Migrating from Google to Apple
January 16, 2012 4:25 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are trying to move away from the Googleverse, and could use some help with a few things.

[The following is long in my attempt to be thorough. Apologies.]

For a variety of reasons — that I would prefer not to discuss or debate here, please — the wife and I are moving away from all things Google and plan to use Apple (iCloud) products, but there are a few things we haven't figured out and/or need some suggestions. For the record we both carry iPhones and use iPads all with iOS 5.x, and all of our computers are Macs.

1) We use Google Calendar to manage our busy schedules, but would like to use iCal. However we can't quite figure out how we can EDIT each others calendars. With Google we were able to share our calendars and grant rights to change events. We could also set alerts for each others events. Is this possible in iCal?

Also, I have been playing with the Orchestra app for reminder type events (pick up milk on way home, etc). For the most part I am digging this app, but it doesn't seem to have the ability to set reminders down to the minute (or even hour). Just "soon" "today", etc. It may get these features eventually (or if they do have them, I haven't noticed how to do it!), but for now it is suboptimal. I am using iOS 5's Reminder app for myself, which can be set down to the minute, but am not sure if the app can be used well with other people.

Are there other iOS/Mac apps that may be useful with these sorts of things?

2) We both use Google Reader for RSS feeds, and prefer browser-based readers. Neither of us care all that much about the social aspects of our RSS feed reader (G+, Facebook, etc). I know Mail app and Safari can be used, but my limited exposure to them leaves me wanting more. Any suggestions?

3) I have mixed feelings about Mail app, but think the version shipped with OS 10.7 (Lion) is better than previous versions, so I plan to use it, especially because of iCloud. But I didn't like SpamSieve and do like Google's spam filtering. I think I read somewhere about redirecting email through Google so it gets filtered there. If someone has a link for the best way to do this ... or other spam filtering methods, I'm all ears.

That's probably a good start, and will wait to see what the Hive MindTM comes up with before asking follow-ups if necessary. Thanks.
posted by Hey, Zeus! to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Another thing I probably should mention is that I am not a devotee of any of the popular browsers. I often use Safari, Firefox and Chrome for different things. For example, I use Safari mostly for iCloud and keep it open as if it is a desktop app. I have been using Chrome lately because so many developer friends tell me I should, but I could easily go back to Firefox if something required it... For example I have been told to check out Sage RSS reader, but it appears to only work in Firefox.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 4:37 PM on January 16, 2012

As far as browser-based readers go, I've been using Netvibes for years and it has served me well. (although I use it more as a dashboard than a reader)
posted by ropeladder at 5:25 PM on January 16, 2012

I've been using Bloglines since I gave up Google Reader several months ago. It works fine. For calendars and email you might look at Zoho. No ads and 1 GB storage in the free account. Again, been using it for a few months and I don't really have any complaints.
posted by COD at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2012

For spam filtering, I get my mail through Fastmail.fm. It's not free, but the filtering has been great and the service has had only a few short hiccups in several years.

I used to be a happy user of Mail but after my most recent OS upgrade, it stopped showing my in box, and I haven't found a solution online. So for now I'm using Fastmail's browser-based access, which is a little clunky but serviceable.
posted by ceiba at 7:12 PM on January 16, 2012

The Chrome browser is made by Google. I don't know if you're trying to ditch everything they're involved with, or just avoiding the services.
posted by borkencode at 7:41 PM on January 16, 2012

I replaced reader with newsblur. Their iPhone app is especially nice, I think.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:47 PM on January 16, 2012

If you want to give the finger to Google, start using Scroogle as your search engine. Scroogle doesn't keep a log/history of your browsing past 48 hours. It's the only search engine I know who can make that claim.
posted by BostonTerrier at 9:44 PM on January 16, 2012

How to Go Google-Free on the Web some other things to consider from LifeHacker
posted by Blake at 5:34 AM on January 17, 2012

The cool kids seem to be using DuckDuckGo for search these days.
posted by mhz at 7:01 AM on January 17, 2012

You can share calendars using iCloud/iCal, but you have to initiate it in a funny way. You have to log into icloud.com, create the calendar there, and share it from the Web site. Once you do that you can both use the calendar in iCal or on the Calendar app on iOS and never have to use the site again.
posted by davextreme at 7:26 AM on January 17, 2012

All great tips that I will be investigating. I did switch to DuckDuckGo last week. I am avoiding their services, but I am fine with the browser for now.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 8:59 AM on January 17, 2012

Not interested in Micro$oft products either.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 4:10 PM on January 17, 2012

Apple's Reminders app can do everything you're currently using Orchestra for, you just need an extra Apple ID. Here's what you do: assuming you and your wife each have an Apple ID that is associated with your phone, create a new 3rd apple ID ("ZeusFamily" or whatever). Add it to both phones, and tell it to sync only the reminders on that account. In the Reminders app, your reminder lists are now identified with an apple ID. Reminders created on the shared apple ID will sync to your wife's phone instantly. Reminders created under your personal apple ID will stay on your phone.

This may work for sharing calendars as well; I haven't tried.
posted by Chris4d at 1:28 PM on January 24, 2012


1) We have already started using Reminders for most of the things I liked about Orchestra. We simply used iCal to subscribe to each others reminders, and that gave us the access we needed.

One of the the frustrating things we learned about migrating to Calendar is that if we exported our Google calendar data and then imported it to Calendar we couldn't edit each others events. Calendar would give us a message the the event had been deleted from another device, which wasn't true. This does not happen with items created in Calendar/iCloud. We searched the web for a long time before figuring this out on our own, so I am sharing it here just in case others have the issue.

Based on a tip on Daring Fireball we started using Agenda app for our calendar interface on our iPhones and iPads and LOVE it! Asked them to develop a desktop app and they said they have received enough requests to put it on their to-do list.

2) Still have not found an RSS reader we like as much as Google Reader, and the 1 March deadline is approaching quickly. Most of the others suggested or we found elsewhere try to do too much and are cluttered and clunky. Still open to suggestions!

3) Tried my darndest to like Mail app and finally binned it for Thunderbird for now.

Thanks to those who offered help.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2012

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