A Comprehensive Guide to Degoogling
How to erase yourself from Google's privacy-abusing ecosystem
Are you tired of Google's privacy practices and monopolistic behaviors?
Many people are, but most people don't know any alternatives. This guide will give you an alternative to 6 of Google's products.
Browser - Mozilla Firefox
Let's start with the browser. Google Chrome is currently the most popular browser. However, Mozilla Firefox
- blocks you from trackers including Google, Facebook, and cryptominers
- comes with a Developer Edition tailored to software developers; the Firefox Developer Edition also provides new features before the regular Firefox
- Allows you to store your passwords, bookmarks, downloads, and history just like Google does. However, Mozilla is much more transparent about your data with sensible default privacy settings
- Allows you to switch from mobile device to desktop computer through your Firefox account, just like Google's account does
- Allows you to group tabs into "Containers" much like Google does
- Has a native JSON interface
- Has a Firefox add-on market, much like Google's Chrome Web Store
Here's the download link for Firefox for Desktop:
and their Privacy Promise
But privacy protection does not have to mean lack of personalization. Firefox owns Pocket, which lets you store articles, videos, and other URLs in one place. In a new Firefox tab, you will see 6 interesting Pocket articles recommended to you, aggregated from reputable sources.
Search Engine - OceanHero
Finding a search engine that does not use Google's data at all but that also provides the complex algorithms that makes Google Search so useful was nearly impossible, so I settled for a compromise.
OceanHero is a search engine that recovers a plastic bottle from the ocean for every 5 searches that you make. In February of 2021, they recovered more than 1.1 million plastic water bottles.
Unlike DuckDuckGo, OceanHero also has a most-viewed box at the top and shows a definition box when searching definitions.
Admittedly, OceanHero uses ad revenue to achieve this and gets data from Google, but the trade-off is worth it in order to protect the environment.
Email - ProtonMail
ProtonMail is an open-source, end-to-end encrypted mail service created by Proton Technologies, which is based in Switzerland.
Not only does their easy-to-use platform provide the necessary features to communicate with others via email, they provide the following additional features
- Sending direct messages - called PMs
- Communication to and from non-ProtonMail email addresses
- A custom domain email if you are on the paid plan and own a domain
- Importing and exporting emails from and to other platforms to ProtonMail if you are on the paid plan
- Privacy protection enforced by one of the strictest privacy laws because they are based in Switzerland
Mission of ProtonMail
Like Mozilla, ProtonMail also has a mission of fighting Big Tech and protecting internet privacy. Their products are open-source and they are transparent about their policies and services.
Phasing out Gmail and Switching
If you use lots of services dependent on your Gmail, no worries, you can still switch! Follow these steps:
- Open your ProtonMail account
- In your Gmail account settings, set your ProtonMail to be forward all your Gmail's emails
- Optionally go on a paid plan and get the Import/Export tool to import existing Gmails into your ProtonMail inbox
This way, you don't need to worry about services that do not let you change emails.
Video Calls - Zoom
Zoom is a well-known platform that competes with Google Meet. It is a suitable alternative to Google Meet because
- joining calls does not require an account
- it surpasses Google Meet in features
- they have fixed many security vulnerabilities that plagued the early days of the pandemic
- they now offer end-to-end encryption for all Zoom users, free and paid
Messaging - Telegram
Telegram is an open-source, end-to-end encrypted messaging service. It has a lightweight, modern UX, is available on all platforms, has an API for making Telegram-like apps, rolls out frequent, innovative new features, lets you sign up with your phone number, and is becoming increasingly popular.
Note and Task Management - Borum Jot
Borum Jot is an encrypted note and task management web and mobile app that I created specifically to help people De-Google.
Borum Jot offers
- note management
- task management
- collaboration on notes and tasks
- exporting of data
- encryption on all notes and tasks
- an ad-free experience
Using the products and methods above, you'll be able to smoothly phase out your use of Google products to protect your data and privacy better on the internet, help preserve the environment, and use lesser-known high quality products in your day-to-day life.
What other products can you think of that are suitable alternatives to Google? Can you think of alternatives better than the ones listed above? Link them below!