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De-Google Your Life

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Avatar for Pantera
Written by   922
6 months ago

Mass surveillance has reached levels we previously could only imagine when watching sci-fi films like “The Matrix”. In fact with Android and Google’s acquisition of it, we are all interconnected in a matrix with one private company having the ability to spy on us, and literally record each step we make.

Meanwhile, Google’s databases permanently document every search we ever made and sell our private information to marketers for targeted advertising. One day you may search for something and hours later products related to your search will appear in the browser’s advertising space.

I was barely using the internet on my mobile until lately, and I wasn’t using Google Chrome either but was forced to since Mozilla after an upgrade managed to mess up with all my settings and the condition of this browser became unstable for my customization. Chrome was more efficient and I had to make that transition. One more step that wasn’t necessary but I sacrificed some more privacy for convenience.

Decades-long of Privacy Rights Abuse and Manipulation of the Internet

Google has been abusing its dominant market position for far too long. Lobbying may be a lawful practice in the USA but in the EU the situation is different and frankly, the European fines imposed on Google, Facebook, and other hi-tech companies are well deserved.

Privacy is a human right that we are giving away for more convenience. Mobile applications are asking for access to personal information and the sale and flow of our private data online has already reached large databases on the hands of scammers.

Have you recently received a strange phone call from another country you never had any ties with? Scammers have access to everyone’s private data. They even have payments info and databases with income statistics, bank transfers, bank card numbers. Almost everything has been leaked online already.

Scammers try to keep their databases updated to find their victims with increased efficiency without having to spend a lot of resources.

Is Google helping them? Of course, since it keeps selling our private data to tens of thousands of advertisers. Statistically, some of them will be scammers that will sell all our data to the dark web.

How much Google cares for our security and privacy:

  • Allows scammers to apply ads in Google Search

  • Allows listings of fake/scam applications in Google Store

  • It has taken more than a decade to update email filters to combat spam

  • Hinders net-neutrality, blacklists websites, manipulates search results

  • Passes all private information of its users to USA agencies like the NSA

  • Has a complete profile with personal details of everyone that has ever used the internet

  • Sells our data to advertisers and has a perplexing system that makes users unable to completely shut down the private data collection

  • Youtube has allowed a botnet of 20,000 zombie accounts to run wild, being able to boost channels with fake likes and fake viewers for payment

  • The same botnets are used to boost scams and scam live-streams, such as the famous fake Ripple Giveaways

  • Accounts are hacked because of Google’s problematic security and content creators are losing their jobs due to lack of support by YouTube

  • Overall Security of Google’s products is terrible. Massive hacks, leaks, and account hijacks keep happening occasionally, and Google lacks the infrastructure and personnel to counter cyber-criminals

  • Bans Crypto Youtubers for no reason, only to re-instate their accounts after a lengthy appeal process that could take many months

How to De-Google

Having noticed Google’s indifference on the our privacy and security, a group of people has started a DeGoogle campaign since 2013 (Wikipedia).

We can take some steps to de-Google and take back part of our online privacy:

Use an Adblock

“uBlock Origin” is a top one currently, that removes 99% of advertisements that spam our browser’s page. I haven’t stopped running an Adblock in any browser I’m using for more than a decade. It is a rule that helped me to be at least 500% more productive with my internet experience.

An Adblock besides removing almost all ads can also save you from:

  • Malicious websites

  • Scam advertisements

  • Scam search results that appear as ads

  • Removes all annoying popups and offers a better web-surfing experience.

Use other Search Engines

DuckDuckGo is not recording any data (at least this is what it advocates).

There are more alternatives to Google Search, like Qwant, and Startpage, but I don’t have enough experience with them to recommend.

Use other e-Mail Services

Protonmail and Tutanota are two e-mail providers that have exceptional privacy features. I’m using lately Protonmail and it is significantly better from Google mail, planning to completely move over and avoid completely Google mail.

Billions of Google passwords have been leaked and phising emails have lately exploded, with most common one: sextortion phising ( Forbes).

Use another Browser

  • Mozilla Firefox

  • Opera

  • Brave

All of these are better choices. Most of these browsers have better privacy options than Google and together with another browser and email will help to completely de-Google.

Opera also has a pre-installed Crypto wallet available.

Use YouTube alternatives

I think that YouTube is already on course to become the next MySpace. There are already too many better options and the constant security issues as well as the terrible support of YouTube is creating a negative sentiment that could easily send Youtube on the ropes.

