- 1 Replacements, Alternatives to Google Products and Services
- 2 Self-hosting
- 3 Search Engines
- 4 Email Providers
- 5 Mobile Operating Systems
- 6 Maps and Navigation
- 7 Docs and Sheets
- 8 Browser
- 9 Translation
- 10 Google earth
- 11 Social Network
Replacements, Alternatives to Google Products and Services
Google’s products (e.g. the Android operating system) and services (search engine, YouTube, Google Mail, etc.) aggregate user data on a massive scale. This data is used to present users with a personalized experience, or in other words, a filter bubble of search results and targeted advertising. There is an obvious potential for abuse, but it’s more subtle than that.
This “filter bubble” not only exploits our tastes, experiences, behaviours, biases and turn them into revenue, it also blocks everyone from having some "neutral" (or common) vision of what exists over the internet, therefore reinforcing biases and polarizations. Furthermore, it manipulates people into habitual use of their products. Just try to observe yourself when you are bored or depressed: Can you resist the compulsion to visit YouTube for that instant reward?
This opaque capacity to influence what people may or may not see (besides the anti-competitive behaviour it represents when the same company owns the advertisement market) is overall an immense political power we cannot tolerate nor let unaccounted for. It silently puts Google and other companies above the law. Remember: Any profit-oriented business is only as lawful and ethical as it needs to be in order to avoid prosecution. It’s a calculated risk. The line needs to be drawn by us, the consumers.
The fact that it is hard for most people to escape Google’s grasp itself is worrying. Hence, this page is used to gather alternatives to Google products and services which respect user privacy.
It is though dangerous to think in terms of "alternatives", like the goal was to reach equivalence to what Google offers (and risk to always lag behind). In reality what we want is *better* services than the ones of Google, because they would rest on *better* principles, such as decentralization/distribution of services, end-to-end encryption, uncompromising free/libre software, etc.
While presenting these "alternatives" or "replacements" here, we must keep in mind that the true goal is to achieve proper distribution/decentralization of information and communication, and empower people to understand and control where their information goes.
Existing Resources and Guides
A more generic guide about privacy and tools: https://www.privacytools.io/
Self-hosting (running one's own services on one own's server) may be the one-and-only way -on a political and on a technological perspective- to get rid of centralized services and some other potential sources of eavesdropping. Self-hosting is not accessible to everyone, as it requires some resources and experience to set-up (yet everyone has a potential to start learning it). Yet, pretty much the same way you do not have to learn to become a farmer before getting fruits and vegetables grown in a fair and respectful way, self-hosting is often practiced in a mutualized way: to the scale of a bunch of friends, of a collective, a company, a university, a city... or a neighborhood?
An amazing list of free/libre software for self-hosting: https://github.com/Kickball/awesome-selfhosted/blob/master/README.md
https://www.duckduckgo.com (centralized, US company)
Very good email provider. 1 Euro per month, no spam, no bullshit, just email. Posteo is based in Berlin and has a political agenda in reagards to privacy protection. So they have encrypted servers and so on. Also see: https://posteo.de/en/site/features
Very good email provider. 1 Euro per month, no spam, no bullshit, just email. Mailbox is based in Germany and has a political agenda in reagards to privacy protection. So they have encrypted servers and so on. Also see: https://mailbox.org/sichere-email/
Full disk encryption, personally encrypted email storage and many more fantastic features. Check out https://riseup.net/en/email for more. Donate as you see fit for usage and apply for an account. High quality provider.
Mobile Operating Systems
Sailfish OS — Based on open source, developed by Finnish company Jolla and the Sailfish OS community. Licensed devices come with a (proprietary) Android compatibility layer as a stop-gap solution to the relatively small amount of native apps.
PureOS — Privacy-focused operating system and mobile phone. Several choices for UI and software. Phone has CPU separate from baseband processor and hardware kill switches.
