Concerns over online privacy have been growing considerably over the past few years. As a result, an increasing number of people have been re-assessing which websites they visit and how they use the internet.
A critical aspect of this has been which browser you use. Google has been the most popular choice for a considerable amount of time and takes up the majority of the market share.
However, the company itself offers much more than just a search engine, with its products including a video sharing platform, analytics, document creation, and much more. Despite this, the technology giant hasn’t been well known for its data protection and privacy.
While Google is secure against many hacks, etc., it generates much of its revenue by selling user data to third-parties. Much of this is seen through its advertising and marketing platforms, with the firm reportedly making over $116 billion in marketing revenue last year.
The primary driver behind this success is the sheer volume of data that Google possesses and uses to a marketing professional’s advantage. If you’re worried about privacy, then this can be quite a significant issue, as it means that your information is primarily being used to create targeted ads that you may not want.
While many may believe that they can overcome this by not using Google Chrome or its search engine. However, this may not be as simple as you think, as the technology company collects user data through each of its products, with many of these proving to be quite popular.
As such, it can be quite tricky for many of us to go Google-free. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to find a variety of alternatives to these products. While there are a considerable number of options available for each of them, there are a few specific ones that stand out from much of the competition.
Google Search Alternatives
While Google Search is one of the faster and more efficient search engines available, it doesn’t offer much privacy. Much of this is driven by the fact that the company stores a considerable amount of information when you use it.
Some of the more important data that Google keeps a record includes your unique IP address, your user agent, and any search terms that you used. In many cases, the firm will also have a unique identifier for your searches. All of these are stored in cookies, which allows the tech company to keep track of your use over time.
This mightn’t be great for your privacy, which is why many of us will look for Google Search alternatives. There are quite a considerable number of them available, although there are a few that stick out.
StartPage is perhaps the most notable of these, as it offers the same results as you would see with Google, although it doesn’t involve any of the tracking. Searx is another popular choice, as it’s much more privacy-friendly and provides a considerable amount of versatility.
The Switzerland-based SwissCows is another option that you can take advantage of, as it offers much more security than many alternatives, which is something that you may want to take advantage of.
The only drawback to each of these options is that they’re all meta-search engines. As such, they all draw their results from other engines, such as Bing and Google. If you’re looking for an alternative that’s a full search engine, then you should consider Mojeek.
The U.K-based search engine is perhaps one of the more efficient choices when it comes to options other than Google. As a result, it’s one of the few that you should look at. Alongside these, you could also consider:
Gmail is perhaps the most popular email inboxes currently available, with it also being an option for custom emails. However, there are a variety of drawbacks to the choice. For example, you may have noticed that a variety of ads will appear inside your inbox when you use it, which can be irritating.
Alongside this, the tech company uses Gmail as a data collection tool, with this being done whenever you have your email open. This also includes your purchase receipts and buying history. This information may then be used by third-parties for marketing purposes.
There are a few high-quality alternatives that you can take advantage of. Perhaps the most notable of these is the Germany-based Tutanota, which offers a significant amount of security alongside private.
The option also includes up to 1GB of space for free, which is more than what many other choices offer. Another high-quality free option is Mailfence. While it doesn’t provide as much space as Tutanota, it does include 500MB, which is quite significant.
Many of the other options that you might want to consider will cost you a certain amount of money, although the majority are quite affordable. The majority will also have a few options available, depending on what your specific needs are. Some of the more notable include:
- Posteo, which is available for €1 per month
- StartMail, which has an asking price of €5 per month and has a seven-day free trial
- Runbox, which is priced at $1.66 a month and comes with quite a significant number of features and a 30-day free trial
While the majority of Gmail alternatives cost more than it, this can often be worth having much more privacy and security when you’re using them. Depending on your needs, they can all be much more affordable than you might believe. As such, they can offer you a large amount of peace of mind.
Google Chrome Alternatives
Google Chrome has been the most popular browsers for the past several years. However, this has also meant that it’s one of the larger data collection tools currently being used, often without many people being aware of it.
As the extent of how much tracking has become more well-known, an increasing number of people have been looking for alternatives. Many have turned to some of the more obvious options, such as Firefox. Much of this is because it’s more secure and offers much more privacy than Google Chrome.
Alongside this, the Mozilla-owned search option provides much more customizability and modifiability than many other choices. As such, it can give significantly more privacy options than you may be aware of, with these settings being quite easy to change.
The Tor browser has been growing in popularity in the past few years, despite having a few limitations. Much of this is focused toward making you as anonymous as possible and works similar to Firefox, though it does offer much more security by default.
There are a few other alternatives available, including:
- An un-Googled version of Chromium, which offers more privacy than its non-modified counterpart
- Brave, which is another search engine based on Chromium
- GNU IceCat, which is a version of Firefox.
There are a few other Google Chrome alternatives that may be much more obvious than the above. These include Microsoft’s Internet Explorer/Edge, Vivaldi, Apple’s Safari, and Opera. Despite being more common than others, these do have a variety of privacy drawbacks, although this may not be as large-scale as Chrome.
Google Drive Alternatives
Despite being one of Google’s relatively more recent offerings, Drive has proven to be quite popular. Much of this has been driven by how user-friendly and accessible it is. Similar to the majority of Google’s other products, however, this is at the sacrifice of a significant amount of privacy.
However, there are quite a few alternatives available here, with many of these offering almost as much usability as Google Drive. Perhaps the most notable of these is Tresorit, a Switzerland-based cloud storage option that provides a large amount of user-friendliness.
Alongside there are a few other common alternatives, including:
- ownCloud, which is an open-sourced cloud storage solution that’s based in Switzerland
- Nextcloud, a German project that’s also open-sourced, although it is self-hosted
- Syncthing, which is a decentralized, open-source solution that offers peer-to-peer cloud storage
The Canada-based Sync is also an option worth considering, as it’s an encrypted cloud storage solution. As such, it offers much more security and privacy than many others currently on the market.
Dropbox is perhaps one of the more well-known alternatives to Google Drive. While this is undoubtedly one of the more user-friendly, it mightn’t offer as much privacy as you may want. Despite this, it’s much better than Drive in this regard.
Google Calendar Alternatives
Choosing a high-quality alternative to Google Calendar may be much more complicated than it might seem, as there are quite a considerable number of options. While many offer a significant amount of user-friendliness on top of a variety of features, many lag behind in terms of privacy.
Perhaps the most popular and effective of these is Lightening Calendar, which is an open-sourced Google alternative that’s been developed by Mozilla. The option has almost the same level of functionality as Google Calendar and is also compatible with both Seamonkey and Thunderbird.
As a result, it’s perhaps one of the more versatile options on the market. You could also try Fruux, which contains a variety of features that you may be able to take advantage of. Being an open-source alternative, it has support on the majority of operating systems.
If you’re looking for a more basic option, then you could consider Etar, which is another open-source choice. Despite its limitations, it is much more user-friendly than you might think.
One of the core advantages of Google Calendar is that it can be implemented alongside Gmail, which makes it much simpler to input meetings etc. If this is something that you want to capitalize on, then there are a few options available, including:
Google Docs/Sheets/Slides Alternatives
There are quite a significant number of alternatives to Google Docs available, with one of the most apparent being Microsoft Office. As many people have realized, however, Microsoft may not be much of a step up from Google in terms of privacy. As such, you may want to consider a few other options.
One of the most efficient of these is CryptPad, which has a few distinct advantages compared to many others. Perhaps the most notable of these is the fact that it has a strong level of encryption, which means that it offers much more privacy than many other options.
Alongside this is Etherpad, which is an open-source online editor that offers self-hosted collaborative document editing. There are a few other options available, including:
- OnlyOffice which has a large amount of privacy, although can be restricted in features
- Cryptee, an Estonia-based open-source solution that also offers photo editing
- ZohoDocs, which has a significant number of features, although it doesn’t offer as much privacy as many other alternatives
LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice are both effective solutions alongside the above. While both offer a variety of features and accessibility, they’re offline-only, which may be a problem for many people.
Google Photos Alternatives
Google Photos has drawn in quite a significant number of users, thanks in large part to how easy to use it is. Alongside this has been a variety of features that are included in the platform, which has allowed it to outperform many of its competitors.
Naturally, privacy hasn’t been one of these, which has meant that you may want to consider an alternative. While Shoebox was one of the more popular of these for a considerable amount of time, it ceased operations earlier this year.
However, there are a few other options that you’ll be able to take advantage of, with Cryptee being one of the more effective, as mentioned above. Alongside this is Piwigo, which is an open-source Google Photos alternative, although this is also a self-hosted option.