Use VPN

  • Proton VPN

  • Express VPN

  • Nord VPN

  • SurfShark

Google will probably know you are using a VPN or Tor if you access any Google websites. But it will be another step towards increasing privacy and making it more difficult for a private company to keep track of the personal details of each of us.

Not Many Options With Mobile Devices

Remove all unnecessary google platforms and eventually stop using Google search and Google chrome altogether. For everything there is a substitute, however, the big problem on mobile devices is that Android and IOS are dominating the operating systems.

It will be difficult to find alternatives.

It is possible to use Android without a Google account, however, many features will be unavailable.

Options inside Android allow us to remove tracking of our position, but they have to be set up manually, and frankly, I’m not sure if there is anything hidden there that would still track movement by Google. Our mobile devices are already tracked by the provider since the sim card will signal our position whenever we pass between the range of two cell towers.

Privacy with a mobile phone is difficult to achieve. We can’t be sure that encrypted phones work either, and some of those networks were compromised by authorities in a major clampdown of drug-related black markets a few years ago.

Take Back Your Privacy By Making The First Step

The day will come when Google will become so irrelevant that its products will be replaced by better technology. It hasn’t done a lot lately except buying-off competitive products.

From the point where we were just using the search engine of this company and even that not so frequently, now we find ourselves using Google apps and products all day.

I’m going to start de-Googling by using DuckDuckGo instead of Google search and the next step is a move back to Mozilla Firefox, or perhaps I’m going to use the Brave Browser. Google has violated our human rights for far too long, and I feel that somewhere in the way, we allowed this to happen for our convenience.

By de-Googling, we are taking back our lives from the hands of privacy abusing corporations. We don’t need to completely remove all Google products, just be careful with the information we provide and not just have one company run everything in our digital experience.

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Avatar for Pantera
Written by   922
6 months ago
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Comments

Superb article. I advocate for this type of thing all the time, nice to see other people preaching the gospel ;)

$ 0.00
6 months ago

True. Actually I have been using Duck Duck Go for a while now. Maybe I will also use that Protonmail. Haha. I can't not use Gmail since I use it for work but maybe I should try switching next time.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

For the past two months, I've been using my phone only (until I can buy a new laptop). When I renewed my postpaid plan for my mobile and got a new phone, I chose a Huawei which has no access to Google Services. I realized then that I have been too dependent with Google services, from email to office suits. But I have been using Brave for over two years now and duckduck go as my search engine. But yes, I need to deGoogle my online life

$ 0.05
6 months ago

Have you used Brave Search? I've been trying it out for the past month or so and I find it is the first search engine I'll actually use to replace Google.

Part of the problems I find with other search engines (DuckDuckGo especially) is that they don't allow the fine tuning I want. Say I have an issue with a release of say Windows 10. I can do a search of that issue with "Windows 10" in the search and I'll still see results (quite high up in the list) for Windows 7 and even XP. But I can use the same "Past Year" option to show me only articles from the last year. That means I can get up to date information not old rubbish.

I suspect this is because Brave Search uses Google in the background but then so does DuckDuckGo and other so called Google alternatives.

You'll never truly escape Google but you can lessen its tracking of you.

$ 0.05
6 months ago

I think most of the options you posted are cool so I'll be using what I want of them. (I already switched to Brave on my mobile phone.) But I think it's up to the alternative to make me want to switch to it, not my dislike of Google. Unless something better for each of my use-cases comes, I'll stick with what I'm using now...

I think for me, and most people, the advantages google services give worth the privacy compromise. The sad truth is that I like their targeted ads to some extent, I rather that than seeing ads I don't care about. +I don't want to use Ad Blocker because ads do support the sites I'm visiting.

It'll be nice when every Open-Source reaches the level of what google is offering, but we're a few years far from that right now.

P.S: I do like using VPN though, I'm using Windscribe.

$ 0.05
6 months ago

Frankly, I prefer to pay submission than watch ads. I also prefer not to visit a website rather than turn off my adblocker when the websites request so.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

It's all about preference in the end...

But I do agree on the second one. If a site forces me to close the ad-blocker I won't want to open it again, I don't like to block ads but it's a very bad idea to make not blocking them the only option.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

I don't use a mobile device, so at least I have no concerns there. This is good advice for those who want to De-Google

♦ I won't use an Adblock, My blogs and the sites where I write articles are supported by advertising revenues. Using an ad blocker is like shooting myself in the foot!

