Can I de-google without too much pain?
December 3, 2011 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about de-google-fying my internet life. Has anyone else done this? Can anyone give me some resources for alternatives, particularly to gmail, which have the same ease of use as their google-equivalent?

Basically, the damn blue bar has made me snap. I have tried G+ and don't like the names policy and quit, yet here it is being shoved down my throat again. In looking to see how to get rid of it, all I'm finding are convoluted answers involving hashcode tweaks for AdBlock plus add ins for firefox, some of which have already had to be revised, apparently, as google killed them. And that's when I said to myself, fuck it. I'd rather quit using them entirely and be free of such bullshit forever than have to deal with this crap again in a few months when google finds a new way to jab me in the ribs and demand I join their social network.

The main google products I use are gmail and google reader. I'd like to know

a) what are the web based alternatives?
b) what would the costs/expertise level be to buy a server, set up a simple personal email client on it, and get my mail that way? I'd be willing to pay $150 bucks or so. Or would that mean I'd be drowning in spam and vulnerable to getting my email hijacked unless I spent ages reading up on internet security, etc.?
c) is there anything out there that's back compatible with gchat? Losing that function alone is enough to make me hesitate with regard to de-googling. I know I can sign in to AIM in gchat --- can I do that the other way, and if I do can people see my status?

Ditto for reader. Any other google replacement servicers are also welcome news --- I already use dropbox and open office, but I've definitely dabbled in other services.
posted by Diablevert to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
My friend uses this for default search, try it out: Duck Duck Go.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, if it's just the top bar that drives you nuts, that's about to be removed for a more subtle indicator that stays out of your way a little better.

A domain name with your own email addresses that you can connect to with a desktop client (thunderbird, outlook, whatever) can be really cheap - maybe 10 bucks a year for registration, plus another few bucks a month in hosting fees and such. I use, which is dirt cheap, pay-as-you-go and fantastic, but aimed at a little more technical user.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:20 PM on December 3, 2011

For e-mail don't try to host yourself, as a former sysadm I can testify it is an horrendous time drain. I'd personally recommend FastMail, the service is great, you pay $60/year for top-notch service with full bells and whistles, and they allow your own domain name if you're not happy with the many they already allow you to choose from.

For chat so you know gchat is using the standard XMPP protocol. You can create an account by any other standard XMPP service and add your gchat friends as using their full contact ID (username@server). IIRC still accepts new registrations; you can probably find many others for free.
posted by knz at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Google Talk is just a jabber server.
Any IM client that supports the Jabber protocol can connect to gtalk, although you still need a gmail address.
Your "jabber ID" is your full gmail address:
port: 5223
posted by jozxyqk at 1:23 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also I use Scroogle to exploit google search without them exploiting me.
posted by knz at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2011 [6 favorites]

I'm also thinking of moving away from Google, for me more because their web stuff's really disappointing me and I'm becoming creeped out by the interconnection between products (I don't want my info synced to the Droid of everyone I talk to..).

But yes, you can use gchat from lots of places and through lots of clients. Meebo (it's a web site rather than its own software), Pidgin, Digsby, Trillian all come to mind. But you would have to keep your Google account to log into it with your gmail address... I'm not sure if you could chat with people who are using gchat through a non-gchat account, if that's what you mean.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 1:29 PM on December 3, 2011

I'm not sure if you could chat with people who are using gchat through a non-gchat account, if that's what you mean.

Yes you can. the Google chat network (XMPP servers for is fully interoperable with the rest of the XMPP network. You can have an XMPP account at (say) and fill your contact list with your former buddies.
posted by knz at 1:34 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite] for email and calendar, etc.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2011

Seconding Fastmail . You don't have to pay at all but i would suggest you do. Also you don't have have to have an email address like if the .fm bit puts you off (I've met people who worry about this) as fastmail has lots of others or you can use your own domain (that falls into one of the 'paid-for' options).

I'm reasonably sure you can forward all email from gmail to fm if that's what you want (at least temporarily).
posted by southof40 at 12:40 PM on December 4, 2011

Seconding Netvibes instead of Reader. GMX is a good email service, although I can't say anything about their calendar. (I don't use Google Calendar, either.)
posted by gakiko at 4:21 AM on December 5, 2011

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