Living Outside of the Google Digital Dome: How to separate from Google

By on May 25, 2018 in 

google-riot-policeThese days, it seems like Google is everywhere. It could even be said that Google knows us better than any other human person. It gleans our personalities by the secret things we search for. And it seems to know what we want even before we realize it. Think of YouTube’s Recommended Videos. Or the sudden appearance of holiday specials in your inbox when you mail a friend about how busy work is.

At first glance, it would appear that Google is acting as an assistant. But how much of our power are we actually handing over? One could argue that we’ve put our lives into Google’s AI-powered hands and let the tech giant decide where we go, what we do and even, what to think. The recent Facebook scandal is proof of how ordinary conversations and online activity can be used to influence the masses under the pretense of “targeted marketing”. Google’s global reach is far greater than Facebook. And it is safe to assume that the degree of manipulation could be greater too. The power of suggestion is subtle but strong. So, what can we do to unplug and take back this power?

break-the-bubble

It starts with our go-to apps that we use in our everyday lives. Remember that everything you do on a Google-based app will be harvested to be used against you later on. We must remember that there are some amazing alternatives that can replace Google-based apps. Google may have marketed itself as the only viable option for all online tasks. But, truthfully, Microsoft is a strong competitor that can stand up to them in several arenas.

Microsoft Word
the good

Although Word is built as a stand-alone application Microsoft has introduced Office online which gives internet access to the application features. The ability for the application to be run independently of the internet connection also gives Word advantages over Docs should you find yourself separated from the internet.

Google Docs
what you give up

Google’s word processor was made and lives online so naturally this is where it shines. Its usability and access online makes it a powerful tool but serves as a weakness should you lose access to the internet or your account.

Microsoft Excel
the good

Excel has become synonymous with spreadsheets due to Microsoft software and today it continues to deliver top level features and usability. While some features are watered down in the online free version it still meets the needs of most users.

Google Sheets
what you give up

Google sheets again like its siblings strives in bringing its tools to life online from any connection. While its accessibility is enticing it stills is playing catch-up to Excel in terms of user interface performance for power users.

Microsoft PowerPoint
the good

Of the office suite PowerPoint seems to have the largest gap between its google counter part. With libraries of templates and high quality features, even novice users can create stunning content with ease.

Google Slides
what you give up

Again here the strengths of Slides comes largely from is accessibility and even that is being quickly caught by Microsoft. While accessing your slides anywhere is convenient the ease and power of Microsoft seems a clear choice here.

Microsoft Word
the good

Although Word is built as a stand-alone application Microsoft has introduced Office online which gives internet access to the application features. The ability for the application to be run independently of the internet connection also gives Word advantages over Docs should you find yourself separated from the internet.

Google Docs
what you give up

Google’s word processor was made and lives online so naturally this is where it shines. Its usability and access online makes it a powerful tool but serves as a weakness should you lose access to the internet or your account.

Microsoft Excel
the good

Excel has become synonymous with spreadsheets due to Microsoft software and today it continues to deliver top level features and usability. While some features are watered down in the online free version it still meets the needs of most users.

Google Sheets
what you give up

Google sheets again like its siblings strives in bringing its tools to life online from any connection. While its accessibility is enticing it stills is playing catch-up to Excel in terms of user interface performance for power users.

Microsoft PowerPoint
the good

Of the office suite PowerPoint seems to have the largest gap between its google counter part. With libraries of templates and high quality features, even novice users can create stunning content with ease.

Google Slides
what you give up

Again here the strengths of Slides comes largely from is accessibility and even that is being quickly caught by Microsoft. While accessing your slides anywhere is covenant the ease and power of Microsoft seems a clear choice here.

Let’s look at some practical examples. Take the ability to collaborate on documents. Your immediate choice might be Google Docs. But in reality, Microsoft Word is a better word-processor than Google Docs, and includes great real-time collaboration features. For communication, a common choice would be Google-powered Gmail. However, Outlook is a clear leader in functionality and, perhaps most importantly, privacy. In fact, Outlook outperforms Gmail in many aspects. Deciding on cloud services means a showdown between Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Azure is the way to go. They’ve been in the game longer and they cover more locations than Google Cloud.

Amazon Web Service

Amazon has been the biggest provider of cloud based solutions for over a decade and with that comes experience and resources. Part of that experience is Amazons ability to serve and handle large scale projects and big companies better than the competitors.

Microsoft Azure

Being a part of Microsoft, Azure leverages their knowledge and position to integrate Microsoft tools and software into their services which is convenient and easy for many users to pick up. This also allows them to leverage hybrid cloud solutions which utilize both on and off premise machines. Despite being a branch of Microsoft, Azure also offers open source support for other OS and data sources.

