Are you tired of using Google applications, programs, and services in your online daily life? Are you worried about your online privacy and want to find the best alternatives to Google? Is this possible?
From the onset, I tell you that it is not easy, especially if you have been stuck in the Google ecosystem for many years.
If it happens to you as it happened to me, who for many years has been using Gmail, right now you have a problem: how to change the search engine from Google to something else, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, Google Maps, Chrome, your online office system, the Google translator, Android, etc! How many Google services we use, right?
The problem does not end here since possibly the most difficult thing is to find other services that respect your privacy, where you are not the product and where your data is safe, where they do not track you and provide you with ads, etc. Anyway, personally I have embarked on this adventure as a New Year’s resolution and the truth is that it is not being easy, especially with services like Gmail.
I tell you the best options I’ve found to replace Google in my entire digital life. I will start with the simplest.
Alternatives to Google Search, the most popular online search engine
It may be the simplest if you are content with the results offered by other search engines. I can assure you that I have tried a few others and that the results are quite acceptable, especially if your searches are common.
If you are looking for very specific things or with a high technical profile, Google continues to return the best options, yet at the cost of getting into your privacy.
I will not comment on all the alternatives, but the most interesting.
- DuckDuckGo: A search engine based in the United States that fully respects our privacy and allows great customization in appearance. It is the most famous alternative to Google Search.
- Mojeek: The only true search engine with its own crawler and web index.
- Ecosia: Ecosia comes from Germany, a search engine that plants trees with part of its benefits. Your searches for a good cause.
Personally, the one I use the most today is DuckDuckGo. TIP! When you don’t find something in this search engine, you just have to put g! at the end of the sentence to go directly to Google. For example, your search terms here g!
Alternatives to Gmail
The most difficult of all for me by far. I have been in the beta phase of Gmail for a few years now, and my e-mail has changed. Not only that. I have many active Gmail addresses. Hell of change! I am in the process, and I think it will take a few months to complete it.
If you wonder if your emails are safe from prying eyes in Gmail, I already say, no:
- In addition to seeing your e-mails, you also see ads in the inbox (you have to use an ad blocker not to see them)
- Why do you think you see related ads? Google knows what you buy, where you travel, etc.
It is best to choose an email provider that respects your privacy right now? Right now, I am using 2 alternatives, Tutanota and ProtonMail, but there are other interesting ones:
- ProtonMail: Another great option located in Switzerland. They offer free accounts with up to 500MB. Also secure and provide encryption. Their price plans are more expensive.
- Posting: Also located in Germany, it costs 1 euro per month, so the annual price is also affordable. They offer 2FA and encryption.
This is not one of the worst things to change. Who has not used Firefox at any time? And now it’s better than ever. Also, in the Apple ecosystem, Safari is not bad at all.
- Firefox: the best option to improve your online privacy. This is the browser that many left because it was very slow, and now rebirths from its ashes and returns through the big door. If you combine it with a good ad blocker and a VPN, you have it all done.
- Tor Browser: the option for the most paranoid. The browser that is used with the Tor network of servers to navigate the Deep Web, can also be used as a really secure option and with your encrypted traffic.
- Safari: OK, it’s from Apple, but it’s not the worst in terms of privacy options. If you are in the Apple ecosystem you can use it with more security and privacy than Chrome.
Alternatives to Google Drive
Here we have very good candidates for this online storage. I’m already using a few, and I hope to expand the list shortly.
- NextCloud: it is a really interesting open-source alternative that offers a lot of options. You are the sole owner of your data. Security and privacy are guaranteed. You can sign up for a provider that uses this system or create your own cloud storage.
- Dropbox: the option is pretty safe. It is not the best option considering your privacy, but it is very comfortable. How do I overcome privacy issues? I encrypt the important files before uploading them to the cloud with Cryptomator (free). Thus, my files are synchronized and encrypted in the cloud.
- BackBlaze: it is the online storage service that I am currently using after investigating a lot of options. It is the perfect service to have a backup of your computer in the cloud. It is really easy to use and has an unbeatable price if you use their annual plans.
- Syncthing: an Open Source option that allows you to use cloud storage in a decentralized manner. You only share it between your devices. It can be downloaded on GitHub.
Alternatives to Google Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations
Before, we all used Microsoft Office (they are not good at maintaining your privacy) and now many people use Google’s office suite in the cloud. Well, there are a few very interesting options that are safer in terms of privacy.
- LibreOffice: the offline option that may interest you the most. Open Source. There is nothing more to say. Perfect to work on your computer.
- CryptPad: A really interesting online option. Everything is encrypted. It looks great, they offer a free plan and pretty good price options (from €5/month). You can only store up to 50MB in the free version. It is the only downside. It offers spreadsheets, notes, documents, presentations, a to-do list, and much more.
- Cryptee: an option with an impressive interface for creating documents, notes, and also for replacing Google Photos. All is encrypted. Open Source. They are located in Estonia.
- Zoho: is what most resembles the G Suite from Google. They are perfect for companies.
Alternatives to Google Photos
The options are just a few in this case, but they are still very good. I am seriously considering using Cryptee. Piwigo is interesting, but you have to mount it all on your server. They also offer a managed version.
