How many Google services do you use? From sending work emails and storing family pictures, to searching for something online and listening to the music – all done with Google’s help. With more than 100 web-based and mobile products, Google found a perfect way to track your every single step. But you think that just because these apps are free and convenient, you shouldn’t give them up, right? Not when you’ll realize what Google does with your data.
You’ve heard it many times before – if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product. Google is a prime example:
You can see (and even download) exactly what Google knows about you. It’s time to take your privacy back.
To make step 2 easier, we compiled lists of the best Google alternatives that will respect your privacy and online security.
Google Photos is free and offers you unlimited storage, but it also uses photo recognition AI to scan your photos? It analyzes your images, identifies faces and objects, and then generates searchable tag words. This gives Google a detailed look at your life – what you look like, who your family and friends are, what activities you’re interested in, and where you’ve been.
Your photos should stay private at all times. Here are some privacy-oriented Google Photos alternatives that will treat your photos and your private life with the respect they deserve.
Google has also been caught giving access to Gmail user’s data to their partners. Do you really want your private messages to be read by strangers on the other side of the world? Of course not. The good thing is that there are many email service providers that care about your privacy. Here are the best Gmail alternatives on the market. Have a look!
Whenever you look for something on Google, the tech giant silently collects your metadata – your search terms (which say a lot about you), your IP address, your location, and where else you’ve been online. This data is then used to serve you ads and stick you in a ‘filter bubble.’
However, there are alternative search engines that don’t track your information and will provide you new results that don’t need to match your ‘profile.’ We reviewed private search engines for secure browsing that give you more freedom online.
Google Chrome tracks everything you do online, and there’s hardly anything you can do about it. You can fiddle with its settings or install multiple extensions to make it more private. But why bother when you could just replace Chrome with a browser that cares about your privacy?
Our privacy experts have compiled a list of secure browser alternatives that let you browse safely and securely.
If location tracking is enabled on your device, Google will collect accurate data and will even create a timeline of your whereabouts (even if you turn this setting off). They do this across all devices you’re signed in with your Google account. But if you turn location tracking off, that doesn’t mean Google will stop following you. Other Google apps also contribute to your location history, so signing into any affiliated app means that your metadata and your location will still be automatically shared with Google.
Luckily, there are online maps that don’t work with Google, don’t record your location, and don’t serve you targeted ads. They also work offline and give you recommendations for nearby places. The next time you go somewhere, check your route on one of these Google Maps alternatives that truly focus on your privacy.
You can watch YouTube videos without a Google account by sacrificing a few features – subscribing to channels and liking and commenting on videos. If you decide to stay signed in, Google will track every video you’ve ever watched and use this information to create an even more accurate user profile.
However, YouTube isn’t the only video platform out there. There are many privacy-oriented alternatives for short videos, TV shows and movies, high-quality music videos, and even streaming sites. You’ll find at least one that works for you from this list of the best alternatives to YouTube.
What if we told you that Google scans anything you type in Google Docs? Their bots have been caught scanning content for ‘objectionable’ information and then deleting flagged documents with no further explanation. What if your work contracts, budgets, or that novel you’re working on suddenly disappear with no chance to retrieve them? Do you really want to take that risk?
Of course not. There are other online text editing tools that offer the same features as Google Docs and even more. Check out our post on the best alternatives to Google Docs.
All files stored on your Google Drive are read and scanned. However, what should also worry you is that Google Drive is also an easy target for hackers. Google owns 80% of the market share, which means that hackers have a higher success rate when pretending to be Google and sending you phishing emails.
Use a cloud storage provider that offers end-to-end encryption and a zero-knowledge policy. Find the best Google Drive alternatives here.
Much like elsewhere on the internet, a big part of security and privacy is how much we are willing to share with data giants online. For total privacy, users may have to forego some luxuries entirely and replace others with less widely-used tools. We each have to make decisions about the tradeoffs we can accept, but with the many threats we face, those tradeoffs are often worth it.
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