I did it. I broke free from Google’s web monopoly.
I use the iPhone for my mobile device; the iPad as my computer; Safari—of course—my default browser. I search on DuckDuckGo (which also allows me to avoid the dreaded AMP versions of sites). iCloud hosts all my files, calendars, and email; I use iWork apps to create and edit documents. I follow YouTubers via social media and comment from there. I rarely use map services, and Apple Maps has more than made up for its shaky start.
I’ve previously used Gmail from 2005, while still in beta, till I started hosting my own email a few years ago with my first name change. I haven’t been a serious Microsoft Office user since Google Docs emerged in 2007, and didn’t experience ribbon shock till much later. Since I can access my iWorks stuff from any browser, and export to different formats, it makes little sense to have sign up for another platform just to access those office suites.
Privacy wasn’t a factor when I cancelled my account—“data mining” allowed for Google to better tailor their services for me. Android allowed me to utilize a phone as I needed. Google Drive provides more space for free. YouTube is free to watch. Everyone and their grandma either has or had Gmail at some point. I’m browser-agnostic; whatever’s in front of me, I use. Many third-party apps still probably utilize Google services to track me.
Google as a search engine…meh. I didn’t care for hyper-specific results tailored to me and my biases. I hated how AMP “optimization” couldn’t be turned off—those pages half the time wouldn’t render correctly, and I’d have to click on that link so I could leave comments, or just be able to use the mobile site. Chrome is just a memory hog. Too many ads.
I cancelled Google because of the ads. Not privacy concerns—because of fatigue from hyperconsumerism. Yes, their business model means serving ads. I don’t care; it’s a market economy, and allows me freedom of choice. I just want to enjoy things without being constantly bombarded with external pressures to buy, buy, buy.
The one thing I don’t like is no longer having a way to directly comment on YouTube anymore. I would have liked YouTube to kept as an entity separate from the rest of the Google empire, but my disdain for Google is strong enough I’m forgoing that ability to comment directly. So, when a creator I follow on other social media posts to that video, that’s where I comment. It’s often more engaging for me, and I’ve had several great back-and-forths this way than I ever had on YouTube, especially with creators who have larger followings.
I could have rooted, but forgo using banking and wallet services, or installed an adblocking VPN as an alternative, but have my phone seriously slow down.
Plus, this is something I have done before. It’s always fun seeing people’s reactions when I tell them I’ve forgone their monopoly on the web. I’m just rebellious, I guess.