.
Google Docs Alternatives
Google docs are not in fact a suite of applications, they are web pages hosted in your browser. Like many things Google, the company itself can see them.
They do claim they don’t see anything or their web spiders are not allowed to trawl these areas, but you never know.
Here are some Google doc alternatives:
This Google doc’s alternative comes with all the same features, and a few more. It has the same collaboration and editing and can be used for personal use.
A business will need to stump up the extra, which delivers many more business centric tools.
You can also integrate a cloud storage account, and from the main dashboard, you can do what you wish with your documents. The one downside is it is only available for Windows and Linux.
With Nuclino, you have a Google docs, photos or other information works in the same way as a website. There is no scrolling through lists, and you can keep organised visually.
The docs themselves are free from bloat and are a pleasure to use compared to the slow Google docs is now.
However, you wish to work with a team, and then Nuclino can help you to achieve this in a safe and secure manner.
You may not have heard of the name, but Zoho is a creator of business applications. They deliver secure CRM packages that combine plenty of Google doc alternatives.
It is more than a match for anything Google offers because the company specializes in this kind of software.
It also allows offline working and even a separate desktop app for this.
It may appear that Office 365 is Microsoft’s effort at online office. Nevertheless, it is a different beast because it is not free. However, it leaves Google docs in the dust to what it offers, and even language support trounces Google.
Not only this, but with the number of devices it works on, you can see why it is the preferred option. Some users even ditch the full desktop variant for this slimmed down version of the full office suite.
Libre office is another free office suite. It closely follows Microsoft Office because it was seen as a viable alternative. This alone lets you know it is heads above what Google docs can offer.
Device support, customer support and integrations are far ahead. It is a great tool for document creation and it is opensource so there will be no reporting home one every document you create.
Google Photos Alternatives
Although you have the convenience of access with Google photos, there is still the concerns of Google scanning what you upload and store. Not only this, but there are some restrictions on your pictures.
You actually have limited space, which is shared with other Google services, and if your pictures or videos are over a certain size, they will be down sampled. This means you may not be able to store an original quality picture.
Here a few Google Photos alternatives:
This photo service allowed unlimited storage of pictures and free backup. This allows you to have access without any pictures being on your device. It is 100% private and comes with bank-grade encryption.
It did have limitations in picture size, but this was clear. You could also share these pictures with families and friends.
This great Google photos alternative is opensource. Like other apps, there will be no code manipulation.
It has been online for almost 20 years and allows plenty of advanced features. There are themes plugins, batch management and permission control.
It is suitable for individuals, professionals and corporations. You can store medium sized galleries to vast image banks of pictures.
You can store any number of pictures with the same speeds regardless of numbers.
Flickr is online photo management tool where you can set the access. You can easily display your work or keep it private with no access.
It allows for short video uploads and will not change any of the quality of your pictures.
You can organise and synch to the cloud in a couple of clicks. To top this, it is nice and secure.
Google uses machine learning to organise your pictures. This means they do know what you are uploading.
Slidebox lets you do this manually. It may sound cumbersome, but you will thank yourself for doing it, and then you can remove Google photos from any devices you have it on.
You can easily create folders and with a swipe on the screen of your iOS or Android device, you can move them where you want or delete them.
Cluster is free and acts like a personal and private social media platform. You can take your pictures, shove them in folders, and invite friends or family to view them.
You will see who has looked at them and commented. You can also be invited to contribute to other peoples albums. This service does collect some user data to improve services.
It might be time to say goodbye YouTube. Although there is lots of content here, you are presented with what Google wants you to choose from.
When you watch one video, your options change. This means they know exactly what you find interesting, and with this, they can bombard you with targeted ads.
Here are some alternatives to YouTube:
This is one of the best alternatives to YouTube for music lovers. There is an endless supply of music videos available but it does lack some of the diversity of YouTube so the first couple of times you may be disappointed.
You always find high quality content, and the site is easy to use.
This site allows uploading videos of any length, so it can be one of the best alternative YouTube sites.
It delivers a clear user interface and has millions of videos available for users to choose from. You can start some social sharing to build up your popularity before you explode like many YouTubers. All this without the ads.
