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Replacing Google

The last few weeks, Google is getting some very negative attention. Google’s privacy policy, its total domination and its lack of collaboration with the Open Source community are raising some questions:

Do we really want this, depending on one single company for so many features? Do we accept that one single company knows so much information about millions of users all over the world? Do we accept that a company creates more and more features, officially because they want to help the world, but which in reality give them more sources for collecting private data and thus more power? For me the answer to these questions is definitely no.

For this reason, I will not install Chromium on my or anyone other’s computer. I strongly recommend people to use another browser, such as Firefox or one of the many webkit browsers in Linux, which are making great progress now, such as Epiphany, Midori or Arora. For similar reasons, you do not want to use Chrome OS: it basically does not add anything to a standard Linux distribution. Quite on the contrary, there is not much more than just the Chrome browser which is installed, so it forces you to use all of Google’s online services to get anything done. I recommend Moblin as an alternative operating system on netbooks.

I had some kind of "trash" GMail account which I used for some mailing list. I have unsubscribed from those mailing lists and evenually I will resubscribe with the e-mail address of my ISP or a GMX FreeMail account. Or I will just read those lists online or with a news reader via GMane.

As default search engine, I currently switched to Ask.com. In some corner cases, it is lacking a bit compared to Google, but the majority of searches yield good results, so it is perfectly fine as default search engine for me. Be sure to enable AskEraser for a privacy level much better than what you get with Google.

3 Comments

  • Patcito

    Just block cookies and stop using google apps. Paranoid about your IP? Start using TOR when using google. Also, if you think bing and others are any better you’re delusional. Another thing, each of the google apps allow you to export your data (imap with gmail, odt with google docs etc), the same cannot be said about MSFT and Apple. But yeah I’m sure google is the devil in disguise….

  • Misc

    You can also use scroogle, hich is a frontend to google said to mask your ip. Or as you said, bing/yahoo. I tried some distributed community oriented search engine, such as majestic12, or Yacy. I have been quite existed by yacy and by the possibility that it would uncover, but the network need more peers to be useful to everybody ( without surprise ), and the server need some limit to prevent crash ( as I started to index too much, it broke the db ).

  • Ian Clarke

    > Chromium uses several open source libraries, such as sqlite and libjingle, but instead of collaborating with them, Google just forked the code.

    Google’s changes are public – so these open source libraries are welcome to merge them back in to their code if they want.

    The alternative is that Google would essentially need the permission of the maintainers of those libraries to make any changes, and this is likely to impose unacceptable red-tape in their development process.

    > Recently Google also introduced their own public DNS system. Even if they promise not to permanently store identifiable data, this gives them yet another source of data they can use for statistical and data mining purposes.

    So what? Nothing you do online is private unless you encrypt it or use a tool like Tor or Freenet. You should treat anything you send across the Internet as if you had written it on a postcard, unless it is encrypted.

    Besides, my general attitude towards privacy is that its not what other people know that matters, is what they do with that information. So far I’m not aware of Google doing anything I’d consider unethical with private data.