It’s a well-known fact that Silicon Valley’s fantasy of creating an online utopia isn’t nearly as successful as early-web architects anticipated. The tech monopolies’ business models have jeopardized our privacy and hurt our democracy. From addictive ecosystems built to manipulate our psychology to algorithms rigging search results to stifle opposing views – it is more evident than ever that tech monopolies are the defining issue in the digital era.
Undeniably, Big Tech firms, like Google, have kept their users in the dark about how they operate. Given that users can’t scoop inside Google’s “BlackBox” algorithms, it is more than likely that Google deliberately alters the algorithms to bias search results.
Unlike other platforms, Google dominates so many facets of our digital lives that we rely on it for meeting our fundamental digital needs – Google Search, Gmail, Youtube, Chrome, Docs, Calendar, Translate, to name a few.
Google is a robust ecosystem to our civil society indeed, but in any case, it certainly values its advertisers’ revenue – at the cost of users’ privacy.
Leaving Google and all its product would be a significant challenge for many. But using alternatives is the only way forward to escape Google’s claws.
Here are some alternatives to Google you may consider in three categories. Search Engine, Email Provider, and Web Browser.
Without question, Google is the most well-known search engine globally. The platform has ground-breaking algorithms, allowing a personalized user experience. But, personalization comes at a cost.
Each time you use Google Search, it saves your information as a cookie. A cookie contains all necessary information to track you, such as your location, interests, device information, and more. Such information is linked to google products you are connected with like Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Google Home, Chromecast, and nearly all the other things. This level of personalization is the lying issue as it either results in countless unsolicited ads (across all Google-owned platforms) or limits the user’s exposure to a defined set of search results.
The good news is – the list of Google alternatives doesn’t run short, especially if you’re looking for more privacy and a better search experience.
Duckduckgo, Qwant, and Startpage are some of the best privacy-oriented search engines on the market. Unlike Google, they avoid filter bubbles of biased and personalized search results.
In the above suggestion, Duckduckgo is our best pick due to its easy-to-use interface. It was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg (Often referred to as David to Google’s Goliath) in the hopes of shrinking the shoulder-surfing creepiness of internet searching. The Pennsylvania based search engine recently had a daily record of 102,251,307 searches and is earning excellent reviews from internet users worldwide.
By now, you probably know why you should stop using any product in the Google ecosystem – even Google Chrome. Though the latter is often cited as the “most secure browser,” it’s a privacy nightmare in itself.
The very moment you login into Gmail or any other Google service, Google knows who you are. So much so that it connects all the dots and it links back to the real you. Thus, exposing your information to advertisers and biasing search results.
If that’s a concern to you, your best bet is Mozilla’s Firefox. The most reputable and trustworthy browser out there. Firefox is Mozilla-built (one of the most ethical web companies globally) and open-source, so developers can evaluate its inner workings.
Let’s face it; the most challenging part of breaking free from the Google ecosystem is dumping Gmail. It looks stunning, has plenty of storage, and allows you to sync contacts about anywhere — BUT. Gmail still sells tracking data to advertisers and display ads in your mail client.
So what are the options available when you stop using Gmail? Well, there are a lot of great alternatives you may consider. Some are made to protect your privacy, while others simply exist as alternatives. Regardless, if you pick at random, there are chances you may run into significant problems.
Thus, for now, we recommend Proton Mail. If you’ve been hanging around the privacy circles, Proton Mail should ring a bell. Proton Mail is built on digital privacy and human rights principles and provides end-to-end encryption. What’s fascinating about Proton Mail is that it gives the user full control of their information.
Did you break free from Google’s ecosystem?
If not, then try now. Nothing serious will happen. A portion of the sites and their key functionalities may not work, and that is the only thing that will occur. You should be patient and stick to it. Find the solutions to navigate these sites with just a single exception – Not going back to Google’s ecosystem.