tech

What would it take for me to stop using Google

TL;WR: #FirstWorldProblems and Google is EVERYWHERE

Google makes me nervous. The oft mentioned slogan “Don’t be evil.” makes me even more nervous. Google has to make a point of reminding themselves not to be evil. People don’t walk around with the mantra “don’t murder anyone” repeating in their head. Unless that is actually a risk. I use Google a lot, and I’ve been thinking lately about using them less. This post is mostly just me thinking “out loud” on how, or even if, that’s possible. Hell, this blog is hosted through Blogger, which is owned by Google.

These are the services for which I use Google: email through gmail, rss through google reader, texting, contacts, and my phone number through google voice, blogging through blogger, google calendar, my phone is android, my browser is chrome, I have a small assortment of documents in google docs, and I use google authenticator for two-stage authentication on dropbox.

Calendar and mail aren’t that big of a deal. I could probably spin up a wordpress install fairly easily. RSS might be trickier; I don’t remember any good cloud-based apps for that when I looked last; although that was a while ago. I did see that there’s a feature request in to OwnCloud, which is what I expect I’d use for calendar and contacts, anyway. If I did follow through on this, I’m not sure I would care about continuing to use Chrome. The only reason I log into it, is so that I can sync bookmarks – I could probably import them into delicious again, if I can find a decent extension. For some reason the delicious FF extension blows the Chrome one out of the water. Docs is nothing; I can probably delete most of them, and export the rest. I would feel comfortable continuing to use Google Authenticator, although OwnCloud has a Dropbox-like component, so I may do away with it, too, in which case I wouldn’t need the authenticator.

The trickiest issues are my phone number and android. I love the service google voice provides, but I don’t like that they have my text history. Of course, they also have my email history, which is much more significant. No one has my real phone number. Moving off google voice for me is just like changing carriers used to be for everyone else – before you could take your number with you. Android is going to be a pain in the ass, too. I have changed accounts with Android before, and you essentially have to wipe your phone, and start all over again. This might be easier now that I use Titanium Backup, but it might not handle profile changes gracefully. And if I do this, I will absolutely have to do that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to keep my awesome email address as my primary. Since that address is tied to my phone.

On top of all that, how would I replicate the functionality of google voice? To my knowledge, there is no competitor. I guess Skype is close, but they are owned by microsoft now, so they would be able to read my texts instead.

I guess I could move everything but email and voice off of Google, but then what the hell is the point?

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