Saturday, July 02, 2011

Escaping Google

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Here are two very good articles on escaping the ubiquity of Google online. Of course, it's not entirely possible, but there are a lot of alternatives out there for Google functions.

How I Learned to Live Google Free, by Joshua J. Romero

A Week Without Google, by Chris Reynolds

Some of the replacements that interested me were:

  • for RSS, Sage extension for Firefox
  • instead of Gmail, Zoho Mail (though Romero notes that, for better security, Lavabit or FastMail might be better, and each has a plan for less than $10 a year)
  • for searching, DuckDuckGo seems even better than Google and doesn't save or pass on data about you or your search; Blekko also seems to have some useful functions
  • YouTube seems to be the indispensable Google site, though Vimeo is an alternative
  • Todoist replaces Google Tasks, and Romero notes it is by far superior

I will update this post with more alternatives to Google in the near future.

Update: Speaking of the near future ...

  • Lightning, a Thunderbird plug-in, replaces Google Calendar and Tasks
  • Hootsuite replaces Twitter
  • Chris Pederick's Web Developer replaces Chrome's WebKit (though Reynolds laments the lack of Inspect Element, some similar add-ons are available for Firefox)
There's a lot more; the above is only the beginning.

Here are two more guys who took up the week-without-Google challenge:

A Week Without Google! on Tech Guru

One Week Without Google, by Tom Krazit

The Tech Guru's article offers some more alternatives:

  • He suggests Yahoo! search for web searching.
  • Instead of Gmail, he too recommends Zoho, and as an alternative,
  • He claims Zoho is better than Google Docs, but also suggests Thinkfree, which offers (like Zoho) an online office suite.
  • For Google Maps, he suggests Microsoft's Virtual Earth (though this doesn't seem, at first glance, to lead to an easy-to-use map application - maybe this has become Bing Maps?) and Yahoo Maps, and also Ask Maps. For Google Earth, Microsoft has Virtual Earth 3D, though this seems to have been dropped.
  • For YouTube, he offers Yahoo Video, Metacafe, Vimeo, Revver, and Veoh.
A few more apps of interest that I ran across in the above articles and in research stemming from them:
  • Web Developer does seem cool.
  • SeaMonkey is an integrated Mozilla app with browser, email, HTML composer, and more.
  • Tabberwocky seems like an interesting Firefox tab manager.

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