This is a series of 7 posts to navigate simple replace the number in the url. Ex: …-1 to …-2 will take you to part 2.
There will be a warning written if there is something more that you should consider before using the specfic service.
All the posts of this series is available here - Android without Google!
Any Issues? Google it! It is a 70% Probability that you have landed here through a Google Search. Google is everywhere, it controls our live. It knows more about you than you know about yourself. It can predict which link you’re going to click next, what you’re going to search next.
It is so convenient right? Yes, it is, but that’s not worth your Privacy. Android’s market is 86% and increasing every year. