Yeah, this is a posting about why I’m finally saying goodbye to Google. As an avid user of their products from the very beginning, and as someone who is using a lot of their services, this wasn’t an easy decision nor will any transition be easy.
So the main question is why? Because their motto of “Don’t Be Evil” is no longer true and I’m really tired of the cost of their “free” offerings. The last straw for me was the latest story in the on-going saga in which Google (along with several other advertising companies) exploited a loophole in the Safari browser used on the iPhone/iPad and the Mac which allowed them to track user behavior.
The thing is I’m not even angry over the user tracking. I’d expect that from them because they make all of their money off of advertising. What really made me angry was that they tried to deny it.
“We didn’t anticipate that this would happen, and we have now started removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers,” Google’s Rachel Whetstone explained.
Really? They had no idea this would happen? I find it hard to believe that a company full of a lot of very smart software engineers would have no idea that such a thing would occur. This was another attempt to further integration of Google+ into other things ( the last example being the ridiculous placement of Google+ items in search results).
A trip to your Google Dashboard can be a real eye-opener. If you have a Google account head over to https://www.google.com/dashboard/ and take a look at the list. I did and it was a pretty extensive list of just how much data Google has on me. Email (via gmail), calendar (Google Calendar of course), voice mail (via Google Voice), web search history, etc.
All of these services are free and to be quite honest they’re pretty damn good too. I’ve really enjoyed using them over the years but I just think now that Google has become so large the cost of their free services is just too high. I have absolutely no idea what they’re doing with my email. I know they say they’re scanning it only for ad placement (hey it’s a free service that has to be paid for somehow right?) but I have no way of knowing. The same thing goes for the data I have in Google Voice and Google Calendar. I just don’t find the risks acceptable anymore just to get free services.
So the search is on for replacements. The list of services I’m going to attempt to replace are:
I’ll do a different write-up of each of these as I search for alternatives as it might be useful to someone else.
I really wish this weren’t all necessary. Maybe I’m being ridiculous because I know that the notion of real privacy in this world is old-fashioned. However, I only have one way to get my point across and that is to “vote with my wallet” and stop using their services. None of these services are so important to me that I’m willing to give up important personal data to Google simply for a freebie. Those days are over.