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I) Why stop using Google :

Google’s supremacy in the world of online search is undeniable. For the vast majority, Google is the benchmark, or even the only option that comes to mind when you want to search the internet or use tools such as Gmail, Google Doc, Google Chrome, etc… However, for a number of years now, and for a variety of reasons ranging from concerns about privacy to a desire to diversify digital tools, many people have been looking to reduce their dependence on this technological giant. We all have our reasons for wanting or not wanting to use Google’s services, whether for reasons of practicality, habit or lack of information about alternatives.

Here’s a list of some of the reasons why you might want to stop using Google :

1. Confidentiality of Data :

Google collects vast amounts of personal data to personalise advertising and search results, raising concerns about privacy. It collects information about your searches, your location, the pages and ads you click on, the windows you open and your entire web history.

2. Market monopoly :

Google’s hegemony in the online search and advertising market can stifle competition, potentially negatively influencing innovation and consumer choice.

3. Algorithmic bias :

Personalising searches can lead to a “filter bubble”, limiting the diversity of viewpoints and information to which you are exposed.

4. Security :

Over-reliance on a single technology ecosystem increases the risk of a security breach, as a single vulnerability could compromise all your personal information.

5. Ethics and Values :

If you strongly value privacy and autonomy online, using alternatives may be in line with your personal ethical principles.

Choosing to turn away from Google is an act designed to promote data confidentiality, encourage competition and maintain a balance in the power of the major technology companies over users’ information and privacy.

II) How to stop using Google :

If you’re looking to break away from Google and its ubiquitous services, there are a number of parameters to consider. Whether it’s changing your habits on your device, switching browsers, disabling certain tracking options, blocking adverts, configuring your login details, etc… Many actions can be taken free of charge to Degoogle your life.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you become digitally independent and find plenty of alternatives :

1: Identify and Replace Google Services

The first step is to identify all the Google services you use: search, email (Gmail), cloud storage (Google Drive), calendar (Google Calendar), mobile operating system (Android), web browser (Chrome), etc. For each service, look for a privacy-friendly alternative. For example, switch from Gmail to ProtonMail, replace Google Drive with Dropbox or pCloud, and swap Google Calendar for Nextcloud’s calendar. For search engines, DuckDuckGo is a popular option that doesn’t save your personal searches, while Firefox or Brave can replace Chrome for more secure web browsing.

2: Change Your Habits Online

Once you’ve selected your new applications and services, change your online habits to consolidate your independence from Google. Start by changing the default search engine in your browser, then import your emails and contacts into your new secure messaging system. You can also opt for a more conscious and limited use of search tools, favouring diversified sources and using browser extensions that block trackers. You can also adapt your smartphone by replacing Google applications with alternatives available from application shops such as F-Droid or the Apple App Store.

3: Privacy awareness and maintenance

Doing away with Google is not an isolated act, it’s an ongoing process. Stay informed about privacy best practices and new alternatives to Google products. Educate yourself about privacy issues and digital rights to understand why it’s important to take these steps. In addition, regularly review app permissions on your devices and practice digital hygiene, such as deleting cookies and using VPNs. Indeed, you can secure your online activity by installing a VPN, which will mask your IP address and encrypt your connection, preventing Google from tracking your searches and site browsing. Maintaining these habits will not only help you stay independent of Google, but also protect your digital identity in the long term. When you’re on your phone, tap the settings in your browser app to sign out of any synced Google accounts, ensuring your searches and browsing history remain private.

By following these steps, you can gradually reduce your dependence on Google and switch to alternatives that are more respectful of your privacy and personal data. It’s a commitment that takes time and perseverance, but one that can be hugely beneficial to your digital autonomy.

III) Alternative options to Google :

Taking the plunge and no longer using Google tools is often the most complicated step. We are generally poorly, if at all, informed about alternatives to Google tools.

Here is a list of tools and services that you can use as an alternative to Google :

Search engines
  • DuckDuckGo : Known for its respect for privacy, it does not track its users and offers a neutral search experience.
  • Bing : Microsoft’s search engine is often regarded as Google Search’s main competitor.
  • Ecosia : This search engine uses its profits to plant trees, combining utility and eco-responsibility.
  • Qwant : Based in France, Qwant also focuses on protecting the privacy of its users.
Web browsers
  • Mozilla Firefox : An open-source browser renowned for its security and privacy features.
  • Brave: This browser has an ad blocker and also protects against online tracking.
  • Safari: For Apple users, Safari offers seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, particularly on iOS and Mac.
  • ProtonMail : A secure e-mail service based in Switzerland that encrypts e-mails end-to-end.
  • Tutanota : Another confidential messaging service with built-in encryption.
  • :The Microsoft email service that replaced Hotmail.
Cartography and GPS
  • OpenStreetMap : A collaborative alternative that can be used for mapping services.
  • Here WeGo : A mapping application that provides downloadable maps and directions for offline use.
  • MapQuest: One of the pioneers of online mapping, offering itineraries and maps.
Cloud storage
  • Dropbox : One of the leaders in cloud storage, offering a variety of plans, including a free option.
  • Mega :Provides end-to-end encryption to protect your data.
  • OneDrive :Microsoft’s cloud storage solution integrated into Windows 10.
Office applications and suites
  • LibreOffice : A complete open-source office suite that is an excellent alternative to Google Docs.
  • Microsoft Office :Well-known for its online and offline options, it is a solid alternative for word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Zoho Office Suite : Less well known, Zoho offers a range of online office tools.
Video platforms
  • Vimeo :A site that promotes content from independent and professional creators.
  • Dailymotion : A video platform based in France, competing with YouTube.
  • PeerTube : A decentralised, peer-to-peer video-sharing platform.
Operating system
  • GrapheneOS: Open-source operating system focused on privacy and security for Android devices. Designed to minimise the attack surface and increase protection against exploits and data leaks without compromising the user experience.
  • LineageOS : Open-source operating system based on Android. Designed to extend the lifespan of mobile devices beyond manufacturers’ official support cycles, and offer an experience without Google’s proprietary applications and services, enabling greater personalisation of privacy.
  • /e/OS : Open-source operating system that moves away from the Google ecosystem while remaining based on Android. Designed to offer a private alternative to the dominant mobile OSes. Comes with pre-installed privacy-focused services and applications, such as an anonymous search engine, an encrypted email service, and an app store that rates applications based on their privacy credentials. Offers a simplified user experience, similar to that of iOS or Android operating systems, but without compromising the user’s personal data.

Choosing to Degoogle your life is a daily effort, but it is important to protect your personal information from tracking by Google’s services and tools.

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