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Google-free web experience?
November 9, 2012 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Let's say I want to live a Google-free existence on the web. What are my best (preferably free, open source) alternatives to various Google products, including the search engine itself?
posted by deathpanels to Technology (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Try Duck Duck Go as a search engine.
posted by Prof Iterole at 6:16 PM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Bing, of course. I haven't used it but apparently it's "good."
Hotmail for mail.
Skype for chat.
Apple (?) for calendar.
Vimeo and/or Hulu for YouTube.
Facebook for Google+.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 6:33 PM on November 9, 2012


Zoho covers many Google Apps.

Incidentally, if this is some sort of hardcore experiment, like for writing an essay about the experience, you're going to need to set up a local repository of many open source Javascript libraries and repoint a Google hostname at it in your hosts file, because a very large number of non-Google sites technically depend on Google.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:01 PM on November 9, 2012


What are your reasons for dumping Google? If you do not want to be tracked, you can use DuckDuckGo (which uses Bing for results among other sources) or ixquick (which uses Google).

Presumably you want to avoid Microsoft as well, so Bing, Hotmail, Skype are out. MS is invested in Facebook too. You still have Twitter, identi.ca, App.Net, Diaspora, and Tent.io for social networking. (Especially the non-Twitter options, which are close to federated systems). You'll still need to get your friends to move. For video it's all about the content. Your other non-YouTube options also include LiveLeak and DailyMotion, or downloading videos and keeping them local.

For email, you will not find a free email service that will not track you for the purposes of serving ads. Better to either pay for something like FastMail or host your own.

For chat, you can use an XMPP service like Jabber. You may even be able to talk to Google Talk users.

AstraWeb can be used for USENET access, or one of these public news servers (looks sketchy).
posted by mkb at 7:02 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Before you join new services check them out at Account Killer to make sure you are able to delete an account if you change your mind and don't like it.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:17 PM on November 9, 2012


As long as you don't mind using all-Apple products, at the moment Apple itself will do its damnedest to keep you Google-free. So... Switch to an iEverything, and consider it done-in-one.
posted by pla at 7:33 PM on November 9, 2012


For email, you will not find a free email service that will not track you for the purposes of serving ads.

This is not correct. Zoho Mail has no ads. They have a paid product for small businesses, but for single users they give you a perfectly good mail product with a gig or two of mail storage. I've used them for years without any issues.
posted by COD at 8:12 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


NEED MOAR INFOARMATION.

What do you use Google for, apart from search? Google does lots and lots and lots and lots of stuff, almost all of it mediocre. Let us know what in particular you want to replace.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:58 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hundreds of millions of people use Google for email. You'll have to stop writing emails (even if you don't use Google for your own email) if you want to stop giving your data to Google's servers. And as mentioned above, a large percentage of sites use Google's servers to host javascript, or power their web applications using App Engine, and even more use Google Analytics to track visitors, and even more use Google Adwords to track your traffic across sites to show you ads. Your question to Metafilter alone probably triggers dozens of calls to Google's servers.
posted by neustile at 9:56 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wolfram Alpha can give a vast array of useful scientific and mathematical information.
posted by jiawen at 10:59 PM on November 9, 2012


I'm assuming your goal here is to give Google as little of your personal information as is reasonably possible.

This is also my goal. I do not have a Google account. Some of the alternatives I use:

- DuckDuckGo for search.
- Host my own email.
- Chrome* with all the privacy settings turned on. Ghostery, Do Not Track Plus and AdBlock Plus installed (blocks Google Analytics, advertising networks, etc).
- Dropbox for document storage and back-ups.
- iCal with iCloud sync for calendars.
- iPhone.

(*Chrome is a Google product, of course, but it has surprisingly good privacy controls. If you want to avoid Google entirely, Safari or Firefox.)

This post may also be of help to you: Google and privacy and alternatives: giant post o' doom.

One of the hardest things for me was finding an iPad RSS reader that didn't use Google Feeds but had a pleasing user experience. I ended up going with The Early Edition, which is a little buggy but does what I need it to do.
posted by Georgina at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


And as mentioned above, a large percentage of sites use Google's servers to host javascript, or power their web applications using App Engine, and even more use Google Analytics to track visitors, and even more use Google Adwords to track your traffic across sites to show you ads. Your question to Metafilter alone probably triggers dozens of calls to Google's servers.

With some hacking you can stop that happening, though. AdBlock will kill google ads if you want; NoScript on Firefox can kill any or all scripts, including Google Analytics. Ghostery or equivalent can be set up to reject any Google cookies that sneak in.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2012


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