The process of de-Googling my life has now come to end, and I'm pretty happy with the results. However, we all know that Google pretty much runs the Internet, and although I have managed to escape the clutches of Google in many ways, there are some Google services that are simply not feasible for me to stop using.
This post is going to look at those services, and the reason(s) why I can't cut them from my life.
This is pretty obvious really, as my options are very limited. It's basically a 50/50 split between iOS or Android. I realise there are other mobile operating systems out there, but let's be honest here, this is a two horse race.
Android is a great OS, I find it easy to work with and I don't use many of the Google apps any more. So that's a big win. I also have an iPad, and whilst I do really like iOS, I do prefer Android.
In terms of privacy, the difference between Google and Apple is negligible, so there's no real point in changing over to iOS for the purposes of privacy. So we're looking purely at functionality here; and as I said earlier, I prefer Android.
I use YouTube a lot. I probably watch videos on it most evenings, and I even used to have my own channel. Again, I realise there are other options available (such as Vimeo and Lrby.io) but there is nothing even in the same league as YouTube. Unfortunately it's that simple, folks.
I love Google Maps. Street View, in my opinion, is one of the most incredible inventions of the modern day. I know it's really sad, but I love "exploring" different parts of the world on Street View, just to see how normal people go about their business in other parts of the world.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Google Maps
Again, nothing else comes close. Although, for directions, I do try to use OpenStreepMap as much as possible.
What can I say about my Chromebook, other than it's by far the best laptop I have ever owned. I've had mine for around 5 years now and it's still going strong, still getting updates, and still boots up in around 3 seconds flat.
The Chromebook is the perfect little laptop to have lying around the house for booting up quickly and doing things like checking your emails, or surfing the web. OK, it's no good for any kind of heavy lifting, like video editing, or development work, but they're the perfect web surfing device. Which is the vast majority of the time I spend online.
I can honestly say that my little Samsung Chromebook is the best £200 I think I have ever spent in terms of tech; and that's why I refuse to get rid of it.
Like it or loath it, I use Android Pay a lot for paying for things using contactless when I don't have my wallet to hand. It's so handy to be able to pay with my phone. Again, there are no alternatives out there that I know of, other than Apple Pay of course.
Although Mastodon is very much my main social media platform now, I still sign in to Google+ from time to time. This is because I follow a lot of really great people on there, and unfortunately, not all of them have made the transition over to Mastodon.
Overall I'm really happy with the current state of my de-Googling saga. I have managed to remove all of my really important data (emails, calendar, contacts, search history and documents) away from Google, in favour of more open alternatives that I control.
Yes, I haven't completely escaped the Google umbrella, but is that even possible nowadays? I would argue that it probably isn't.
Having said that, if you know of alternatives to any of the services I have listed above, please do feel free to leave a comment below with your recommendation.
That's it, guys. That's the end of my de-Googling series. It's been really fun and interesting going through this process, and it really isn't as hard as you might think.
If you're interested in doing the same, you can find a list of all the posts in this series here.