Lychee is another alternative that you should take a look at and is a self-hosted, open-source solution that’s similar to Piwigo. While there are many other similarities between the two, Lychee does offer much more in the way of privacy. Each of the above have a variety of individual benefits, however.
There are quite a significant number of companies that have tried to compete with Youtube, although many of these have missed the mark. Much of this has been driven by a lack of features that has meant that they haven’t been able to draw in users.
Despite this, there are a variety of YouTube alternatives that you may want to consider. Perhaps one of the more effective of these is Invidio.us, although this is more of a YouTube proxy.
As such, it allows users to watch any video on YouTube without needing to log in, regardless of whether it’s restricted. This bypasses much of the privacy concerns that you may have with the video-sharing platform.
If you’re looking for a fully-fledged alternative, however, there are a few options take you can capitalize on. Dailymotion is perhaps the more commonly used of these, as it functions much the same as YouTube.
Vimeo is somewhat similar to this and has been becoming increasingly popular in recent years. Alongside this are a few other high-quality YouTube alternatives, including:
Google Translate Alternatives
Google Translate has been much easier to use than many of its alternatives, although it has had its limitation. While much of this has been because of slight mistranslations, the main concern has been how much data it collects, which can be much higher than you might believe.
Perhaps the best Google Translate alternative on the market is DeepL, which has both a free and paid version. There are quite a significant number of features that are available here, with many of these outdoing Google Translate. Some of the more prominent examples of these include a block text translation and a built-in dictionary.
Linguee is another high-quality alternative to Google Translate, although it is more limited than DeepL. Much of this is seen in the fact that it can only translate single phrases at a time. However, it does offer a significant amount of accuracy and includes the phrase or word in context to help with the translation.
Alongside this is Swisscows Translate, which offers support for quite a significant number of languages. While dict.cc is another alternative that you might want to look at, it can often feel somewhat outdated and is more limited than many other options. Despite this, it offers much more privacy than Google Translate.
Google Analytics Alternatives
Google Analytics has quite a considerable number of benefits for website administrators and marketing professional. Many of these have made it practically a necessity for running a website, despite the privacy concerns that many may have.
However, there are several high-quality alternatives that you could take advantage of. One of the best of these is Clicky, which anonymizes and truncates a website visitor’s IP as standard. This is also one of the more lightweight options while also being fully compliant with a variety of privacy regulations.
Fathom Analytics has also been a popular choice, thanks in large part to the fact that it’s a lightweight and fast alternative to Google Analytics while providing many of the same features.
Matomo, which used to be known as Piwik, is another high-quality and open-source option which allows you to anonymize your website visitor’s IP. You could also consider using AT Internet, which has been around much longer than many of its competitors.
As a result, it offers quite a considerable number of features while providing a large amount of privacy. The option is also fully GDPR compliant and certified, which is another large benefit.
Google Maps Alternatives
Google Maps has been quite a popular choice for many people, thanks in large part to the fact that it’s much more detailed than its competitors. Despite this, there have been a few alternatives that have been standing out increasingly more over the past few years.
While Waze was one of the more common options in the past, it was recently purchased by Google, so it’s no longer an alternative. If you’re looking for a high-quality choice on a PC, then the best choice may be OpenStreetMap, which has quite a variety of features to take advantage of. However, there are a few alternatives that outdo this on mobile devices.
The first of these is OsmAnd, which is based on OpenStreetMap’s data despite being a separate option. It should also be noted that there are separate versions available for both Android and iOS devices. Maps (F Droid) is similar to this, although it’s offline-only.
Here WeGo is another Google Maps alternative that you may be able to take advantage of. While this works better on mobile devices, there’s also an option available for laptops and desktops. Maps.Me is another option that you might want to look at, although there is a certain amount of data collection.
MapHub is perhaps the best alternative to Google Maps available, as it offers quite an extensive amount of mapping but doesn’t collect any data.
Google Play Store Alternatives
When it comes to Google Play Store alternatives, there are a limited amount of choices available. Perhaps the most commonly used of these is the Yalp Store, although this is only available if you have F Droid already installed and then access the storefront through that.
While this may seem as though it’s a large amount of effort, it does bypass the majority of privacy concerns that you might have. Once you have the app installed, then it can be much faster to access the store and browse apps than you might believe.
It should be noted, however, that when apps are downloaded, they’re done so as APK files. Alongside this are a few other Google Play Store alternatives, although many mightn’t be as effective as the Yalp Store.
