In previous articles on computer security I have mentioned Google as one of the worst culprits at using your information without your permission. Between Facebook and Google, I think Google is by far the more dangerous to your computer security. They have their fingers in all kinds of pies. So, I decided to eliminate Google from my computing life. If you wish to do the same, here are some suggestions on how to do that.
Removing Google’s Anti-Privacy Tentacles
I have been thinking about getting rid of Google connections for a while, but when I came across this article on the DuckDuckGo website I knew it was time. I suggest you read the first couple of paragraphs of the article and then follow along through the suggestions. I will be listing what I have done for each of the DuckDuckGo suggestions below.
Google Search → DuckDuckGo – I have used DuckDuckGo for years. It really is the only way to go for search engines. You can read more about DuckDuckGo on their website where they describe how their search engine works. It is total privacy for sure. You can change your search engine to DuckDuckGo in Safari by going into Preferences and then selecting the “Search” Tab:
Click on “Search engine” and select DuckDuckGo from the drop down menu.
Gmail, Calendar, Contacts → iCloud – If you are a Gmail user I highly recommend finding another email service, either paid or free. In my case, my iCloud email is my primary email account. I use the excellent Airmail App to handle my email. I have some email accounts from third party ISP’s, but they are fairly secure. I sync my Calendar and Contacts through the cloud as well. There are other cloud services online, but I do not believe you will find too many that are as secure as Apple’s iCloud.
YouTube → Vimeo – If you us Google you probably use the ubiquitous YouTube video service. The DuckDuckGo people recommend using the excellent Vimeo service instead. I started up a Vimeo account just today. Goodbye YouTube forever. I do not post a lot of video, but when I do it will be through the Vimeo service.
Google Maps → Apple Maps – I used to have Google Maps on my Mac and iOS devices, but no more. Apple Maps has come a long way in the last couple of years. It may not approximate what Google Maps can do, but the added privacy makes up the difference as far as I am concerned.
Android → iOS – I have always used iOS devices. Besides being a total virus/malware haven, Android is tied into Google. These are good reasons to move from Android to iOS. Besides, iOS is just more elegant, it works better.
Google Chrome → Safari – I have used Google Chrome from time to time. It is a pretty good browser. But, since my Google purge, I have just pretty much stayed with Safari. If I need to use a different browser, I use the newest version of Firefox. There are other third party browsers as well, but check their privacy capabilities before installing.
Blogger → WordPress – I did have a Blogger account many years ago, but since then have been using WordPress for all my blogging needs. WordPress is always installing security updates and is not affiliated with Google in any way. There are Google Plugins for WordPress which you can install. However, during my Google purge I uninstalled ALL Google Plugins from my WordPress sites.
Google Drive → Varied – There are all kinds of cloud services to store and synchronize files with others. I use iCloud, but you could use Dropbox. There are several others. Getting off Google Drive would not be that difficult. You would have to transfer your files, but that is doable with a little patience.
The DuckDuckGo article lists more of Googles services that I have never used. You can read the article to see what they are. The DuckDuckGo people suggest other replacement services in the article as well if you don’t like my choices.
Now, if you wish to go cold turkey after changing all these services, here is an article on how to cancel your Google Account altogether. I deleted mine and I have discovered there is life after Google.
The bottomline is this: gets off Google dependency. Yes, it was a good service when it started out, but they have become just too invasive with our personal information. If you put a little thought into it, you can do this.