My Workflow: Alternatives to Google's Services

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r3bl.me My Workflow: Alternatives to Google's Services

As you probably know, I’m a Linux guy who cares deeply about his privacy. As that kind of a guy, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my private information with companies. Of course, this is impossible to do today, so I like to shatter my personal information to different services instead of using just one company - Google. Here’s how I do it.

Why do I do that?

Sharing your personal information to one company could have huge consequences on your privacy. If you do so, the chances are Google knows you better than your mother, your spouse, your son/daughter, your best friend… So I like to scatter my personal information to various companies. If they are not sharing those information with each other (which I’m pretty sure they don’t), it’s better than using products from a single company.

Android devices

I’m not using a smartphone or a tablet device and I don’t really need it. Most of the time I have my laptop with me (ASUS X54HR in case you’re wondering). If I were to use one regularly, I would replace Android with Cyanogenmod instantly (no, Firefox OS and Ubuntu Mobile are not currently available in my country).

So, for now on, I’m sticking with my old reliable Sony Ericsson K800i. Yes, this one!

yes, this one

This has been the easiest decision ever. I’m using DuckDuckGo as my primary search provider and I love it! In case you don’t know what DuckDuckGo is, it’s a search engine that claims that they’re not tracking its users. It uses a couple of crawlers and combines their result. Although their search results might not be that great, they have great instant answers implemented in much more results than Google has.

Their platform for instant answers is completely open source. Everyone can submit new ideas or work in making them a reality. As an example, I suggested that when a user types Valar morgulis in their service, the instant answer should say Valar dohaeris which is a tribute to the Westeros world in Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire. This instant answer is now successfully implemented.

Also, it features excellent !bangs that allow you to search through thousands of sites directly from DuckDuckGo. This means that I no longer have to go to Wikipedia and search from there. I could just type duckduckgo !wiki and be redirected to Wikipedia’s article about DuckDuckGo right away. Seriously, I love DuckDuckGo and I would consider it as a downgrade to switch back to Google’s search.

Emails

For my email addresses, I’m using a service called Mail.Ru. Yes, a Russian emailing service! Now don’t get fooled with its homepage, their emailing service is completely available in English. I don’t really have a problem with the Cyrillic alphabet neither, as Serbian language also uses it.

But why the hell did I chose Russian? Mostly because of my NSA paranoia. As a foreigner, I’m pretty sure that all of my communications get intercepted by the NSA. My data towards it does not travel through any of the Five Eyes countries and that makes me feel a bit more secure. Of course, this does not mean that my emails don’t get intercepted by the Russian KGB, but hey, they don’t really have any other influence on my browsing experience what so ever.

Cloud storage service

This is kind of connected to my emailing service of choice. I grabbed a special offer from Mail.Ru and got 1 TB of storage space completely free. They support Linux and have a dedicated desktop client for it, but unfortunately, the indicator does not work on my elementary OS. I also have 1 TB of space on OneDrive that I got once I purchased Office 365, but the lack of the Linux client makes it unusable for me.

So, in the end, I’m using MEGA. Its Linux client works without any issues, their 50 GB of free space is more than enough for me (and more than any other company offers free of charge).

Google Chrome

This one is easy. I love Firefox, I’ve been using it for years and so is the rest of my family. There’s nothing more I need to say about this.

Google Analytics and YouTube

Unfortunately, I don’t have any alternatives in mind for these two services. Piwik works great, but it works with MySQL, which is not supported by the GitHub’s Pages.

As for the YouTube, I’m not really uploading any videos. I like watching videos from time to time and there’s no alternative with nearly enough content that could be consider as an alternative to YouTube.

So, yes, I still have a Google account (made with no GMail address), but the information that I’m giving to Google are very limited.

Social media

I am using Google+ because of its excellent elementary community. If the community decides to ditch Google+ and use some other platform, I would do it instantly.

As for Facebook, I’m rarely using it. By rarely, I mean I check it once every couple of days and I’m pretty much always offline on chat. Twitter is my go to social network.

Random project that I like

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