Could you live without Google products?
I was trying to think about how difficult it would be to make this move, especially as a long time Gmail user. I started thinking about services that could replace some of the popular tools that Google offer(ed).
Gmail: Fastmail seems to be the big winner here, but some are moving to Outlook
Search: Bing and DuckDuckGo are serviceable, but Google still wins out here when it comes to support related searches
Maps: Bing Maps really isn't that bad on the desktop, and given how bad the new Google Maps is it can be easier to use.
Reader: This was pretty easy since so many surfaced in the wake of it going down, but while Feedly may be the best it still relies on a Google account. FeedWrangler and FeedBin are pretty slick, and Digg isn't too bad either.
Docs: Office or Zoho
Drive: There are dozens out there, I think this is probably the easies to pull off
YouTube: Vimeo exists but gives a more professional vibe, I'm not sure of any other that is more "network" oriented. Perhaps dailymotion?
Calendar: No idea here on a web based solution
Voice: Again, I don't know of many solutions that offer a similar experience to Google Voice.
These were just some of the top products I could think of, but I'm sure there are dozens more that I may be overlooking. After all, Google has a massive (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_products) portfolio of tools.
What I started to realize from writing out this list is that some of these would be easier to pull off than others (Gmail, Drive, Docs) but migrating away from Search or Maps would be more problematic. New Google Maps issues aside it's still a very valuable service and tool, performing some functions better than competitors. Search and it's ability to properly crawl forums for results is also leaps and bounds better than other options.
If you've abandoned Google services, what has the experience been like? Are there any tips or services you found to make the experience easier?
- Google Talk/hangouts. I've pretty much migrated off of AIM to here since all my friends have Gmail accounts. It would be hard to move to another platform for 1:1 chat.
- Search. I'm not sure if I'm just conditioned, but I feel like the results are better. Also, image search is pretty much the best out there.
- Maps. Even with the redesign that I'm not too crazy about, it's still the best for getting directions, though I find myself using Foursquare to find places more and more.
- Gmail. I could switch, but I've had my email for so long, it would be a pain to migrate to a new email service, so much so that I'd probably never do it.
- YouTube. Can't fuck with this video behemoth.
- Android. Switch from Android to iOS already and I'm happy. I could use either.
- Chrome. Firefox is still good, especially the new nightly. I tend to use both, but I could switch to Firefox completely. I happily use Safari on the phone and tablet.
- Calendar. I use Google Calendar right now, but I could easily use the calendar built into OS X and iOS.
- Orkut. Friendster has a better UI.
To be honest, I had sort of been considering switching to using my @opera.com account right before they announced they were shutting it down. I could leave Gmail easily enough since I have email services lying dormant with my websites. The only major advantage Gmail has over using my own mail service at this point is the Spam filtering, but that advantage is dwindling since I have been spending a lot of time in the Spam folder recovering false positives lately.
Search, to be honest, is not as big a deal breaker for me. Yeah, Google results are better, but I can still find what I am looking for with other services, so DuckDuckGo is fine.
Hangouts are a little harder to replace since I hate Skype. Those are the only 2 ubiquitous chat / video services in my circles of people, so I am stuck having to use one or both unless I wanted to spend all my time in Facebook (hint: I don't).
Drive is nice, but nothing I can't live without since there are other ways, and Younited.com is pretty good so far in my testing. I trust F-Secure more than any American company anyway.
Google+ still hasn't clicked with me. I use it, but it feels like pulling teeth, so no love lost there.
I do think Maps with Navigation on Android is the best thing since cars, and giving this up would probably inspire me to just avoid trips into New Orleans unless a gun was pointed at my head or someone who knows their way around is telling me when to turn. Perhaps another service would work as well, but I have never bothered to try.
Google Voice... now that is the one that would kill me. I have often said that the day Google kills it, I am just cancelling all my voice lines and telling people to email me instead. Seriously, I generally hate phones anyway, and Google Voice is the only thing that has made them tolerable for me. Only one number to give... what a dream. Being able to place and answer calls on any device or computer near me... priceless. Number blacklisting and custom voicemail greetings... ahhhhhhh. I have not yet seen any service that really competes well with Voice. If they kill it, I will be desperately looking for something to do what it does. Although I would like to just go to having no number, I realize that isn't practical, so I would probably just sign up for RingCentral.com and do the best I can with that.
Chrome is my favorite browser, but I could easily switch to Opera. I use it as a second browser at work anyway.
Android is also difficult to replace for me. I really honestly hate iOS. I am a Director of IT at a small college, and I can't stand it when people bring me iOS devices to troubleshoot. The small screen and annoying keyboard drive me crazy, and I really hate not having a back button for navigation. I used the first iPhone for a year before giving up on its limitations and I am a recovering Macaholic, so this isn't just Android fanboyism speaking. I have my complaints about Android as well. It just happens to be the best designed OS for the way my brain works. It feels most like home. So, if I couldn't use Android, I guess I would have to look at Sailfish, Firefox OS, or Plasma Active for my portable devices. Sorry, I just can't bring myself to use Microsoft, even if I did end up liking the design (which I doubt I would based on what little I have played with it).
So, again, yes, I can live without Google products... but please don't make me... not yet.
The alternatives I might use:
Gmail. outlook supports activesync and imap, I can forward everything sending to my gmail to my outlook account.
