Living without Google

Joshua J. Romero discovered that much of his daily life was dominated by Google. He used its myriad services for so many tasks, and worried that it gave Google too much ability to control him. So as an experiment, he decided to completely disconnect from the company:

In general, quitting Google was easier than I thought. One of the biggest lessons for me was that Google’s not the best at everything. I’m thrilled to be rid of Google Tasks. I realize now that I was always dealing with its deficiencies; it’s not even supported on Android, and it had a tendency to undo my recent changes. I now use a site called Todoist, which I find vastly superior. I had never bothered to research alternatives before, and I ended up falling for the inferior product out of what I thought was convenience.

It’s easy to get seduced by the lure of a single sign-on. But managing multiple user accounts actually isn’t as much of an annoyance as we think it is. For me, it quickly became clear that my single Google account had mixed and muddled my personal and professional services and data. There are many online services that make sense to link together—but there are plenty of others that don’t. Calendar and e-mail might be a good fit, but do you need to use the same company to manage your social contacts, RSS feeds, and to-do lists? What about your phone and computer operating system? Even in the midst of the experiment, it was hard to remember to sign-out of the Google account; I was signed in by default, just as I’m also often signed in to Twitter and Facebook without realizing it.

Link via Glenn Reynolds | Photo by Flickr user orangeacid used under Creative Commons license

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I wish there was a decent online alternative to Google Reader. Netvibes is the only legit one I've found, and it's slower to load and misses quite a few updated feeds. Plus the rss reader interface is barebones. Sigh.

Google Search is still king; Yahoo/Bing, ixquick, ask, etc. are all pale alternatives.

If I use Chromium, is that considered a Google product?

I can live without my personal GMail accounts but my business accounts are hosted in Google Apps. They're critical.

I use Picasa's desktop client since it's faster and better than Irfan View (or pretty much any other image viewers).

That's about the extent of my Google usage. They're not best in everything, but those are still compelling apps/services.
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