Over the years I have been implementing more and more ways to De-Google myself. Recently had a Google experience that has pushed me to finally completely De-Google.
After getting a new ISP, Google decided to lock me out of an email account that I have had and used with no problems for over 10 years! And if you didn’t already know you can not just call 1-800-Google to get customer service. They have no customer service. Everything is automated, which is why I was locked out to begin with, automation with no human element involved at all. Since I never setup a recovery email and I for sure wasn’t giving them my phone number, there was no way for me to use their automation for account recovery. Their official stance, if after following their automated approach doesn’t work is to abandon the email and create a new one. Luckily this email account was an old account that only had a couple important third party accounts tied to it, which I was able to switch emails on those third party accounts.
Over 10 years ago, I’m pretty sure Google didn’t ask for an alternative email or phone number for account recovery. It was the old school questions. Like “What is the name of your first cat?” Second of all I would never forget my password as Ive been using a password manager that I generate extremely complex passwords for 12 years or more. So I had no reason to setup these recovery features, also I wasn’t willing to give my data to Google. I realize security is a big thing, but Google doesn’t know best in this case. I’m completely capable of keeping my email secure, I don’t need Google undermining me. Besides it’s an automated/robot system making the decision to lock my account!
The lesson here if you plan on using any Google services, make sure you give them all the information they want for an account recovery, as it’s all automated and they can literally, cancel or destroy your business for no reason whatsoever! This has all become very clear since the pandemic and all the censoring going on in Big Tech these last few years.
De-Google your life
- Non Google Email
Protonmail or Tutanota, both have a free option but they also have very cheap paid options. The best part of these email providers, they encrypt your data at rest. Meaning if someone hacked their servers they wouldn’t be able to read anything without they encryption key. (which is typically your password) More importantly, no employee of theirs can peak inside your emails! These are the best privacy focused email providers currently on the market. Protonmail also offers a free tier VPN with your account.
- Non Google Youtube
Freetube, a desktop application that lets you watch youtube completely detached from Google. You can subscribe, favorite videos, save for later and it keeps track of what you have watched and hides watched videos which I find to be an amazing feature. This is all stored locally!
NewPipe for android users. Similar to Freetube, not sure about all the rich features.
- Non Google Browsing
For the non extremists who might just want some simple alternatives and not completely De-Google and still use their browser. Firefox multi account container tabs. I recommend this plugin either way as you can setup profiles to always isolate based on domains. This isolates each tab from cookies and logins, so you can view Youtube as a “separate user” that would keep you isolated from your main account. Of course if you login on that separate tab it doesn’t give you any privacy benefits.
- Non Google Android
De-Googling yourself from the web browser and email is pretty easy, your Android phone though, this one is a bit more limiting on your options. But there is an option it’s GrapheneOS. It uses the stock Android but removes Google services. Which means, no more Google on your phone! Now the down side is that you can’t use Google Maps (which is the biggest down side), but there are some gps alternatives. Google Play paid apps won’t work either. But there are a few workarounds to get non paid Google Play apps on your phone but mostly you are going to use free opensource apps from Fdroid.
De-Google your Business
With AI and Chat GPT, Google will eventually be obsolete in the sense of how people get information. Internet search is going to go away. Im not 100% sure how things will play out but I suspect that website and business owners will no longer need to focus on Google’s search engine. In fact I foresee sometime in the future, search will go full on decentralized and website owners will actually get paid for people clicking on their site, or submitting content to this decentralized search engine, much like the blockchain (which will more than likely be AI driven).
But until then, here are some ideas of what you can do now to De-Google your business.
- Non Business Google Email
As mentioned above Protonmail, they allow you to use custom domains on their paid tier. It’s cheaper than Google’s business email options, and it’s encrypted at rest! Security and privacy.
- Non Google Analytics
Google Analytics has been horrible for like the last 8 years. Once they started limiting you from seeing all the keywords your site was getting traffic from. The “Non Provided” is the worst thing they could ever do, it makes it pretty useless. Now there are a couple tricks to setup some rules to at least capture the page/url that will give you a little clue on keywords, but that’s a bit more techie than most business owners are capable of. Instead here are a few alternatives with free tiers!
– Manomo (previously piki)
- Non Google PPC
Google pay per click has been over saturated and over priced for more than 10 years. Im not saying to abandon it 100% but you need to start weening yourself off of it and focus more on organic SEO. Google wants you to keep paying for rankings, they don’t want you ranking organically. That costs them money. And now that it’s algorithm disfavors small businesses and is forcing them to use PPC, you need to switch your focus to organic. Ranking locally organically is fairly easy, but it does take focus. And if you are relying solely PPC, once you stop paying you no longer have business. With organic, that sticks around for the long term! So it only makes sense to focus on organic.