Google can feel pretty pervasive and, if you’re concerned about your privacy, that might worry you. So, if you want to get rid of all your Google services, here’s how you can do it and what you’ll be losing.
Editor’s Note: It’s worth pointing out before we begin that we’re not advocating getting rid of Google—we generally prefer their services over the competition. We’re simply trying to give you all the facts should you try to go that route.
Google Is Everywhere, And You’ll Be Giving Up A Lot
Before we begin, it’s worth considering how realistic the aim of removing Google from your life is, as well as pointing out some of the downsides.
Google is everywhere, and it’s everywhere in ways you won’t always see. The ads on this site? They’re Google Ads. The analytics software we use to analyze our traffic? Google Analytics. The font we’re using? That’s pulled from Google. Even if you don’t use any Google service yourself, just by visiting this site you’re being exposed to three of them.
And it’s the same with other things. If your mother uses Gmail, even if you don’t, Google is still going to have your email address and—unless they’re encrypted—the emails you sent her. It’s certainly possible to minimize your exposure to Google, but it’s very hard to eliminate it completely unless you lock yourself in a internet-free cabin in the middle of nowhere.
The other issue is that Google’s services are popular because they’re good; like, really good. If Google wasn’t offering incredible services, we’d never have the privacy nightmare we know and tolerate today. Unless you have very niche needs, Google Search is the best search engine and Gmail is the best free email client. Most of the alternatives that are on offer just aren’t as good as the Google service they replace.
Also, if you’re replacing a Google service with another free one, you’re just getting into bed with a different company with the same problems. While there are some exceptions, nearly every company that offers a free service is collecting data on you and using it to serve ads (or sell to other companies that then use it to serve ads). It’s a trite cliché at this point, but that doesn’t make it less true: if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. If you really want your privacy to be protected, you almost always need to pay for services. Otherwise, without ads, the companies just can’t stay in business.
One other thing to bear in mind is that Google services work together. Files you store in Google Drive can be edited in Google Docs and quickly attached to an email in Gmail. If you’re replacing each of these services with a different one, you are unlikely to have the same seamless integration as if you just stick with Google.
How to Replace Google Search
Google Search is by far Google’s most visible product. It’s the foundation on which their entire empire is built. Fortunately, there are still some other search engines out there.
While Bing and Yahoo are still available, using one of them is really just replacing Google with Microsoft or Verizon (yep, that’s who owns Yahoo now). And neither of those companies has ever really been heralded as a champion of consumer privacy.
If you want to replace Google with a privacy focussed search engine, we’d recommend DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo basically bills itself as the anti-Google. Its whole thing is, that while it serves ads related to what you’re searching for, advertisers are never allowed to track you, and your search history is kept completely private.
It’s easy to add DuckDuckGo as the default search engine on whatever devices you use. Here’s how to do it on:
It’s kind of hard to objectively rate search engines: if you find what you’re looking for, it did good; if you don’t find what you’re looking for, it’s failed. Most search engines are very good at finding what you’re looking for (or at least something very close to it) most of the time. In my own experience, DuckDuckGo has been as good as Google for general stuff.
How to Replace Google Chrome
Replacing Google Chrome is probably the easiest thing to do…
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