Some of the more notable of these include:
- The Aurora Store, which is somewhat related to the Yalp Store
- Aptoide, which is an independent Android app store
- APKMirror, although this doesn’t offer much security
Google Chrome OS Alternatives
While replacing Chrome may be quite easy, it can be much more difficult to find a Chrome OS alternative. While there are a few options available, each has their pros and cons. Perhaps the most common of these is Linux, which has recently been growing in popularity.
There are quite a few reasons behind this, with the most notable being that it’s an open-source piece of software that offers a variety of features. You could also take advantage of Linux Ubuntu for your Chromebook, although this could need a few tweaks beforehand.
Tails is a security-focused alternative that’s based on Linux, although it routes its traffic through the Tor network. As such, it’s perhaps one of the more private and secure ChromeOS alternatives.
QubesOS has been growing in popularity over the past few years, thanks in large part to a recommendation by Edward Snowden. Much of this is because it’s a free and open-source option that provides a large amount of privacy.
Many people will already be aware of Apple’s iOS as an alternative to Google’s Android. However, there are far more options available here than you might believe. One of the more notable of these is LineageOS, which is a free and open-source solution that has an enhanced amount of privacy.
If you’re a fan of Ubuntu, then you’ll be able to take advantage of its mobile offering, Ubuntu Touch. Alongside this are a few other Android alternatives, the vast majority of which are open-source. These include:
- Plasma Mobile
- Sailfish OS
Google Hangouts Alternatives
While Google Hangouts hasn’t been the most commonly-used video and messaging systems, it has seen a certain amount of popularity. Those looking to ditch the software for something that offers more privacy will be able to do so with a variety of options.
Signal is perhaps the most notable of these and has been growing in popularity over the past few years. Much of this is because it offers much more security than its competition while also providing many similar features to Google Hangouts.
Alongside this is Telegram, which is one of the older Google Hangouts alternatives currently on offer. This longevity has been driving by the privacy that it offers, as well as quite a significant number of features.
If you’re looking for a certain amount of encryption, then the open-source Riot may be an option, although it does come with a variety of limitations.
Google Domains Alternatives
While there are an unlimited number of domain registration companies available, there are a few that offer much more privacy than their competition such as Google Domains. Prominent among these is Namecheap, which has a large amount of security.
What further enhances this is that registering a domain with the service includes WhoisGuard for as long as you’re with the service. As such, there’s quite an improved amount of privacy and security with it. Namecheap also accepts payment via BitCoin, which can add to this level of privacy.
While each of the above are Google’s most popular products, the company does offer a few others, though these mightn’t be as well used. Despite this, you may need to look for alternatives to a few other apps.
The first of these is Google Forms. While there are a few options available to this, the most notable has been JotForm, which offers much of the same capabilities as its competitor, as it free to use.
Google Voice is another little-known offering from the company, though it doesn’t have many alternatives. The more well-known of these may be JMP.chat, which has both free and paid versions.
G Suite and Firebase are also somewhat well-used, although many people may not realize that there are a variety of alternatives to both. Chief among these are Zoho and Kuzzle, respectively, both of which offer a range of benefits.
While Blogger hasn’t been too popular over the past few years, it has remained common for many people. This downward trend has been driven by a few high-quality competitors emerging on the market, including WordPress, Ghost, and Medium.
Speaking of websites, Google Fonts has been a popular option through the Google API. In terms of alternatives, there are few high-quality ones currently on the market. Perhaps the largest of these is Font Squirrel. While this offers several Google Fonts, it also provides a variety of options that don’t come from the tech giant.
The wealth of alternatives to Google that are available can often seem overwhelming. Because of this, many of us may not know which one to choose. Much of this can be driven by what your specific preferences are, although each of the above can offer a significant number of advantages.
It should be noted, however, that you may want to put a certain amount of time into researching each of the options before you make a decision. While each option can offer much more privacy than Google, they can do so to varying extents.
Alongside this is that many may not be used in conjunction with each other. Those that do may provide a certain amount of difficulty when doing so. This is one of the core benefits of using Google, which means that this is one of the things you’ll have to sacrifice when you stop using its products.
When it comes to ensuring that you have much more privacy when browsing online, however, this can be worth the switch. Being informed before you switch can often be a necessity.
This is why it’s always recommended you look through each of the options before you sign up to any service, and is something that you should look at with all of your online habits.