This being the fourth week in January, many people are making resolutions to improve their lives. This post is dedicated to all the people working on their various Technology-related resolutions. Today I’m explaining why I’m leaving the Google ecosystem.
In early 2019, I realized I depended too much on Google as a whole. I have an Android phone, I used various Google products like Gmail and Google Docs, and I didn’t see a problem giving my data over to the company. I wanted to leave the Google ecosystem but I talked myself out of it because of the time commitment. But I changed my mind after YouTube changed its Terms of Service in late 2019 and YouTube users got their entire Google account banned in error due to spam. This told me that the convenience Google offered me could put me in a terrible situation if my account was ever suspended or deleted.
Why I’m Leaving The Google Ecosystem: Diversify My Online Accounts
As I said in the introduction paragraph, I invested myself heavily into the Google ecosystem. Some parts of the community I can’t change easily because there aren’t many alternatives. The top one being my smartphone. I own a Samsung Galaxy S7 running Android. Switching to Apple is an option but I don’t want to be part of the Apple ecosystem. I’m not a fan of their walled-garden community. I am an Open Source fan and I know there are Linux smartphones but those aren’t popular yet. Since I need my phone for my day-job (and they do pay for it), I am “stuck” with my choice.
But what I can change is the applications I use. I made the switch from Gmail to private email hosting. I already owned a domain and adding an email hosting package to that was cheap. In addition, I got a private cloud service package. I used that space to move all my files from Google Drive.
Since I now diversified my online accounts and have control over two important ones (email and cloud storage), if something was to happen to my Google account (like it being shut down or suspended) I won’t be in a bad position. I would have the ability to still send and receive email and access important files online.
Why I’m Leaving The Google Ecosystem: Take Back My Data
It’s no secret that Google uses your activity to target you with ads. If you go into your Account Settings and view the Privacy & Personalization section, you will see a section about personalizing ads to you. How can Google personalize ads to you? By watching you search through their search engine, what you watch on YouTube, and the emails you send through Gmail. Yes, you can turn off the personalization, but most people don’t.
I’m taking back my data slowly by not using so many of Google’s products, and I turned off ad personalization. For search, I use DuckDuckGo, and I use the Brave web browser. Yes, I still use YouTube, but now I’m using Bitchute more. Again, these are small steps but they are in the right direction.
I Can’t Fully Leave
As I shown throughout this post, I can’t fully leave the Google ecosystem. The company as a whole and their products have become a major part of my technical life.
Even though I stopped using their search and browser products, I’m still using Google Maps because I like the features. And I still use my Android smartphone.
I’m not trying to convey that I don’t like Google at all in this post, because that’s not my true feelings. I think there are good things Google makes, and there are bad decisions within those products. You have to take the good with the bad.
Overall, what I’m doing with leaving the Google ecosystem is protecting my online life. It’s not good to tie up so much of my online dealings with one company. That company, be it Google or Microsoft or even Apple, can make a change in their terms or suspend your account, putting you at a disadvantage.
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