Getting Off of the Google Juice

January 26, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I’m not prone to wearing a tin-foil hat. But I do know when something just isn’t working in my best interest. Right now, Google is not working for me. I stopped using Google calendars over a year ago. I split my calendars between Exchange through work and iCal for home.

I switched my search engine many months ago to a combination of DuckDuckGo and Wolfram Alpha.[1] I have not found a need to go back. The first time I accidentally used Google I was greeted by a list of inane Google+ garbage at the top of the results. That was more than enough exposure for this year.

Docs

I stopped using Google Docs 18 months ago in favor of a combination of Dropbox and Simplenote. That transition has gotten much easier in the past 6 months as more developers embrace document syncing and the iOS 5 “open in” function.

As iCloud sync evolves I expect to have more options. Maybe I would have felt differently if Google had mimicked iWork instead of MS Office. As it is, MS Office earns no love from me. A paler version definitely will not.

Mail

The next major transition for me is Gmail. I have a number of email servers split between Gmail, Apple and my own hosted servers. But I keep coming back to Gmail because the Spam filters are so damn good. They’re like magic. But starting this weekend, I breaking the cycle. I’ll still forward my Gmail accounts to my primary inbox, but for all outgoing mail, Gmail is off the list.

Apple’s Mail has progressively improved over the past 6 months. The release of iCloud provided a competent web interface and the iOS syncing works well. The last piece will be a better spam filter running on my Mac at home. Before that, I’ll see how well Apple Mail works on its own. It won’t be Google quality, but it may be good enough.

Reader

The last major transition is not yet possible. I need to transition off of Google Reader. I read feeds like some people read news papers. I read them with morning coffee, at lunch and after dinner. Feeds are my view into the world. I don’t watch the news or listen to the radio. Because of that I need a stable, fast and reliable feed sync solution. As far as I know, there is no other option.

Google Reader is already in dramatic decline. The web interface looks like it was designed by Ferrari and performance feels like it was designed by Yugo. But, it’s the only game in town for now if I want to read feeds from any source.

Why?

Why go to this effort? Is this a conspiracy? No. Google is just being true to their mission: provide ever increasing information to advertisers so as to increase adverting revenue. I just don’t feel like being part of that. I’d rather pay for anonymity and data privacy. Google has not earned my trust and Apple, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram have.


  1. To be honest I was already using a combination of Wolfram and Google . Wolfram is just very good with the kinds of things I tend to search. Anything factual.  ↩

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