- Google offers a lot of helpful services, such as its browser Chrome, Google Search, Gmail, and Google Maps. It owns YouTube and Waze too.
- Many of these products integrate and share data, which makes the user experience more convenient, but it also requires the user to accept that Google will track and use a lot of personal information.
- Because of his concerns about privacy, Senior Producer Matt Stuart tried to stop using all of Google’s services.
Matt Stuart: When Google launched Gmail in 2004, it was almost unheard of to trade away your personal data for a service. But Gmail had a bunch of cool features, including a spam filter that was amazing, so a lot of people, including myself, signed up. I use Google and Waze for navigation. Chrome is my default browser. Drive has all my documents, and like everybody else, I’m on YouTube way more often than I should be. Oh, and let’s not forget Google’s first product, their search engine. Anything I search for online runs through it.
So yeah, Google knows a lot about me. But after their social network Google+ had a data leak and the company didn’t really bother to tell anybody, I decided it was time to quit Google. Or, at least try to. I know I can’t quit completely. I have four Google Home devices in my apartment. So I can still use them to turn on the lights, but I’m not going to use them for any Google functions like my calendar or e-mail or anything like that. Insider runs on Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, so I’m going to have to make an exception for everything I do at work as well. See? I haven’t even started yet and I already have two caveats. Google is really good at a lot of things. It might actually be a lot of work to do this.
Here’s a rundown of all the alternatives I’ll be using.
So, it’s been about a week that I haven’t used Google and everything else is kind of terrible. The email service Kolab Now that I was trying to use- I couldn’t get it to work on my phone. I tried all different ways to set it up and none of them would work. I tried searching for a specific tweet on DuckDuckGo, and the results were just terrible. So I’m now using both Bing and Yahoo and those are a little better. I even forgot that Yahoo was a search engine. So that is now the default search engine on my phone. When I’m searching for some reference for something for a story I try and use the filters on Google, and you can really narrow down the dates that way, and Yahoo and Bing don’t really have those fine-tuned controls.
For Firefox, it crashed with 15 tabs open. I usually run about 50 tabs in Chrome, so I will definitely be going back to Chrome when this is over with. The other thing with Firefox is it zooms out of the page really easily, as soon as you hit the Command-T if you have two fingers on the trackpad like you would as if you were scrolling or anything else, it’ll just zoom in or zoom out. It’s really annoying.
Another issue I found is that my girlfriend and I both use Google Calendar and that’s how we kinda coordinate what we’re doing or where we are. So not being able to do that is a little frustrating. Another issue on my iPhone is I can’t use Gboard right now, and the default Apple keyboard sucks. I don’t know why they haven’t changed it. You still have to tap every button that you want to press, and with Gboard you can just swipe it. You can search for emojis. You can search for GIFs. It’s the best iPhone keyboard possible, and not being able to use it is very frustrating.
A cool thing from using Apple Maps that I learned is that if somebody has recently texted you an address, and you open up Apple Maps, Siri will suggest that address automatically as your destination, and you can click a little thing like “Oh yeah, that’s the one I want,” and it will fill it in automatically. A problem with the Apple Maps though is that it doesn’t give you the detailed traffic data that you get from Google Maps. It did show congestion, you know the green, the yellow along the route, but it didn’t give me the update of “Oh, this is gonna add five minutes to your trip, this is gonna add 10 minutes to your trip.” And Google Maps is really good at doing that when you’re stuck in traffic.
So part of the reason I wanted to try this experiment was because I knew they had so much information about me. But, using all these disjointed services makes it difficult and it’s less convenient to do a lot of things online. So maybe I don’t think I should be giving them all of my personal data, but maybe just a little bit is okay. As long as I can manage my personal info and other settings on Google’s personal info and privacy manager, I’m okay sharing some information about myself.
Hey Google, log me back in.
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