Google Cloud Platform

Google boasts its strength in its data and cloud based design to stand out of the crowd for cloud services and solutions. This is demonstrated by serverless “just code” functions.

Amazon Web Service

Amazon has been the biggest provider of cloud based solutions for over a decade and with that comes experience and resources. Part of that experience is Amazons ability to serve and handle large scale projects and big companies better than the competitors.

Microsoft Azure

Being a part of Microsoft, Azure leverages their knowledge and position to integrate Microsoft tools and software into their services which is convenient and easy for many users to pick up. This also allows them to leverage hybrid cloud solutions which utilize both on and off premise machines. Despite being a branch of Microsoft, Azure also offers open source support for other OS and data sources.

Google Cloud Platform

Google boasts its strength in its data and cloud based design to stand out of the crowd for cloud services and solutions. This is demonstrated by serverless “just code” functions.

But how do we escape Google when we need a search engine? Easy. Try Bing, the Microsoft-based web search engine. It’s powerful and gets you the information you need within milliseconds. To make things even more convenient, it is integrated into Microsoft Office products as a Research feature. You can find information without even leaving the app.

By now, it is evident that there is life beyond Google. And going off the Google grid may not be as hard as you thought. It is possible. And it is liberating. The whole point is to take back your power as an Internet user. Your information and your life choices should not be used to manipulate you. And Microsoft is your best weapon to free yourself from that control

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22 responses to “Living Outside of the Google Digital Dome: How to separate from Google

  1. Oh boy guys… I really liked your company, until you start sucking this MS teet so hard… This email you sent is hoooooorible… MS is just “one of the other” mega-coorporations trying to monopolize IT… They hope to somehow own “information”, alongside Google. You’re going to bat for one of the two worst threats to information freedom – which discredits you…

    I bought in to your company precisely because you were outside that scam… You sold legacy-generation software at great prices (and new stuff at good prices), which went directly against the IT-industry push to “obsolete and up-sell” customers on a yearly basis, a.k.a. the SCAM…

    No big deal, we can always find another up-an-comer who hasn’t sold out – yet – and they still are making that better deal. This email you’ve sent pegs you out as another mega-profiteer-wannabe, wishing you could be Microsoft or Google… screwing everyone as hard as they can… 1 small, more-unethical step at a time.

    1. Good point Matthew. Please consider though Microsoft offers a subscription service, 365, which is targeted to a particular segment of customers. 365 is less expensive than perpetual licensing for customers who update to each version of Office, but may be more expensive if you keep the same version for many years, of course at the cost of not having the new features which accompany the new version. Everyone’s situation is unique and you should weigh the pros and cons for your particular situation to see which makes more sense for you. Saying this is somehow a scam though is like saying Intel is a scam because they follow Moore’s Law and create advancements in processor technology which you have to buy if you want a faster processor. Undoubtedly planned obsolescence occurs in every industry to some degree, but the ability to innovate and stay ahead of competitors is what every company relies on or risks becoming obsolete to competitors. We’re proud of the business relationship with have through offering Microsoft products, and the core belief of valuing customer input which Microsoft is demonstrating by offering perpetual licensing options in Office 2019.

      If you find anyone who is selling for less than us, make sure that they are selling authentic and genuine Microsoft products.

      Here’s an excerpt of the Google Terms of Service, available at: https://policies.google.com/terms

      “When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

      “By using our Services, you are agreeing to these terms.”

      Here’s an excerpt from the Microsoft Terms of Service, available at : https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement

      “When we ask you to provide personal data, you can decline.”

      1. Why aren’t you using Open Office? I use it. It works fine. Has all the features I want and need. And if it doesn’t all need do is ask. (Or write it myself.)

        Don’t know about Apple products, but it works well on PC’s and Linux machines. I even have a version that works on my android. so I can share files with my phone.

        1. I have not had much luck asking Google for features and having them deliver, and unfortunately my developing skills (like most people) are not production quality haha. But I do think that you bring up a good point about free and open source options that can fulfill the needs of users. However, there is a trade off with ‘free’ either in time, information or utility. I guess in a lot of ways it comes down to what you want to exchange to a provider for your software: money, time or information.

  2. I don’t believe changing overlords is an improvement. Bing collects data about you (as do Microsoft applications). To recommend Bing over Google for a search engine is just trading one profiling leech for another.

    I do believe in office products that are not tied to a background web service. That much you have right. And I understand your article weaves conveniently into your marketing of products you sell.

    Open Office, Libre Office, Calligara Suite, and others offer stand alone office products not attached at the back end to online services. Still doesn’t solve the search engine problem (nothing really does until someone makes a not for profit version that collects no data) but they will give you the ability to handle documents, spreadsheets, etc and you don’t have to worry about anyone shipping data out of your machine.

