How to replace Google products: a selection of alternatives that will not follow you

Google’s business model is based on data collection and advertising — in 2018 alone, the company received $ 116 billion in advertising revenue. More data – better advertising – more revenue, so the invasion of your personal space will become more and more noticeable. Concerns about privacy and the protection of personal data on the Internet are growing, and more and more people are beginning to look for alternatives to Google products. If you’re paranoid, don’t want to sponsor an all-consuming Google machine, or have any other reason to find a replacement for its products, then this selection of alternatives is useful to you.

Google search

  • StartPage – this engine gives out Google search results, but without tracking (located in the Netherlands).
  • Searx is a privacy- seeking meta engine, and its source code is also available in open-source .
  • MetaGer is another open-source metasearch engine with various features like quotes search and their authors. However, the engine is based in Germany, so this feature cannot be fully exploited – quotes can only be in German.
  • SwissCows is a private search engine hosted on a secure Swiss infrastructure.
  • Qwant is a search engine straight from France. By the way, Qwant is not only a search, but also other services like maps and music.
  • DuckDuckGo is an anonymous meta search engine from the United States that doesn’t track you or use a “ filter bubble ” to personalize search results.
  • Mojeek is the only real search engine on this list with its search robot and index (located in the UK).
  • YaCy is a decentralized open source P2P search engine.
  • Givero is a private search engine from Denmark that donates half of its advertising revenue to good business (you can choose which ones).
  • Ecosia – This German search engine uses advertising revenue to plant trees where they are most needed.

Gmail

Gmail may be popular and convenient, but it has three major flaws:

  • your mail is used to collect data (did you know that Google collects data on all purchases?);
  • you see not only mail, but also advertising;
  • the contents of your mailbox are transferred to Google and it is not yet known to which third parties.

When you’re signed in to your Gmail account, Google can easily track your activity on sites with Google Analytics or AdSense.

Here are 10 alternatives to Gmail that are more reliable in terms of privacy:

  • Tutanota – secure mail from Germany. You can create a free account with a storage of 1 GB;
  • Mailfence – mail from Belgium with 500 MB free storage. According to the creators, your data is protected by the Belgian law on confidentiality, according to which the data can be submitted only by a decision of the Belgian court;
  • Posteo – German mail without advertising, with storage for 2+ GB, two-factor authentication and more. Access to all this can be obtained for 1 euro per month;
  • Mailbox.org is another mail from Germany, which can also be used as cloud storage. Tariffs start from 1 euro per month, there is a trial period of 30 days;
  • StartMail – mail from the Netherlands with 10 GB storage, personal domains, PGP encryption and other features. All this will cost $ 5 a month, but there is a 7-day trial period;
  • Runbox – Norwegian mail with a large storage and various features. It costs 1.66 dollars a month, there is a trial period of 30 days;
  • CounterMail – mail from Sweden, uses OpenPGP encryption. The creators of the service point out that its peculiarity is that mail sending servers work without hard drives – instead, all server software runs from the Live CD images, which contributes to the anonymity of users. This anonymity is worth $ 4 a month with a weekly trial mode;
  • Kolab Now is a Swiss service that offers safe mail, calendar and files for ~ 4.5 Euros per month, synchronization between devices, no ads and not only;
  • ProtonMail is another email from Switzerland. There is a free account, mobile applications and sources on GitHub ;
  • Thexyz – Canadian mail with a 25 GB storage, DMARC, DKIM and SPF protection, the function of recovering deleted messages and more. It costs 1.95 dollars per month;
  • Fastmail – confidential, secure mail without ads from Australia. There is a calendar and contact list, the ability to set your own domain, as well as priority for selected contacts and not only. Fees start at $ 3 per month.

Chrome

Chrome is a good browser that is just as good at collecting data about you. Here are a few alternatives:

  • Firefox is a customizable open-source browser that is popular with people who care about their privacy. Firefox has many different settings for your protection. And for mobile users, there is Firefox Focus;
  • Iridium – based on Chromium, but unlike Chrome offers numerous security and privacy improvements. Here you can find its source;
  • GNU IceCat is a Firefox fork from the Free Software Foundation . They consider their main advantage to be that their browser is completely free ;
  • Tor browser – a secure version of Firefox, which by default works over the Tor network;
  • Ungoogled Chromium – as the name suggests, this is Chromium, rid of the influence of Google and modified for more privacy;
  • Brave is another Chromium based browser. One of the features is the blocking of trackers and advertising, as well as a decentralized advertising platform based on Ethereum;
  • Waterfox – and this fork of Firefox is aimed at greater privacy, including by removing all Mozilla telemetry from the browser.

