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We are relying too much on Google, here is how you can free yourself from its shackles

   
6 comments

Last week I wrote a long and rambling article on how Huawei phones are still good phones even without Google services. I made it a point to avoid mentioning the fact that we need Google on our Android phones that much, is not necessarily a good thing. I wanted to tackle that point at a later date. Then yesterday Google made the point for me.

You see for people like me and you, Google is the internet. The majority of people would be lost on the internet without Google to hold their hand and take them where they want to go. You would really have to go out of your way to avoid interfacing with at least one of Google’s many services.

Google is truly the internet

A picture of Google’s reach

If you somehow don’t believe me here are services that you will find hard to avoid:

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  • Google search- this is the default in most browsers, and these browsers actually get paid to make Google the default search engine so whether you actually visit the Google search page or use the address bar, you still end up with Google.
  • Google Chrome-every-time you use a different browser to do searches, Google will pester you until you make the switch to Chrome.
  • There is Gmail
  • There is Google Workspace
  • YouTube
  • Google Ads
  • Adsense
  • Google Analytics- now this is the catchall. You can avoid most of the above but everyone with a website uses Google Analytics. If you are reading this you have already used Google today.
  • Then there are the famous Google Fonts-how many of you knew that Google makes these awesome web fonts like Roboto?
  • Then there is Maps
  • Hangouts
  • That nice keyboard that spies on everything you type in Android. How else do you think they know you are in the market for a new phone before you even do the search?
  • Messages is their latest spyware, that will sit snuggly in your phone waiting to learn your secrets. Its use is on the rise.
  • Google Assistant and it’s related products from Google Home
  • Google Auth
  • Assistant- even if you don’t have a phone and your friend does, that phone’s assistant is always listening to you. Say anything remotely resembling the word Google and like a genie, the assistant will pop up ready to do it’s master’s bidding. The question is are you its master?

The thing is while a lot of Americans like to boast about how Google is indispensable in the new tech world we live in, it’s not necessarily a good thing. Yesterday, Google’s Authentication service went down and almost took the internet down with it. Thankfully the search function remained up, but imagine if that had gone down too.

The truth is we need alternatives and thankfully these are available for most of the services that Google offers. Many of them are simply not as great or simple to use as Google’s own services but at least you won’t be dishing away all your information to one tech behemoth that so happens to be making killer robots in partnership with the US government.

Popular Google Services and their alternatives

Google ServiceAlternative(s)Remarks
SearchBing and DuckDuckGoBing is a little behind Google but it’s good enough for most people. DuckDuckGo’s interface sucks but it’s an less censored engine.
YouTubeTik Tok,Likee, Twitch, Vimeo and InstagramIt really depends on what you do. Tik Tok is probably Chinese spyware but Google’s is probably US spyware too so who cares. Avoid Instagram if you can.
GmailOffice 365 and ZOHO MailBoth are great alternatives that are just as good
Google WorkspacesOffice 365, WPS Office and ZOHO OfficeOffice 365 is already leading in the game, WPS Office is a Chinese thing with less functionality and ZOHO just plain sucks in the Office part unless you are an American
Google DriveDropbox, OneDrive, Amazon StorageDropbox is much more expensive but the other alternatives are just as good. OneDrive is especially preferable if you are an Office user
HangoutsZoom, Telegram, Jitsi, Slack etcIt really depends on how you are using Hangouts.
ChromeFirefoxThere is just Chrome and Firefox the rest are just irrelevant, sad or forks of Chromium.
KeyboardSwift-key or hundreds of othersLet another keyboard company spy on you then sell the data to Google.
MapsUse Bing MapsYou will probably get lost once in a while but hey it’s worth it if you can avoid the man right?
AssistantPlenty of useless alternativesYou can try something like Alexa or Cortana if you really need an assistant but there is no escaping Google’s Assistant. That’s the upside of knowing everyone’s business, you can make an inescapable assistant.
AdsenseAffiliate marketing and direct ad salesSome bloggers and YouTube creators actually make more from other avenues but it’s much harder than just using Adsense
AnalyticsJetPack and KissmetricsJetPack is handy if you have WordPress the rest are just garbage
MoviesNetflix, DSTV BoxOffice, Amazon, iTunesZimbabweans probably don’t care, piracy is our thing.
ChromecastGet a DVD playerBe like your parents and get a DVD player
WebstoreUse FirefoxFirefox is one of those very few browsers that doesn’t need this
CalenderUse OutlookIf you go the 365 route you won’t really need this

Again as we learned in our Huawei article Google is becoming the beginning and end of our connected lives. With it’s continued growth in the real world it will become the beginning and end of our real lives.

One makes you wonder, why is the US government only going after Facebook? Surely Google needs to be broken up too. People should have started on that when the company got big and dropped it’s “Don’t be evil slogan.” I mean what’s the opposite of don’t be evil?


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Comments 6

Juno
3 months ago

What is the safe alternative to Google play store. The others are dodgy to say the least.
I use Osmand maps and don’t get lost

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    Garikai Dzoma
    3 months ago

    Didn’t know about Osmand maps good alternative. I use Aptoide store myself although it does feel Dodgy

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Jones
3 months ago

Google is a more serious problem than the average lazy person realises. Ignorance is not bliss as lack of knowledge brings doom.

Google is OPENLY working with the “Pentagon” (mostly the US Dept of Defense) on both autonomous warfare as well as mass surveillance. Recently, they apologized when it was discovered that one of their IoT products secretly had a microphone and was simply waiting for an update that would have activated it. It was a home security device called Nest.

Nothing is free, but really the price for being lazy will eventually cost us dearly. If Google was Chinese I’d be very concerned. But it’s American, so I’m beyond very concerned. That confirms without doubt they’re up to no good.

In other news, I view YouTube daily, have 2 Gmail accounts and use Maps occasionally. So I’m also one of the lazy ones. Though I stopped using Google search some months ago, I now use Duck Duck Go. My main email is Outlook and I’m generally in the 365 arena. And my favourite smartphone brand is Huawei and if they get their act together relatively soon, then I’m switching back to that.

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    Hopper
    3 months ago

    Google is a public company and such corporation with the US DOD without the knowledge of shareholders is illegal in the US and such deals cannot be go through coz they are too many people involved at Google who are none US citizens. You are just speculating. In US, the govt can be taken to court and sued whereas in China it’s impossible. Google just works like any other firm in the US and it’s now very big that the senate wants to break up the firm.

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    Hopper
    3 months ago

    If you want to switch to Huawei OS just switch without blaming Google. Good luck with the move of using locked bootloader.

    https://amp.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/3113933/huawei-theft-case-chinese-professor-bo-mao-despite

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Most android phones can’t work without Google

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