to unGoogle (verb)

Cutting down on Google et al and coming up with decentralized solutions to on line hosting and connections is either an incomprehensible effort and pretty pointless or… I have yet to hear another response about it other than from online converts who mostly seem way further down the line than me on this one. 

So why then? I like new and novel experiences. I like learning about and trying these things out. It reduces my dependency on propriety platforms. There’s some thought about moving on from outdated frameworks and rights hungry solutions. Open source feels like I have more access, security and privacy to control.

On the other side it’s about not being complicit with something that does not feel right anymore. Privacy is a principle rather than an issue for me. I’m willing to forgo the personalized Google experience to help protect the principle. The influence of Google et al is pervasive as it is seemingly benign.  What illustrated this is to me on a personal level was using something other than Google for search and maps. I still found information and got places but in a way that felt fresh and more diverse. I won’t go on about it. Just try it.

So I am no longer using Gmail for non Gmail accounts. My only need for Gmail now is to keep a Google account for accessing the Android Play Store. I’d like to unGoogle my Android phone. My dependency on the Google Play Store is strong. I an finding alternatives on F-Droid but there are gaps. The next step is to familiarise myself with the Yalp Store. The Yalp Store connects to Google services using a built-in account, so I do not have to own a Google account to use it. The only reason to use a live Google account then will be to access any paid apps I own.

For work and personal email I am using Thunderbird on the desktop and K9-Mail on my Android phone. IMAP deals with all the syncing. Google Calendars, tasks and contacts (CalDAV/CardDav) have been replaced with a Next Cloud host. Right now I have space with Hostiso. The  plan is to set up a server at home on an old PC/laptop with USB SSD storage and backup.  Next Cloud portal on the web and file sync on the desktop. CalDAV/CardDAV access on Thunderbird desktop and mobile access via DAVdroid to Etar calendar, the True Phone contacts apps and a task manager.

Files on Google Drive have been archived on my Tresorit account. Files on DropBox and Mega will follow. Photos that were stored on Google Photos and Flickr have also been archived to Tresorit and copied to a local Pictures album.  

It’s all coming together and back in house as it were. Okay so remote hosting is not in house but it’s not a bad staging post on the way. Despite me not knowing any one else following a similar strategy I’m not a trailblazer. If you’re interested see this post, this post and this post for a few ideas where to start.