My de-googlification project is commencing apace. As promised, today’s post will include some resources to help you de-googlify your own life.
But first, this is where I’m at: I already stopped using Chrome a long time ago because it’s such a resource hog and they did away with some of my favorite features. Since then I’ve been using Firefox, and it’s been fine, but last week the Mozilla CEO made some disturbing comments that are completely NOT fine, so now I’m trying out alternatives to Firefox. So far I’m liking Brave and Midori, but I haven’t settled on one yet.
Getting off of Gmail is the biggie. I decided to switch to Protonmail instead, and grabbing an account their was the easy part. I’ve updated the e-mail links and contact form on this site and set an auto-responder in my Gmail to automatically let people who e-mail know that they need to update their contact info. By the by, if you have and use my jmbauhaus email address, just change the gmail part to protonmail and you’ll be good to go. Also, firstname.lastname@example.org still works just fine. Eventually I’ll also move my Jeanie Nicholson and Broke Author accounts to P’mail, but they don’t get much traffic, so that’s not a priority.
This also means I’ve got to go through all of my accounts and update my logins. Since I also haven’t been using password best practices all these years, it’s also an opportunity to change everything out to stronger, unique passwords. I had to get a good password manager to keep them all straight — I don’t want to store passwords in my browser any longer, as I had been doing.
This part is going to take a good, long while. It’s helping to prioritize. I started with accounts I log into regularly, along with accounts that have been breached. One thing I like about Firefox is that it has a service that monitors your logins and lets you know if they’re connected to a website that’s been hacked, but you can also find out by entering your login email at haveibeenpwnd.com. I’m also deleting accounts with services I no longer use, and reducing my digital footprint.
Changing my login methods on accounts that login with Google or Facebook is also going to be a high priority.
Sorting through all the newsletters and subscription emails I get at Gmail, unsubbing from the ones I no longer want and updating my email with the ones I want to keep, is also going to take a while.
Anyway, if you want to go down this road, start here: Alternatives to Google Products for 2021
That article does what it says on the tin, recommending more private and secure alternatives to every Google product out there. The rest of the website also has great advice on other privacy concerns and tools, such as VPN and password management recommendations, etc.
I’ve used Google Docs for years, mainly because I can copy and paste from that to my freelance writing agency’s content management platform without a lot of extra code getting added in like it does if I past it from Word or Open Office. But with my next batch of writing assignments I’m going to give Zoho Writer a try instead. It looks pretty comparable. Zoho also has a cloud storage alternative to Google Drive that looks promising.
I probably won’t be quitting YouTube any time soon, because there are too many good content creators who haven’t yet switched to other platforms. But I disabled the app on my phone and am just watching it in my web browser. Between that and my Android phone, I won’t be able to break up with Google completely. But I can at least support their competition and stop giving them so much information about me.
Oh, and speaking of Android, this is helpful if you have one:
I hope this is helpful if you’re wanting to reduce your dependence on big tech. It’s almost impossible to avoid them completely without quitting the internet altogether — a solution that gets more attractive with each passing day — but at least it’s something.