♦ I have tried using other Search Engines. In the end, I always come back to Google because it usually finds what I want much quicker than the other search engines.

♦ I do use other E-mail Services, however I have had my Google gMails accounts for so long it would be extremely inconvenient to get rid of them.

♦ Billions of Google passwords have been leaked? You're probably right about that. I discovered accidentally that one of my passwords was on a Registry of Leaked Passwords. But I don't really get phishing emails. They go straight to SPAM.

♦ I do use another Browser. I am loyal Mozilla Firefox user.

♦ The only other YouTube alternatives I have tried is Odysee and HideoutTV. Um? Not sure why but the Odysee videos kept freezing.

♦ Use VPN. I have heard that Express VPN is really good. But I don't know because I don't use VPNs.

Excellent article!!

$ 0.10
6 months ago

Adblocker will only block ads on your end. Not your viewers. You don't know who among them are using adblockers or not. Besides your view to your blogs won't affect your income anyways. Use brave browser and add your own blog. That way, other brave users can support your blog and I think Brave itself rewards registered blogs or websites.

$ 0.01
6 months ago

Yes I understand that. But for me, it's the "principle". I don't use Ad Blockers because I rely on revenues from advertising for my site and I can only hope that the person visiting my site will not use the blocker. I know that I have no control but I do ask them to turn off their ad blocker when visiting. I have visited sites where they ask me to turn off my ad blocker. Which is odd because I don't have it on. But I think it's just a message that pops up just in case the visitor is using an ad blocker. I just click the buttons that say I am nit using an ad blocker and then enter the site. I realize people are concerned about the privacy and want to block ads. But in my humble opinion. I think the ad blockers are unfair; especially to individual work-at-home professionals like me. Also I have heard of the Brave browser but have not used it yet. Thanks for your reply.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

Hello, my friend,

I share with you the arguments against Google services. While you did a good review on this by providing alternatives, I think it is highly desirable in this global world to evaluate alternative applications to translation services. For example, on YouTube there is the option to read the English subtitles of the videos, I still don't see them on decentralized alternative platforms.

How to understand Marc De Mesel if you speak Filipino, Portuguese or Spanish as is my case. Many need the tools as you are to be able to interact in a smaller world where everyone communicates in English, and perhaps tomorrow in Chinese.

I think there is plenty of room here for service developers for decentralized applications.

You are very right in the fundamentals; We must get out of the surveillance and interference that companies like Google apply to us.

$ 0.10
6 months ago

The decentralized platforms lack this autotranslator features. But I think it will not be far from an open source application appears. This should have been open source already, but again Google is pattenting and this way stalling progress.

Completely understand that without subtitles it is not possible for the message of one person, for the example you have given, Marc De Mesel, to reach everyone in the world. English is spoken but not everywhere. Many parts of the world speak Spanish, Portuguese or Chinese and no other language. In the past it was like that inside Europe too. Just a small part was speaking English, there wasn't too much communication. Perhaps this was another reason for all these wars we were entering.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

Well, I hope to have this functionality in Dapps in the near future. In the meantime, I will continue to develop my English listening skills.

The relationship between the confusion of languages and wars is evident. Although if we look around us, it seems that the war of man against man goes beyond language barriers.

As always; great article.

$ 0.10
6 months ago

I hate a company that manipulate our data for Its marketing. China and USA war about it can be seen in whole world. For a long time China android products had no access to google play store. You are right google is the platform of scammers I shall say because google know every step of its users. We should introduce a better platform than google that make sure privacy factor for its users.

$ 0.01
6 months ago

Thanks for these. But I have a question as regards vpn. I noticed that it takes lots of megabyte when used. I had to put it on and off from time to time. Because it drains my subscription.

And on the other hand, is there anything to vpn that makes it useful to access some sites. Like Twitter which is banned in some countries could be accessed with vpn.

$ 0.05
6 months ago

There are VPNs that are free, but I recommend paying for a package. NordVPN is one of the top. If you are using a free one like Windscribe, it has limited monthly usage. It is recommended to not use free vpns though.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

Ooo. I get now sir.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

Great article and great advice! you should take a look at Criptext, ( https://criptext.com/ ) an encrypted email service that guarantees security, privacy and control over all your email communications. They don‘t have access to your emails nor do they store them in their servers. It's even better than Pronton Mail..

$ 0.05
6 months ago

Thanks for the valuable information. I will check this mail service.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

This is an educative and informative article. I have picked a lot of points within this article

$ 0.00
6 months ago