(the bit where I start reversing out of the Google car-park)
I’m in the process of deGoogling, in preparation for an /e/ phone, and journalling my journey. And, despite Google’s claim that their competition is only ever one click away, I’m finding it a much more involved process. Its partly about the technical changes to software and settings, but the bigger bit is the personal/ habit changes.
Thanks for the feedback and tips everyone!
Some Google products I can’t just go cold-turkey on in one leap, and what I’m doing as a first step for these is to shift them away from being defaults, and to move them from being ‘always on’ to ‘sign in and out when needed’. (It takes some discipline to change habits, but ongoing discipline is going to be needed anyway).
- Google Chrome is still on my phone and computer, but Firefox is now my default browser. (I’ve taken the short-cut off my taskbar and homescreens to stop the habit of clicking on sight. Sad but true.)
- Google Search is still available, but it was quite easy to set up spot, /e/'s search engine, as the default on Firefox (*). If I don’t get the results I need there easily (I’m used to google knowing what I want before I ask), it’s only a click to do the same search on google.
- I don’t remember asking for Google Voice Search, but it was there as an app on my phone, and now it is not.
- Google Drive will still be around as long as I have a google account, but you can access this online without having to have it installed as an app. So after checking through for files I want to still be available offline, and moving them to another service, I have removed Google Drive, Docs and Sheets as apps off my phone. I can still edit edit their files off the webpage , but the change means I can’t edit files offline.
- I have yet to check whether I can run Google Maps and Google Play via the web rather than via the app, so they are still on my phone as apps for the moment.
- Gmail is accessed as a website on Firefox on my Windows computer, but on my phone I’m still using the app for the moment - notifications being the sticking point.
I’m getting there, I hope…
The next bit will be, as planned, about how my experiments with my own homepage + resurrecting an RSS feed reader have made a big difference to how I interact with the internet.
(*) I wrote a bit soon on this one: while on Firefox Android on my phone, adding an address as a new search engine was an easy process, on Firefox Windows it took a while to get to how to do it: type spot.ecloud.global in the address bar, then on the three dots menu there is an option to ‘add search engine’ (ie you don’t have to install it as an add-on as would appear from the options|search page). Then you can go and set it as default.