Bitchute is a P2P video platform. It focuses on people and free speech. It is free to join, and from then you can create your own videos and upload them at your leisure.
As you upload a video, these are decrypted, split into sections and spread around the cloud like torrent files.
This video sharing website pulls the files back together as users want to watch them. Because of this, it is hard to censor or ban any of the videos. It is a YouTube alternative, but it may serve specific sets of individuals.
This is the best alternative for YouTube. There are tons of options where users can discover sports, music festivals, comedy and video game streams.
The audience is massive and there are over 3.5 billion watched videos each month.
It is as old as YouTube and delivers a pared back experience. The difference being users can upload copyrighted material as well as nudity. This delivers more freedom for creators and uploaders.
Last on the YouTube replacements list is Vimeo. It is not directly trying to compete with YouTube but it is one of the better alternatives. It is home to artistic creators and delivers a great place for them to show off their work.
The downsides are you have limits on the upload limit. This is small by comparison and can be upgraded with a fee.
Google Maps Alternatives
Google maps is useful in a few situations. It can still record everywhere you go and pass this information back to Google. This can build up a lot of information over time.
There are a few Google maps alternative, and some even work offline whereas Google maps doesn’t.
User experiences can vary between regions, Apple maps can actually deliver better results for directions than Google maps.
It is due a complete overhaul where the mapping data has been captured by Apple itself. It is not one to count out as being a great alternative.
This service comes for iOS and Android. Its focus is urban travel and will include all travel options in its results. This comprises bicycles, ferries, rail and any other means. It also integrates with Uber and Lyft and any local ferries if there are any.
Setting addresses for home and work, you are delivered real-time estimates.
No connection, no problem for this alternative to Google maps. It is not quite as accurate as Google Maps, but using GPS, it means you are never without a mapping application. It is one of those apps you just need for when Google or your connection fails you.
Google Play Store Alternatives
Every app you install on your Android devices, this goes back to Google. If they are paid apps, then this is even worse as your payment details are sent back.
You may not think Google holds data here, but each time you go to your Google Play Dashboard, it knows what apps you installed, removed and what is stored on your device.
Google store tracking can find out more than other areas because you are inputting data directly.
Here are a few Play Store options:
This Android alternative store was built on the same standards as the Play Store. It has an interface that is comparable and has over 700,000 apps for users to choose from. With over 3 billion downloads it is holding its own against the Google offering.
Aptoide comes for phones and tablets along with versions for smart TV’s and set-top boxes. Users can download APK’s directly before installing them. It is safe and easy to use.
This allows you to download APK’s directly from the play store. These will update and you can search for alternatives.
It also allows you to carry out package manager features such as listing, running or uninstalling apps.
This does still connect to Google services via a built in account. This means you don’t need a Google account to use it.
F-Droid focuses on free and opensource apps. Users may ask is F-Droid safe because of this?
The entire site and store is run by volunteers and because of this and the opensource nature, everything is safe for users.
The apps don’t have reviews so you may need to do some research to find the best F-Droid apps, but it is a great alternative where you may find something different.
This has become one of the best Play Store alternatives free and paid for apps. With over 334,000, there is plenty to choose from.
It also dishes up a free app of the day. This allows users to obtain a premium app for nothing.
Books, music and movies are also available cheaper than on the play store.
This store only hosts free apps. Additionally it is a website only as they don’t have their own Android store app. All apps are tested for malware and guaranteed safe for download.
With a user-friendly interface, users can easily search the many different options.
This Play Store alternative delivers fast download speeds and ease of use. It only serves free apps and comes with no malware in any of the files.
There may not be as many apps available when users search market apps, but it is still steadily growing, so it will have decent numbers soon.
When you go through all of the above, you can see all the areas where Google can collect data regarding your activities.
It isn’t right that one company can know so much about each individual, and users do need to do something against it.
With all the alternatives listed above, it can be a great start to stop Google from trespassing on your privacy.
The options above are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many other areas where you can stop google from watching and tracking what you do online.
It can be hard, and it can be difficult for some people, but to regain user privacy, it is something many privacy conscious individuals are either contemplating, are in the process of or have already switched in certain areas.