Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Friday, March 26, 2010

a report on progressive emancipation

So, how’s my little Google boycott going?

It’s a work in progress. I have ditched Gmail — though I admit, I had a couple of days of weakness not long ago, when I found myself missing Gmail’s wonderful system of filters, labels, and stars, which I had taken considerable time adapting for my use. But I recovered my nerve and set it aside. However, complete emancipation from the Gbeast will take a while. Let’s survey the territory:
1) I really miss Google Reader — no other RSS option is as fast and efficient — but so far I’m (mostly) staying away.

2) My family is on Google Calendar, so for the time being I am too. This is going to be the toughest one to get away from, because of the investment in it we already have and the lack of any other good online calendar. (Once upon a time 30boxes looked like it would be a player, but it’s been in maintenance mode for a couple of years.)

3) For my son’s homeschooling, we use Google Docs, which is convenient, but not that hard to get away from.

4) For a while I put my Google Voice number on correspondence, but hardly anyone has called me on it, so that will be a non-issue, I think. You can't delete your Voice number without deleting your whole Google account, by the way.

5) Google Wave . . . please. (That too can't be deleted.)

6) Logins. I probably have a hundred accounts around the internet that use my Gmail address, and it’s going to be a real pain in the neck to change all of those over to my Fastmail account. I suppose I should, but I don't have the wherewithal at the moment.

7) Blogs. This here blog is powered by Blogger, as are the blogs I run for my classes. Because my school shifted students over, a couple of years ago, to Google Apps for our domain, it’s trivial to get everyone signed up for a Blogger blog. Blogger is easy for newbies to use, also. But I think I can summon the strength of will to shift to another platform.

Overall, Google was worked its way into my life in ways that will be hard to undo. It’ll be a long-term project, but I really do hope someday to delete my Google account.

4 comments:

  • I guess I'm confused as to why?

    I understand not having the giant beast of Google invading every aspect of your life, but isn't it better to use the best product in a specific genre?

    I mean, I don't buy Starbucks coffee because it's an institution that has driven out small business, but mostly because the coffee sucks.

    You don't use Bing now, do you?

  • Well, I tried to explain in the linked post (and followups), but the short version is that I don't trust Google with my data.

    I don't use Bing because there are a number of ways to anonymize Google searches. And I even use Chrome sometimes. I don't mind using Google products if they don't get any info about me in the process.

  • Do you have tips or links on anonymizing Google searches?

  • Hi, Alan.

    What are you using for a search engine these days?

    Dave H.

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