Going on a Google Diet

I wasn’t naive and knew for many years that Google Search was too restrictive. I was aware Google wouldn’t show some search results because others didn’t want people to see them. For example, let’s say you wanted to know how to copy television episodes from a Blu-ray. You might have a hard time finding good results with Google because movie studios likely asked Google to remove or bury such content. That’s when you would need to turn to a search engine like DuckDuckGo. They managed to find relevant results. Was this magic? Does DuckDuckGo have better engineers? No to both. There is no legal reason for Google to hide such information. Most speech and printed materials are legally protected in the United States under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Even though powerful companies would not want you to have access to this information, they are not more powerful than our Constitution.

There has been negative news about Google violating privacy rights for many years and I hadn’t cared much. What happened was that too much information has surfaced that Google is politically biased and intentionally acting on this. It is that or they are not capable of producing a non-biased product. The term implicit bias is really popular these days – maybe Google suffers from this… Google employees speaking up and leaking information is very damning, especially after Google executives recently testified in front of Congress that their products were not politically biased. This country has become so politically divided and it sickens me. I want companies and services politically neutral – I already hear enough idiots running their mouths. I want democrats, republicans, independents, and everyone in between treated equally by companies. However, it really appears Google is biased and they have the power to steer people in a direction without them knowing they are being manipulated. No political party benefits from living in a bubble and not being exposed to a difference in opinion.

Google may not outright ignore someone’s search query if it doesn’t align with Google’s political beliefs, but they will often offer content contrary to the search or bury relevant content. Google appears so politically biased to the left that they will bury something as petty as the Clinton body count meme. When I checked, autocomplete for “Clinton body” on Bing and DuckDuckGo both returned results for the murder meme, but Google showed results for vehicle body shops and nothing meme related anywhere with the first page of results. I know this is not serious stuff and the world may be better off without idiotic memes or conspiracy theories, but Google is not the internet police or my mom and they do not know what is best for me.

Who knows how much content Google intentionally omits or buries because they don’t like it or think you shouldn’t see it. They say their algorithms attempt to sort by relevance and are not biased, but biased people create these algorithms. Using DuckDuckGo reveals this.

I have used DuckDuckGo for a few months now and I don’t miss Google Search. This motivated me to take my Google diet to an even higher level and here’s how you can do the same. You may need to DuckDuckGo how to do some of these things because Google does not make it easy to get untangled from their web:

  • I started by backing up my data via Google Takeout because I don’t know what I may need.
  • I deleted my search history.
  • I started moving my important email to Microsoft’s Outlook.com. I catch them as they come in Gmail and change my email address with the sender.
  • I deleted all email from Gmail, but I first backed it up with the free program MailStore Home. You can run this as a portable program and it will update itself.
  • I downloaded my Google Drive content and then deleted it from Google’s servers. I uploaded what I wanted in the “cloud” to Microsoft’s OneDrive. I do use an unlimited Google Drive account intended for business use, but all data is encrypted before being uploaded. I only use this Google Drive account because the price cannot be beat and it is unlimited. I like that Google cannot peak at my data and even the titles are encrypted.
  • I actually like Outlook.com, so I also moved my Google calendar and contacts there. *I could not find a way to switch to using Outlook on Android as the default contacts manager, so that will stay with Google for now.
  • When it comes to web browsers, I loved Chrome – but Google’s got to go! I decided to go with Firefox as my primary browser since they take privacy very seriously these days and it’s a great browser.
  • I will not add any further Nest products (a Google company) or buy a Google Assistant. It’s Amazon and Ring (an Amazon company) from now on. I already believe Alexa is way better than the Google Assistant! Google also angered a lot of Nest customers by killing Works with Nest. Another big change by Google that is hated by customers.

You may have noticed that I am ditching a lot Google products, so why not get an iPhone and escape Android? I’ve had a couple iPhones over the years, but I just couldn’t stand them. I like a little freedom with my phone and that’s just not Apple’s way. I like to use WiFi scanners, but for some reason Apple does not think you should be able to use an app like that. I intend to stay with Android, but I am making Microsoft my go-to service. I know Microsoft has their political and other biases, but as long as they don’t shove it in my face, I am okay with it.

UPDATE 11/24/2019

I am having no Google withdrawal from my Google diet and enjoying the alternative services. I am using Outlook.com for email, but I am considering using a truly private email service with end-to-end encryption. This means only the two parties to the email can read it. The email provider cannot even read the email. I will post something once I get started with this encrypted email service.

UPDATE 12/6/2019

I couldn’t bring myself to go with the iPhone, so I ordered the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition so I could take advantage of T-Mobile’s newly activated 5G! I received text saying it was available in my area and I was in need of a phone upgrade. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new phone and run some tests. I’m not expecting crazy fast speeds since T-Mobile’s 5G is more intended for long distance, but I will bet it will still be faster than my current phone.

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