The rise of the Internet in the last 20 years was tightly connected with the success story of Google LCC . It is one of the most valuable and powerful companies with an enormous knowledge about all of us. Even though their motto was Don’t be evil for a long time, they are undermining data protection laws and influencing political decisions about digital life on all levels, by their economic power, their search engine algorithms, controlling web hardware infrastructure and their gatekeeper function on Android smart phones and the most widespread web browser Chrome.
One day I noticed, that Google has too much control over my every day’s life, The crucial event was, when I logged out of my Google account with Chrome and my bookmarks were gone. Until then, I thought bookmarks are stored on my local hard disk. The real reasons are my frequent Google searches, while I am coding or searching for scientific data: The results offered to me by Google are biased and Google knows exactly, what I am interested in and working on.
In one of my first blog posts, I criticized Google and their intrusive behavior, but now it has reached a point, that I want to get rid of them.
Until recently, Google Chrome was the fastest and best Web-Browser. Many Web developer focus on Chrome to circumvent Internet Explorer’s inability to follow standards and lack of security (which got significantly better with Microsoft Edge). Not to forget Chrom’s cool DevTools, which simplifies work and increases productivity. The melting market share of Mozilla Firefox was another reason to accept the end of the Browser war with a clear winner: Chrome
Since I own Android smart phones, I tried not to store any data (like contacts or photos) at Google, Samsung or Mi-Cloud, with limited success. Every time I check the permissions, I realize that I am sharing more than I wanted.
A couple of weeks ago, I replaced the Google search engine with DuckDuckGo.com. Firefox has a nice plugin for various search engines and it’s easy to switch. I deleted Google Chrome from all my devices.
The feeling of not being tracked with every key stroke was a relief. I am aware that this is only a drop in the ocean (or not even that). Other companies, like Facebook, Amazon or again Microsoft, are also intrusive. I know that Google does not care about me as a single user and can easily (at least digitally) send me to limbo. But I wonder, if there are other people out there, who might feel the same and care about their digital privacy.
Here is my action plan:
- I use other search engines and map services, which do not track me.
- I have Linux (Fedora) on my laptop, which gives me more control over data leaks.
- I try to convince as many people as possible to quit Google.
- I am looking for a Android free phone (Currently I try to switch off any contact to Google, e.g. App store, backup, browser, search functionality, mobile internet, …)
I wonder, if my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) programs, which store my blog posts in search engines (e.g. Google) will be successful this time. I hope that the protected privacy movement is on the rise (link1, link2, link3).
Quitting Google perfectly fits Google’s new motto: Do the right thing