Search. I'll use something like startpage.com which grabs google's query results.
Maps. I am a chinese, there's a peculiar thing happening in this land of mircles -- you can't get your exact position by gps using google maps, there's a location drift. Considering the china maps data provider for google is www.amap.com and AMAP provides offline maps, I usually use that on my phone, and keep google maps in case I want to see the gorgeous street view.
Earth. No alternatives for me.
Reader. tons of alternatives. inoreader, the older reader, newsblur, feedly, digg reader, aol reader, though none of these is comparable to google reader in some respects, I don't have to seek google's mercy. I am happy with that.
Calendar. outlook provides similar services and it supports activesync
Youtube. I don't want to quit from it, but I will use Vimeo and the like more.
Picasa Web Albums. Filckr
Google Translate. bing translator www.bing.com/translator
Talk/hangout. I usually use things like imo.im which intergrates mainstream im services.
Yinyue (Music) (Google China) I used to stick to it so much and I was saddened by the news it will be shutdown. Up to now, no good alternatives for me to listen to legal yet free music.
Notebook. Evernote or springpad. When google released the new keep app, I felt like I'm too tired to love google any more. I just won't buy it any more.
Docs. in terms of functionality, office app in skydrive exceeds google docs too much.
Drive. Dropbox for sure. using mover.io or the like makes the migration painless.
Google Alerts. No alternatives yet.
Google Books. too powerful to abandon.
Google Apps. Office 365
Blogger. painless export to wordpress
Google Voice. No good alternatives.
I use and enjoy Windows 8.1 (and Windows 8 before the return of the Start button; which I think was a bad idea by Microsoft) while the tech press in general laugh and call it names.
I didn't know that the new Maps was even an issue. I gladly started using it as soon as I could and haven't had any issues with it. What are the issues that the Maps redesign has caused other than getting used to a new design? Have directions or locations been incorrect?
There are a lot of competitors to Google products and switching could be done with minimum hassle on most, if not all of Google's products.
Maps was just another sign of Google only doing this half-hearted and everyone just going "Oh it's Google, they'll fix it".
Like I said, I must be the most out-liner of out-liners.
Google provides a relatively good way to get your data out with Takeout. I used that when they shut down Reader. I'm not sure what else you can get from Takeout but, it was easy enough for what I wanted at the time.
Contacts and Circles
Picasa Web Albums
The big ones missing;
When I exported my Reader feeds with Takeout I didn't import the Takeout zip, I imported the OPML file in the zip to various RSS services. But, I concede that without standards then the data won't be of much use in a new service. I mean, how will Twitter or Facebook handle your +1s? or your Google+ Stream?
Kudos to Google to at least offer the ability to get your data. They could act like some smaller tech companies with a terse, "No".
SkyDrive works as a replacement for drive, and it can even host videos, and Office.Live.com (SkyDrive Documents) is improving to replace GoogleDocs. I am one who moved from Google Apps to Outlook with a custom domain (domains.lve.com), and the Outlook Calendar is an excellent substitute for the Google Calendar. It works just as well, and even includes web-based support for iCAL imports, etc... (although, Windows Phone does not support them at this time).
Although I didn't delete my entire Google account and walk away, for all intents and purposes I am living Google free, these days. Bing is my primary search, with DuckDuckGo coming in second, and Bing Maps is my go to, even for navigation on my phone. Waze was and still is a nice alternative, and still operates fairly independently from Google (similar to YouTube).
As far as Web Browser's go: disappointingly, as much as I love Opera, I spend less and less time using it because I keep expecting development to cease. I use IE because it came on the computer, but I have to admit it has its faults (for instance, I can't post this message using IE11, I have to use Chrome on GDGT/Engadget).
Tip: Since I did this many months ago (where was GMail Take-Out then?), to get all of my mail/contacts/calendar to sync, I used the full blown Office 2010 Outlook client. I added both my Google Apps account via imap and my new Outlook.com custom domain to a single "Profile" within Outlook. I then dragged and dropped from the GMail account to the Outlook account. Let everything sync overnight, and viola!
(even though both showed the same email address, only one was "live" in my domain's MXRecords, and since individually they sync through "m.google.com" or "autodiscover.outlook.com" this was possible. I first discussed doing this in an "All About Windows Phone" comment section months ago: disq.us/8gk512).
- an alarm
- a music player
- a time-lapse maker
- an internet tether
- a communicator between friends
- a time killer on buses
- something that helps me go to sleep
- a helper if I am lost
On a related note
- GMail - I could use Outlook, but the filter/rule system is so complicated to use relative to GMail's system - I have a really intricate system where all the people I am subscribed to on Youtube are filtered into their own categories (animations, vlogs, minecraft, etc)
- Google search - I could use Bing search, but it would take some getting use to.
- Google Maps - Could use Bing maps.
- Drive - I don't really use this that often. I could use Skydrive or Dropbox.
- Youtube - This is a really big one since there its the most popular video sharing site in the world. I wouldn't cope with something else like Vimeo
- Chrome - Again, I have everything connected to Google linked, including the browser with all my bookmarks, add-ons, extensions, etc. I could use Firefox as it is visually similar. IE is a no go.
- Hangouts - Skype is always an alternative
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