- Cryptee: an option with an impressive interface to create documents, notes, to replace Google Photos. All encrypted. Open Source. They are in Estonia. The 10GB plan costs €3/month and the 400GB plan €9/month. They also have a free plan to try it.
- Piwigo: Open-source. Perfect to store your own Google Photos yourself. They offer a managed version on their servers but it is somewhat expensive: 10GB for 300 euros a year.
Alternatives to Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator does a very simple but very important thing: create codes for two-step verification on your phone. It is an extra layer of security in your online services that you should activate if they offer it to you. Alternatives to this Google service? There are two very good ones:
- 1password.com: the password manager that I always recommend, and I have been using it for a few years. They also offer 2FA code generator. You need a monthly or annual subscription. It is really worth it. They also offer 1GB of encrypted cloud storage in addition to many other options.
- Authy: a free multi-device option that is also good for these things.
Alternatives to Google Translate
Here I stay with an option. For real. It is the most worth it. It’s about DeepL. Perfect for translating complete texts. The translation is as good as Google’s. They even have a desktop application. I use it on my Mac. It even has a dictionary. The character limit is 5000.
In case you didn’t convince yourself, you can also use Swisscows Translate, a service located in Switzerland.
If you want to translate individual words into a dictionary plan, the best option is Linguee. It even gives you the context.
Alternatives to Google Maps
In this case, I can only recommend two options. I’ve been using them for many years.
- OpenStreetMap: perfect to use on your computer, but not so much on your mobile.
- Here WeGo: the perfect map app for Android and iOS. It even has navigation and you can download all the maps offline. Very complete. Perfect for traveling abroad while having no internet connection.
Alternatives to the Google calendar
The best option is to have it changed with the e-mail service in which we register, so there are two very interesting options offered by Tutanota and Posteo. I don’t think you have to look much further. With this, you cover the main uses of the calendar without having to use another app.
Alternatives to YouTube
Well, the truth is that in this case, I recommend using Invidious, an Open Source alternative that does a very simple thing: it allows you to watch YouTube videos without advertising and without Google tracking you.
Alternatives to Android for your Smartphone and the Google Play Store
Here we have it more complicated. I would recommend that you use iOS on an iPhone, but I am sure it is not an option that many people like. With iOS we have more privacy, although you have to take a few precautions.
If you are using Android on your smartphone, your privacy is not yours, it is in Google’s hands.
You can also choose to buy very special smartphones such as the PinePhone, a mobile with a fairly cheap Open Source system, or the Librem 5, a much more expensive terminal. They are smartphones with which you will sacrifice many of the apps you use from the Google Play Store.
And what about the Google Play Store? You can opt for the F-Droid. F-Droid is an installable catalog of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. The client facilitates navigation, installation, and tracking of device updates.
Google alternatives for webmasters: web statistics and buying domain names
In this case, we need to replace Google Analytics (statistics service for Google websites) and the Google Domain Registration. Also, if you publish a blog with Blogger you may want to change.
- Alternative to Google Analytics: Matomo. This is the best option if you want to have a statistics system on your website that respects the privacy of your users (avoid registering users’ IP).
- Alternative to Google Domain Registration: Namecheap. The registered one I use at this time. Very reliable and good prices. They offer WhoisGuard for free and you can pay with Bitcoin.
- Blogger alternative to creating blogs: there are many options, for example, WordPress or Ghost. Or host your own blog on your server and create it with WordPress CMS.
10 final tips to protect your privacy online
- Use a VPN to encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP.
- Use a password manager to generate good passwords and have them all in a secure place.
- Never use your browser’s password manager. There are very good options like 1Password, KeePass or BitWarden.
- Use a good adblocker in your browser. 1Blocker in Safari and uBlock Origin in Firefox.
- Use a DNS service like Cloudflare. Don’t use Google.
- Always use 2-factor authentication.
- You can find more services on the following Reddit website:reddit.com/r/privacy/wiki/de-google
- You also have very interesting information on TIPS, TOOLS AND HOW-TOS FOR SAFER ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS on the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- To make Windows 10 as private as possible.
- You also have a lot of options for Google services and voted by other users on the web nomoregoogle.com, and also at restoreprivacy.com/google-alternatives.
What a VPN does
- It works with Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS
- You can use OpenVPN
- Easy setup
- Protects and encrypts all your communication, not just a program
Unlike a proxy, which only ensures your torrent client or web browser, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an encrypted tunnel that ensures 100% of your internet access. Also, it changes your IP address.
With a VPN server, you can enjoy greater security, regardless of your geographic location. Not only does it protect your torrents downloads, but it will also protect all your online activity (email, browser and other applications). You will also get faster connections and encryption.
They are used, for example, to connect to Netflix and watch TV series available in some countries only.
And what about the alternatives to the services that Google has closed?
Google is also famous for closing online services that many people used and leaving us in the lurch. I still remember the famous Google Reader, Google Plus, or the Inbox mail manager. What a pity…
For this, there is a very interesting page called: gcemetery.co/google-alternatives, where they publish the best alternatives to all the services that Google has been closing over the years; and there are many of them!