    Microsoft is *just as much* of a corporation as Google – they operate for their shareholders benefit and to make a profit for those shareholders by any and all means that will generate that profit. That includes collecting search data and other data. They aren’t a white knight; If anything else, they were the original Big Bag Corporation (well, if you don’t count IBM) before Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. became what they are today. And what they’ve done as far as data collection in Windows 10 is no better than any version of Chrome or Android.

    I do believe people should get off of these platforms. But climbing out of a house on fire (Google) onto a ladder truck that’s on fire (MS) isn’t really much of an improvement.

    1. lol @ the house on fire to ladder truck on fire.

      A very small part of Microsoft is advertising driven, and they are far more software product driven. I would personally prefer to work with a company which is less reliant on advertising / data selling, both companies are very successful for different reasons and have different markets they appeal to.

      Windows 10 does offer Full Drive Encryption though, but this is primarily designed for if your PC is lost / stolen.

  3. You’ve got to be kidding. I agree that the Microsoft suite of products far outperform Google’s, but if you think Microsoft is not storing and using your data for marketing (and other reasons), you’re delirious. You’re just moving from one digital dome to another, and the Microsoft Dome has been around far longer that Google. Your blog also shows that you are pushing the sale of Microsoft products for your benefit, not ours.

    1. We try to offer valid information which demonstrates why we offer the products we do, and shows their advantages over alternatives. We promote our products because we believe in them.

  4. You assume that a huge corporation such as Microsoft isn’t going to do the same thing with our data that Google does. I think that is hugely incorrect. Microsoft is in the same game with a similar business model. If you really want to be free of the corporate thought collectors, try LibreOffice for your docs and spread sheets and DuckDuckGo for search and Mozilla Firefox for your web browser!

    1. A very small portion of Microsoft revenue is driven from ads, and Microsoft Office is far superior to LibreOffice is numerous ways if you’re a super user. I was a supporter of DuckDuckGo until I found out they power their search results from Google and Bing results… It’s like insulting and badmouthing Google and Bing, while admitting the superiority of Google and Bing, plus still recognizing the need for advertising, but providing less relevant advertising because they don’t track users… I can’t respect DuckDuckGo anymore…

  5. Afraid to try Microsoft new windows 10 edge apps. I have it in my phones though. It seems for every app there is a charge. Not like Google apps, many are free.

    1. To be honest I don’t use many browser extensions, but after Netflix would not load in Chrome I tried in Edge and it worked. I have to go with Edge for the simple fact that it functioned. Keep in mind that for any software which is free, you’re probably the product.

  6. Not to denigrate, but this is a simplistic view. The reality is that you have to choose whichever evil you feel is livable. Amazon, Microsoft and Google are all companies we love to hate. And the future isn’t going to get any better. We are going to give up more and more to get the ease and functionality we want. There is no going back unless you plan on disconnecting and retiring to a remote island. So, choose wisely and wait for the inevitable development of software that will try to remediate against the giants grasp over your life and try to retire early!

    1. I couldn’t had said it better. I think eventually as the information is disseminated and the broader public becomes more aware of how data is used, there will probably be some sort of gov intervention on privacy laws, but until then we must try to take the responsibility of educating ourselves and choose wisely who we allow to have our data. Personally, I’m still far more comfortable with Microsoft than Google for the simple fact that Google’s business model is entirely reliant on advertising, whereas Microsoft sells software, and the promotion of Bing can really be seen as a defensive response to Google, a kind of second thought, and not the life blood of Microsoft. If Bing ceased to exist, Microsoft would go on, could the same be said about Alphabet if Google ceased?

  7. Your points about Google are entirely justified. However, recommending another intrusive megalithic computer giant as an alternative is not necessarily sound.

    1. Point taken, however Microsoft offers non-data driven alternatives, where reporting data to Microsoft is not a requirement of using the product, whereas Google doesn’t, and this alone personally makes me more comfortable in using Office, not to mention the genuinely more powerful features for someone who is a power Excel user 😉

  8. Well, getting out from under corporate bubbles is definitely an interesting subject. Centralization of power is is the leading cause of all the worlds woes. Whether it is government, utilities, consumer goods or software and data handling. Trading one master for another is ultimately not the answer. These corporations will ultimately eat each other. I see the day when we will all be stuck with Googlesoft or Microogle. And we will have asked for it by our own choices.

    1. I think that you raise an interesting point David and it is important to understand that these providers are corporations regardless of how they try to present themselves. I think one of the major themes of the article is understanding that their are options available when it comes to software and digital services (even if the providers don’t want you to believe it). I think that is why it is important to stay informed as consumers and not only from one source.

  9. I find it amusing and interesting that I usually learn more about a subject from the comments than from the article itself. Thank you to all of you

  10. I agree but the only way to get free apps is by seeing ads. Interesting how Google takes over without me trying. Don’t like that part.

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