Day six: The replacements
Here's a list of possible application replacements for things Google might be currently doing for you: Google Search: Duck Duck Go, doesn't store info or cookies; no location-based tracking Google Plus +: Social Networking Portal, numerous alternatives Google Voice: Skype; ooVoo Google Docs: Numerous alternatives Google Mail: Numerous alternatives Google Translate: See alternativeTo for other choices Android: Boot-to-Gecko, Ubuntu, Windows 8 Mobile, iOS/iPhone Google TV: See alternativeTo for other choices
The alternatives to Google are available. Sometimes these products are under the umbrella of another site, like Bing or Yahoo. Other times, they're a bit of a mixture of applications, each with their own user agreement and privacy principles. The problem is that each legal term must be read and evaluated. Applications originating in the EU, and especially Germany, have a stronger privacy legal principle behind their use.
Finding the applications has been both painful, and a moveable feast-- some of them can be a joy to use, like Oovoo- for its video qualities.
Day seven: A few withdrawal pains, but otherwise good
The search engine is the first part of my use that needed getting used to. I'm not sure that I wanted to use an engine called duckduckgo, but after a while, it's not bad. It lacks some sophistication. It has sponsored results, but leaves no cookies if desired. It doesn't seem to be twigged from prior searches that I can tell -- so far. Its results aren't as complete as Google's, but in truth, I rarely look beyond the first two pages of results anyway. I generally refine or alter a search if I don't find what I'm looking for.
I miss Google+, but not much. Some of my friends might read this and believe that I've abandoned them. I'm still on Linked-In, Twitter, and Facebook. So far, I'm ok with the privacy policies of each of these, although I have to watch them like a hawk and make seemingly weekly adjustments to privacy settings somehow. The user-base seems to be sensitive to this and gives explicit instructions on how to maximize privacy and personal information conservation.
The biggest loss so far is YouTube. I'm going to have to figure out how to watch YouTube videos by proxy. How do I use Youtube? I'm considering a proxy. Anonymous proxy use may satisfy the need for privacy, but at the price of latency and principle. After all, my son posts his music videos there, and they're fun (if deafening) to watch.