I have been a little creeped out by Google ads following me online. They track what you search for, sites you visit on Chrome, and the contents of your emails. They’re even putting targeted ads in my email on newsletters I subscribe to. Of course, Google doesn’t charge me for anything – Gmail, Google Drive, Google Analytics, and the rest are all free. So I did some research, and I have found some better alternatives to Google products, some paid and some free, so that I can slowly work my way out of the Google ecosystem and have a little more freedom, flexibility, and privacy.
Alternative to Gmail
I am choosing to go with ProtonMail. This is a company whose servers are physically in Switzerland where the privacy laws are stricter. You can even send encrypted emails with password protection. They have a free tier, but I decided to go with the lowest paid tier so that I could use my own domain name. I bundle the mail service with their ProtonVPN which I find to be a more secure way to be online, especially when in public places. I pay $12/month for the bundle, and with how much I rely on email, the added privacy and encryption are well worth the cost.
Alternative to Google Drive
Here I am going with Mega.nz for cloud storage. This company stays so much out of your business, that they don’t even store your password to have a ‘forgot password’ feature. I like it so far, and it has all of the syncing features you might find on DropBox and others. And your files are encrypted.
Alternative to Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) has about Google analytics market share of the market share of analytics code on the web. It’s a good product, but why should I give them my data when there are alternatives. On my websites I will be using Matomo (formerly Piwik). This is an analytics tool that is easy to set up on your own server. I have mine sitting on a subdomain. I own all of the data. It doesn’t have all of the features of GA, but I don’t need all of the features. There is a marketplace where developers can create and sell add-ons with various features that I look forward to checking out as I need them.
Alternative to Google Chrome
At my job I use Google Chrome because of the Chrome DevTools which help me debug and build better web applications. But personally, I don’t like the way that I have to log into a Chrome account to have my browsing history persist between sessions. It is a little too heavy-handed. So what I have decided to use is Brave. Brave has built-in ad blockers and because of that I have greater privacy and the page load times are much faster.
Alternative to Google Search
I use Google search as a last resort, because their algorithm has become so good. But I really don’t want them tracking and storing my search. So I set my default search to DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo does not track what you search for, does not store your personal information, and the quality of its results is good for the most part.
So take a look at all of these, and see if any of them suit your needs.
If you know of any other good products, feel free to share in the comment section below.