Ditching Google: Privacy Alternatives

Google products are packed with quality features that provide us with the convenience to do anything on the internet. Whether it is searching for something on Google’s search engine or uploading documents into Google Drive. We all rely on Google products to get important things done.

With the ever-increasing privacy concerns from Google, did you know there are alternative services and products that are just as good and respect your data and privacy? In this article, I am going to tell you about some great products that are worth looking at!

Google search alternatives

Did you know that there are some great privacy-orientated search engines that deliver great search results, just like Google?

Startpage is a privacy search engine that uses Google search results with all the tracking stripped out. Founded in 2006, the Netherlands based search engine has grown in popularity over the years, becoming one of the top alternatives to Google search. Startpage does not collect any search queries by their users, and they also prevent targeted advertising.  

The US based DuckDuckGo has become extremely popular over the last few years. They also provide a more private search by not collecting search queries and provide a browser addon that prevents third-party tracking and fingerprinting.  

Qwant is a French based privacy-focused search engine that is like DuckDuckGo. It offers unfiltered search results using Microsoft’s Bing search index. The search engine also has a children’s mode called Qwant Junior, where safe search is always on by default and has an easy-to-use layout.

Google Chrome alternatives

The issue with Google Chrome is that it can be a resource hog. There are some great browsers that offer better performance and speed, and do not include all the Google bloatware. 

FireFox is a browser that is developed by the non-profit organisation Mozilla. FireFox has been in development since 2002 and is one of the only browsers to not use the chromium engine. Instead, the browser uses the Gecko engine.  

Brave is a chromium-based browser that is light on CPU and has great privacy features out of the box. Brave is the best alternative browser if you love Google Chrome. You can install all your favourite extensions from the Chrome Web Store right into Brave. The browser also has privacy respecting ads that allow you to earn small amounts of cryptocurrency called BAT (Basic Attention Token).

Google Drive alternatives

Google Drive is a great cloud storage solution, but when it comes to your privacy, it is not the best choice out there.  

Created by Jan Lenczyk, Filen is a new open-source cloud storage provider based in Germany. Filen respects its user’s privacy by implementing zero-knowledge encryption with easy sync capabilities using their mobile and desktop clients. 

Originally created by Kim Dotcom and the successor to the now defunct Megaupload, MEGA offers a generous 25GB of storage for free. It offers zero-knowledge encryption out of the box and is also open-source. MEGA has been in business since 2013 and has become one of the most popular cloud storage providers on the market. It offers quick syncing of files with a nice user interface.

Google Docs alternatives

There are many free and feature-rich Google Docs alternatives out there, but these alternatives offer the same features (or more) without Google seeing what you are up to. 

CryptPad is a free privacy-focused alternative to Google Docs that is encrypted by default. It has all the editors like word documents, excel sheets and even form making. It also allows real time collaboration with other people, and it is all done in the web browser. 

Libre Office is a free office suite that has feature-rich tools for enhancing your productivity. The only downside is that it only works offline and does not have any official mobile apps. If you do not mind this, Libre Office is a perfect alternative to Google Docs.

Gmail alternatives

Did you know that every for every single email you receive in your Gmail inbox, or you send out, Google will scan the contents for advertising purposes? Therefore, Gmail is provided free of charge to users. If you do not pay for the product, you are the product. 

Tutanota is a German email provider that runs completely from 100% green energy. It has open-source desktop and mobile clients and allows you to have multiple email aliases in their paid plans. When you send an email to other Tutanota users, the email will be end-to-end encrypted. 

ProtonMail is one of the most popular alternative email services to Gmail. The Swiss email provider has great privacy out of the box due to Switzerland’s privacy laws. Proton Mail has a great UI for their web app and mobile clients, and they offer a free plan for people who want to give the service a try. 

StartMail is developed by the same team who made Startpage.com search engine. StartMail unfortunately does not have a free plan but with their premium plan, you can create unlimited email aliases, so you can be sure your email inbox stays spam free. The service also lets you send end-to-end encrypted emails, just like Tutanota and ProtonMail. 

Google Keep alternatives

Google Keep has limited features when it comes to note taking and all your notes. There are other high-quality note taking apps that give you more functionality and privacy, so you can keep on being productive. 

Standard Notes is a free and open-source note taking application that you can use on your desktop, mobile phone or through the web browser. It offers complete private encrypted note taking, so you can be assured that no one else can read your notes. It offers fast syncing between unlimited devices so you can continue to edit notes on the go. Standard Notes also offers more functionality with its Productivity and Profession plan by offering different editors, long-term revision history, and encrypted backups and files.

Joplin has become extremely popular over the last few years for being a reliable, free note taking application with notebooks (just like Evernote). The application goes beyond a simple note taking tool by allowing you to create tables, insert images, create checklists and to-dos. Joplin has an optional premium plan too that can allow you to publish your notes on the internet and comes with a web clipper so you can save webpages directly into Joplin.

Ditching Google can be difficult

It is by no means an easy task to ditch Google products when they provide so much convenience in our day-to-day lives. By switching to an alternative product, it means that you can support passionate developers who want to make a high-quality product that is not trying to swipe up all your data to line their own pockets. The more alternatives there are out there that consumers are using, the better it is for everyone. 

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