Replicant — AndroidOS without all the proprietary crap. Means it works only on some rather ancient devices and that some drivers are missing (GPU, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.). Interesting project to help demonstrate how much Android relies on proprietary software to function, to debunk Google's myth that "Android is Free/libre software"
OpenStreetmap! - It's just so much better than google maps! You can edit the map yourself and add roads, houses or stores. Whatever you find relevant. Have a look at:
The map itself: https://www.openstreetmap.org
For comparison to Google maps: http://tools.geofabrik.de/mc/
For routing: https://graphhopper.com/maps/
Download OpenStreetmap-Data: http://download.geofabrik.de/
Integrate OpenStreetmap in your website (wordpress): https://wordpress.org/plugins/osm/
Giving Google a list of all the places you go not only help them profile your income and your habits, but it also enables them to target advertisement to you (according to where you may go) or predict your next moves. These data are invaluable for instance for insurance or transport companies to whom google may sell them. Geolocation data stored in Google servers, could potentially be used to incriminate people (you *were* at this protest, weren't you? You were not sick at home that day? etc.)
OpenStreetMap is entirely non-profit and contributive. With it people can (re)appropriate the map and the territory, and invent new uses for it (like disaster recovery in Haïti that abundantly used OSM). Inhabitants of small, isolated places can together get to much better cartography than what is of Google's financial interests. Data from OSM can be reused in each and every possible way, with no licensing conditions subjected to further changes.
Docs and Sheets
-Etherpad For collaborative text editing
-Mailbox Office If you have your email account at mailbox you also have a browser based office suite included: https://mailbox.org/ihr-office/
-LibreOffice Online Use libreoffice on the website directly: https://www.rollapp.com/libreoffice
-LibreOffice (offline) The installed program libreoffice can open and save documents directly from servers (ssh, ftp), WebDAV ans so on Also see: https://help.libreoffice.org/Common/Using_Remote_Files_1/pl
-Collabora Online Run an online office suite on your own server Also see: https://www.collaboraoffice.com/code/
Using google's sheets and docs for your organizing is literally storing all your data with them complete with edit history of all collaborators.
Use Firefox for example to avoid worst Google-Spying on you. The Chrome Browser has several tracking functionalities, that spy on user browsing behaviour: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome#User_tracking
Google also connects data generated from the google browser with other personal data it has gathered with other google services.
Helpful Browser-Plugins for Firefox
-Privacy Badger: It prevents cookies and trackers to spy on your browsing behaviour. You can choose, which trackers are alowed to track you and which ones are not. For example it is recommended do de-activate all Trackers by Google (e.G. google Analytics) and by Facebook (share buttons and so on) https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/privacy-badger17/
- HTTPS Everywhere: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
- uBlock Origin: https://www.ublock.org/
-User Agent Switcher: This Addon will fake your browser randomly. So after a few minutes it switches browser and operating system. At least it seams like that for websites you are presently surfing on. This makes it very hard for websites to track you according the information you give them in connection to your browser and your operating system. https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/user-agent-switcher/
Google's business model is based on selling YOUR personal and private data. It's called data mining and is a malicious business model!
Yet, Firefox is *far* from being perfect: Firefox without extensions is as vulnerable to data-harvesting as any other browser. Management of cookies is really cumbersome, and they are accepted by default. Also by default are accepted ads, cross-site scripting and all these features of "modern" web that makes tracking easy. + Mozilla boasts about defending people's privacy when in reality they didn't do much to change anything about this (Isn't Google even still their default search engine, after years of collecting their money?), as for their implicit acceptance of DRM in HTML5...
Deepl translator Works MUCH better than Google Translate, and is accessible via tor.
Marble - It's a globe like google earth but with multiple maps you can choose from. For example historic maps, OpenStreetmap. You can even change the globe to moon or venus or other planets. Great peace of software! Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_(software)
-Googleearth is a closed source software -Googleearth collects data abount what people search and combines this information with the general personal-data-database
Google+ is a social network by google. It is a competitor to facebook or Linkedin. All of these services make money of personal user data.
-Diaspora A decentralized social network. Open Source. Works perfectly. Campatible to Friendica. Find servers you can sign on: https://podupti.me/ -Friendica A decentralized social network. Open Source. Works perfectly. Campatible to Diaspora. Find servers you can sign on: https://dir.friendica.social/servers -Gnu-Social A decentralized social network. Open Source. Works perfectly. Also see: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Social
Alternatives to google+ (and Facebook):