Fed up with Google’s privacy misadventures and random service closures? These websites are on a mission to help you ditch Google forever and find great alternatives to every product and service.
As great as some of Google’s products are, sometimes it’s difficult to believe the company has its users’ best interests at heart. It is regularly mired in privacy-related controversies and heavily criticized for how it collects data. And often, a perfectly good service or app is shut down, leaving users scrambling for alternatives.
Surprisingly, it’s not that hard to quit using the company’s products. And these websites and blogs tell you the best alternatives to Google apps and services.
1. No More Google (Web): Privacy Friendly Alternatives to Google
If all you want is a simple list of the best options to ditch Google, head to No More Google. This website focuses on privacy-friendly alternatives to major products, ranked by user votes. It’s a simple list though, don’t look for pros and cons here.
There are lots of ways Google is tracking you, so No More Google’s focus is to recommend apps and services that don’t track you. Currently, it suggests alternatives for Google Chrome, Chrome passwords, Search, Analytics, Docs, Sheets, Maps, AdWords, Authenticator, Blogger, DNS, Drive, Finance, Flights, Hangouts, Images, Poly, Scholar, Translate, Weather, Gmail, and YouTube.
The website got a lot of attention on Product Hunt, and therefore several users have actively voted on the best apps to use instead. With this simple upvote system, you can pick an app based on the popular consensus.
2. Nomoogle (Chrome, Firefox): Extension to Prompt Google Alternatives
You can decide to not use Google products, but it’s difficult to implement it. After years of being accustomed to them, it’s almost a habit to search on Google or find a location on Google Maps. Nomoogle reminds you to choose a different path when you lapse.
The extension is available for both Chrome and Firefox, but of course, it asks you to first ditch Chrome. In fact, the Chrome extension needs to be installed manually and isn’t available on the Chrome Web Store.
Once installed, Nomoogle will issue a pop-up every time you accidentally visit a Google site. Paired with a funny GIF, it will suggest alternatives. Click one and it’ll execute the same search query or another task in that app. It’s among the simplest ways to quit your Google habit.
Dive into Nomoogle’s settings and you’ll find two modes: strict and redirect. Redirect mode will automatically send you to an alternative website, while strict mode blocks Google pages.
3. The Google Cemetery (Web): Alternatives for Dead Google Products
Google is infamous for killing perfectly functional, much-beloved apps and services. A few examples include Google Reader, Inbox by Gmail, Hangouts, and Trips. Do you really want to use a service by this company, carefully set it up how you want, and then have it yanked away?
The Google Cemetery is a digital graveyard for all their dead products, and a repository of alternatives too. The list provides a short description for each suggested app and shows you who it was created by. Users can also vote for the apps and submit their own alternative suggestions.
The website also tracks which Google products are about to be killed, and the countdown is a helpful way to know when you have to migrate your data. Plus, it’s kind of fun to read about how and why Google killed something, as well as people’s reaction to it.
4. r/DeGoogle (Web): Reddit Community to Expel Google From Your Life
You are not alone. There is an entire community of people like you who want to remove Google from their lives entirely. And as always, such support from people who are going through the same journey makes things easier.
There are currently more than 19,000 members, who all share their tips and experiences of the process. It’s a good place to get specific advice about problems you might face while quitting Google apps, because chances are, someone else has gone through the same thing.
The community also keeps abreast of new ways that Google might be infiltrating privacy and suggests alternatives. Since there are no official discussion forums for “de-googling”, this is the best you can get.
The big leap to completely get rid of Google can seem daunting. Will you find the right alternatives which you enjoy using? Is it going to be tough, or even impossible? In 2018, journalist Nithin Coca decided to quit Google, and chronicled his journey.
While there are several articles about quitting Google, this is the best one I read. Coca takes you through his thinking process, how he evaluated various alternative software, unexpected challenges, and so on. He provides compelling reasons for how and why he chose the app he stuck with in the end.
Plus, Coca seems to be among the few people who has stuck to his guns. After a year from the first post, he wrote a follow-up on living outside the Google bubble for a year, titled My Year Without Google. Both the articles are worth checking out to gain an insight for what you’re in for, and how to go about it.
The Big Hurdle: Android
Unless you’re using an iPhone, the biggest hurdle in quitting Google is the Android operating system. It’s owned by Google and the company aggressively pushes users to adopt Google apps and services on it. Your phone is with you all the time, so just imagine how much Google is getting to know about you.
But can you really have an Android device and not use Google apps and services? Surprisingly, it’s not only possible, but easier than you might think. You may have to miss out on a few apps, but you get to protect your privacy in return. Check out our full guide on how to use Android without Google.