My slow withdrawal from all things Google

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 2, 2014
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

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 Google Reader.

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:

  1. Google Search - I have been using and for a long time and will continue to use them. Done.
  2. Google Maps - I have started to use Here maps or Bing maps instead. Done.
  3. Google Chrome - I use it as a secondary browser only. Will use Chromium instead. Done.
  4. 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.
  5. Google Drive - Will stop using. Have to find an alternative, maybe Zoho. For file syncing, Dropbox.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

My slow withdrawal from all things Google
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My slow withdrawal from all things Google
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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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