There are also browsers like Safari (from Apple), Microsoft Internet Explorer / Edge, Opera, and Vivaldi, but they also have privacy issues.

Google Drive

If you need secure cloud storage, take a look at the following options:

  • Tresorit is a cloud-based repository aimed at increased data protection and privacy, located in Switzerland and Hungary. Fees start at 16 euros per month (if paid for a year) and 1000 GB of storage;
  • ownCloud is an open self-hosted cloud platform developed in Germany;
  • Nextcloud is another German self-hosted solution;
  • Sync is a secure encrypted cloud storage based in Canada. There is a free account of 5 GB.
  • Syncthing is a decentralized, open-source cloud storage.

Of course, in addition to these services there is Dropbox, but if privacy is really important to you, then this is not the best option.

Google Docs / Spreadsheets / Presentations

There are many alternatives to Google Docs. The closest of them, Microsoft Office, is not famous for its concern for privacy, so let’s look at other options:

  • CryptPad is a free alternative with strong encryption. Opportunities include creating presentations, kanban boards, polls, todo lists, and more;
  • Etherpad is a self-hosted online collaboration editor. Sources are available on GitHub ;
  • OnlyOffice is a free service for working with presentations, tables. Fully compatible with MS Office formats;
  • Cryptee is a platform for storing and editing photos and documents. Features include support for Markdown, KaTeX, links to other documents, inline tags, search for documents with bug fixes and more. There is a 100MB free storage plan, and the source code can be viewed on GitHub ;
  • LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice are free open-source analogues of MS Office.

Google Photos

  • Piwigo is an open-source solution with many functions like an unlimited hierarchy of albums, themes and plug-ins, creating and managing groups of users and not only;
  • Lychee is a self-hosted photo management tool with source code available on GitHub .

YouTube

YouTube replacements are mainly divided into two categories – alternative frontends for YouTube (content is still taken from there) and video platforms with their own content:

  • Peertube is an open-source decentralized video platform running on WebTorrent and Angular;
  • DTube is a decentralized video platform based on the STEEM blockchain and the IPFS P2P protocol;
  • invidio.us is an alternative frontend for YouTube. You do not have to create a Google account to save subscriptions, and there is no advertising here and there is a “sound only” mode. You can also use invidio.us as a proxy, which allows you to watch any video from YouTube without authorization, even if it has any restrictions on viewing. To do this, simply replace in the link to the video www.youtube.com on invidio.us;
  • Vimeo is a video hosting service that allows uploading up to 500 MB of video per week and up to 25 GB per year. Paid accounts increase these limits and give access to additional features like player customization;
  • Hooktube is a lightweight frontend for YouTube.

Google translator

  • DeepL is a good replacement for Google Translate, which uses neural networks and produces good results. It is possible to choose a word and correct it to another. The text after this word is rearranged accordingly. You can transfer up to 5,000 characters at a time (at a paid rate – from 6–9 euros per month – there is no such limit);
  • Linguee is another translator from the creators of DeepL. With it you can not translate large chunks of text, but you can get an exact translation of words or phrases with examples of the context;
  • Reverso is a set of services that include a translator of pieces of text, a translator of phrases with coercion of context, a search for synonyms and not only.

Google Analytics

There are various reasons to find a replacement for Google Analytics, including the availability of faster and more user-friendly alternatives that, moreover, respect the privacy of your visitors:

  • Clicky is a great alternative to Google Analytics, which by default anonymizes visitors’ IP addresses. C Clicky, you can watch heat maps, monitor uptime to detect and block bots, and it also fully complies with the standards of GDPR;
  • Matomo is a flexible open-source platform that can be hosted both for free on its servers and for a certain amount on Matomo servers (and get access to features not available in the self-hosted version);
  • Fathom Analytics is an open-source ( source ) alternative to Google Analytics, which respects user privacy and does not collect personal information. There are both free and paid use option;
  • AT Internet – based in France (all data is also stored on French servers) analytics service that meets the standards of GDPR. Fully paid solution with tariffs from 355 euros per month, but there is a trial period for a month.

It is worth noting that many sites use Google Analytics because of the fact that they are running Google AdSense campaigns. Without Google Analytics, tracking the performance of these campaigns can be difficult.

