For years I’ve been an avid Google product’s user: Chrome as my main browser, for development & daily usage, 2 email accounts on Gmail, Google maps for traversing the city, Drive for file sharing, and so on. But I’m done! Why? I value my privacy.
It’s no surprise nor a secret that Google tracks you, everybody knows that (or should know). But most people, including myself, didn’t give too much importance to this. It knows what sites you visited, what you searched for, where you are, your routines and much more.
“Come on! Google knows where I live and it always knows what’s the best route to take home after work, it just makes your life easier, plus it’s free!” - Naive average user.
Did you know prices on flight tickets will appear higher for you if you previously searched and there’s info about that on your browser? This is just one example of how you, the end user, are negatively affected by third party trackers and advertising networks.
For several years I’ve seen an increasing number of bad decisions from Google that directly affects the end user’s privacy. Some days ago Google announced it will start tracking even the purchases you make offline, those you make by sweeping your card on a physical store, this with the purpose of giving advertisers insights (and who knows what else) about Google’s ads campaigns and how they affect user’s behaviour.
Also recently, it announced that next versions of Chrome will have a default ads blocker. Wait! What? A company whose biggest revenue share comes from advertising will add an ads blocker to their own browser? That’s idiotic right?
Well, my guess is that it will block all ads but theirs.
This looks unffair to me, they created a browser so they can track your movements, interests and darkest secrets so they can sell them to the best buyer, and now they want to make it a monopoly?
I once heard (can’t remember where and who said it) that if you can use a service for free is because you, the user, are the product they are selling. This is nothing but the complete truth.
Google, Facebook, Twitter & many others have proved that. But for now, I’m just done with Google.
Hello, old friend!
So, no more Chrome for a start. I deleted Chrome and any other Google’s service like maps and drive from my computer, iPad and iPhone. I just reinstalled Mozilla’s Firefox in all of them, they even have a Developer’s version which I’ve found great so far.
Firefox was my default browser for years before Chrome and it feels good to be back. Mozilla as a company is a completely different story, they don’t sell ads, they advocate for user’s privacy and you can find a lot of plugins for stoping ads and trackers (also Chrome have them, I give them that).
There are some other interesting projects out there such as Vivaldi which I liked a lot, but as a developer it lacks the tools I need, maybe it will catch up in some years. There’s also Brave, which is completely oriented to user’s privacy, stoping third party trackers and advertising by default making page loading much faster.
Not everything is Chrome!
Way to go duck!
What about searching? It’s an important part of everybody’s workflow in a browser right? My answer is: DuckDuckGo. It’s an independent search engine that also advocates for user’s privacy. There are addons for Chrome, apps for iOS and Android or you can just bookmark the site or configure your browser’s settings to use it for default.
This was a great discovery and so far a better user experience, since now I can easily find what I’m looking for and not what Google wants me to look at. No more ads on my search results.
I really like this project and hope many other people would adopt it.
I own several domains, such as this one, so having a personalized email hosting should not be an issue, especially with services such as Zoho Mail.
No more Gmail for now.
For file sharing and hosting there are many other solutions such as Dropbox, Mega, Amazon Web Services an so on, no need for Drive anymore.
I’m not telling you to stop using all Google’s products, this is my personal view and standpoint for now. I just don’t like the way this company is doing things and I value my privacy.
There are a lot of steps besides these to secure our privacy online (and offline), and I think people should be aware and give the importance it needs, especially when a big part of our life is spent on the web.