I’ve been using the Internet for long enough to remember a time before Google, initially DEC’s av.digital.com was the best there was. When Google launched I did switch to using it as it was better but due to privacy concerns I used Scroogle for many years, then DuckDuckGo came along and almost all the time this is good enough, I only find myself adding a !g to searches every few weeks — you can survive without using Google for internet searches.
There are other alternatives to the “killer features” provided by Google, Nextcloud and ownCloud can be used in place of Google Docs, SoGo is a fine web based email client, all of these things provide CalDAV services which can be used as alternatives to Google for contact and calendar backends for Android phones. You also don’t need to install GApps on Android phones, you can run LineageOS and use the F-Droid app store, Piwik is a fine alternative to GA.
Is anyone else managing to get by without handing over huge amounts of their data to Google in exchange for their services? And what alternatives are you using?
In addition to the stuff Chris already mentioned. I have been loving Sandstorm recently which includes a bunch of good apps that the user can spin up and down as needed. It’s a drop in replacement for the Google Apps stuff. In Autonomic, we do 90% of our admin work using various Sandstorm apps. It’s all sandboxed and designed with security in mind. There’s even a hosted option for people who are not up for running their own servers.
I would also recommend LineageOS and F-Droid without GApps. You can’t install a bunch of crap so it makes you much more productive. You can now get Signal and WhatsApp as separate APKs and Signal even securely self updates.
At this point I don’t use any Google services explicitly. I also use uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger to prevent tracking across the web. I also use Tor Browser to browser with some degree of anonymity.
People really need to break the cycle on this Google stuff. It’s a fun process and I think you ultimately have a much less frustrating and less anxiety inducing experience.
I’d be interested in Scuttlebutt, I think a lot of people are waiting for a good p2p encrypted communication even if not “open social networking” as we know it
Perhaps a a short verbal introduction to it could be at CoTech tomorrow? if only a tiny impromptu thing squeezed into the busy agenda?
It’s just about wether people are willing to move beyond the current uncritical mind frame. I think people are interested in general but unless there are direct consequences in their lives, then the majority of people are too comfortable in their complicity with negative technologies. It’s just too convenient to do nothing.
We use Google’s services extensively at Outlandish (gmail, app suite, etc.). Personally I don’t see us moving away from them internally. I suppose you could call this a matter of convenience, but that word hides away the real implication of transitioning, which is that it requires work, and work costs money. I would cost the work in the region of £2k-£3k, and without total reassurance that the alternatives do “just work”, I would be highly sceptical of moving. There is also the question of ongoing support and maintenance of these technologies, which are business-critical considerations.
Having said all that, if CoTech were to adopt one of the alternatives then of course that would be great, albeit somewhat inconvenient for Outlandish. But we aren’t here for convenience. It looks like there is general agreement that we should be proactive and not use Google services for inter-co-op interactions, and I believe the WG at Wortley Hall has already put the wheels in motion for this… something something Nextcloud?
heads up that Protozoa (my coop) just got funded to port Loomio into
Scuttlebutt (the p2p social database project). This will mean we’ll have
meeting booking like doodle, proposals, dot voting, all working with
existing social and private messaging.
I’d say the main selling point is an answer to “but where can we host it
that’s values aligned?” (the answer is we all host it, and you don’t need
to run sysadmin!)
I’ve just installed Cloudron on a Hetzner cloud account and note that it’s possible to one-click install MatterMost (and RocketChat) using that.
Really impressed with Cloudron so far (after successfully installing my own self-hosted Sandstorm server turned out to be incredibly easy I decided to give Cloudron a go too - similarly incredibly easy to install and set-up - because I wanted a more featureful shared document editing solution than Etherpad).
I’ve not yet splashed out on a Cloudron subscription (30usd/month) but I think I probably will in the end as it seems like a great way to fairly simply and cheaply replace Google etc.