Google Maps

Alternatively, Cards on the desktop can use OpenStreetMap .

For mobile devices there are the following options:

  • OsmAnd is a free open-source application on Android and iOS (data is taken from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia);
  • Maps (for F Droid) – offline maps based on OpenStreetMap data;
  • Here WeGo – maps for PC and mobile devices. Map data is delivered directly from Here and includes a satellite view, traffic data and more;
  • Maps.Me is another free application for Android and iOS, which, nevertheless, collects a decent amount of user data, which is described in detail in their privacy policy ;
  • MapHub is another solution based on OpenStreetMap data. Allows you to create interactive maps and share them with others.

Google Play Store

At the moment, the best alternative to the Google Play Store is to use the F-Droid in conjunction with the Yalp store. As explained on the official website, F-Droid is an installable directory of free open-source Android applications. After installing the F-Droid, you can install the Yalp store, which allows you to download applications from the Google Play Store directly as APK files.

More information can be found on the F-Droid website or in the repositoryon GitHub. Other alternatives to the Play Store include:

  • Aptoide is an independent Android application store;
  • APKMirror – a large library of APK files uploaded by different users (be careful);
  • Aurora Store – fork Yalp Store.

Google Chrome OS

  • Linux is probably the best alternative. Linux is a free open-source operating system for every taste and color;
  • Tails is a free privacy-focused operating system that passes all traffic through the Tor network. Based on Linux;
  • QubesOS is another free open-source system that even Snowden recommends.

Of course, there are still operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS. Windows, especially Windows 10, managed to become famous for privacy issues. Apple’s system is also not far gone with the collection of user data and cooperation with the NSA .

Android

Except for iOS as an alternative to Android (for the above reasons), here are a few options:

  • LineageOS is a free open-source system for Android devices;
  • Ubuntu Touch – the mobile version of Ubuntu;
  • Plasma Mobile is an open-source Linux-based system under active development;
  • Sailfish OS is another open-source Linux-based system, fully compatible with the Android ecosystem, and yet completely independent;
  • Replicant is a free open-source Android-based system, the purpose of which is to replace all proprietary Android components with free analogues;
  • / e / – open-source system with an emphasis on privacy and security.

Google hangouts

  • Wire – secure end-to-end encryption messenger with video and audio calls. Located under the jurisdiction of Switzerland, the servers are located in Germany and Ireland. There are applications on the phone, desktop and web version, for the use of which you do not need to give your phone number;
  • Telegram – a confidential messenger with a variety of functions like self-destructing messages and creating groups of up to 200,000 people;
  • Signal is an open-source messenger from Open Whisper Systems, which, according to Snowden , is even safer than Telegram;
  • Riot is an open-source messenger based on the Matrix protocol , which can be used as a “bridge” to another messenger and seamlessly communicate in different messengers.

Google Domains

Google Domains is a domain registration service. Here are some alternatives to it:

  • Namecheap – one of the advantages of this service is that when registering a domain on it, you are given free protection of WhoisGuard, which protects your contact information from third parties, filters spam and more. Namecheap also offers VPN, SSL certificates and other services;
  • Njalla is a service with an emphasis on privacy, which technically does not register domains itself, but registers them on other services, acting as a certain “privacy shield”. And there they accept payment by various cryptocurrencies (and traditional methods too);
  • OrangeWebsite – offers anonymous domain registration, based in Iceland.

Alternatives to other Google products

  • Google Forms → JotForm – a service for creating surveys with a free tariff, where you can get up to 100 responses per month;
  • Google Keep → here are some alternatives:
    • Standard Notes – a secure note-taking application in which extensions can be added;
    • Joplin is an application for creating notes in Markdown format. Notes can be synchronized with different services like Nextcloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, WebDAV or with the file system. You can also import notes from Evernote;
    • Zoho – this note-taking application allows you to manage your notes with various gestures and gives you the opportunity to view previous versions of records. The application is both on mobile devices and on the desktop;
    • QOwnNotes – open-source application for notes on the desktop. On mobile devices, notes can be synchronized using ownCloud or Nextcloud.
  • Google Fonts → Font Squirrel – includes both fonts that can be found on Google Fonts, and those that are not there;
  • G Suite → Zoho ;
  • Google Firebase → Kuzzle – an open-source solution that includes a scalable server, a multi-protocol API, an administration console and a set of plug-ins that provide additional features;
  • Google Blogger → WordPress , Medium , Ghost and others.

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