Sometimes, you have to make hard decisions in life. Decisions that are not always optimal at that time but are influenced by other factors that are important to you.
When Google started out, it was the clear underdog. I loved the service from the minute it went online and openly spread the word about it.
Have you tried Google? The search is way better than whatever you are using right now. Give it a try. Then came Gmail, Google Reader, Google Maps and dozens of other services that improved what had been standard in regards to email, RSS reading or mapping for years.
As a webmaster, I liked that Google was not favoring any site in the results, and that ads were kept to a minimum on the side of the results.
Things changed slowly but steadily. Google started to display ads above the search results moving organic results further down on the page. Things like the Knowledge Graph or other information on top of the results started to appear more frequently, often scraped from websites such as Wikipedia.
Then it introduced the Panda and Penguin algorithmic updates and things changed for the worse for many webmasters.
Today, Google is dominating search in most countries. Some would say that it has a monopoly in many countries. It is also dominating with its Android mobile operating system, and very popular with many of its other services such as Gmail, Google Maps or
It is investing in robotics, home automation, Internet services, and growing a lot.
While its services are still great and often better or at least on the same level as others, I have made the decision to withdraw slowly but steadily from all things Google.
There needs to be a counterweight to Google, or many weights, and I cannot really see any company filling that role right now.
While I can do little to change that, I can at least stop using Google services and let others know about alternatives that are available.
With that said, it is clear that I have to lower my sights in some regards as there may not always be a solid alternative available. What makes this especially problematic is that I still rely on Google when it comes to this website. I need to use Adsense because there is nothing else that I can use that generates the same amount of revenue. And I do not want to start plastering the site with ads to make up for that.
I do need to use Google+ as Google is integrating it tighter and tighter into its ecosystem.
But in regards to other services, I won't be using them anymore. Here is a short list of Google services and alternatives for them:
- Google Search - I have been using DuckDuckGo.com and Startpage.com for a long time and will continue to use them. Done.
- Google Maps - I have started to use Here maps or Bing maps instead. Done.
- Google Chrome - I use it as a secondary browser only. Will use Chromium instead. Done.
- Google Mail - I'll switch my Gmail account to a self-hosted account instead. If you do not have a domain name that you can switch to, try something like Protonmail.
- Google Drive - Will stop using. Have to find an alternative, maybe Zoho. For file syncing, Dropbox.
- YouTube - There is nothing like YouTube right now available, at least not when it comes to videos that I like to watch. But, since videos are not essential, I decided to stop using the site. Done.
- Android - My next phone will be based on Firefox OS. I will still keep my Android phone as I write about apps on it, but will root it and remove any Google services and features.
Some changes that I need to make are easier than others. Not using Google Chrome is not really that much of an issue, while moving away from my Gmail account that I used for years is as I need to notify others about that first and also change it on Internet services that I used it to sign up for.
As I said, it will be a slow withdrawal. While I have started to move away from some products, Chrome for instance, I will continue using others like my Android phone for a while. The underlying goal however is to remove all Google products from my daily work routine and Internet usage.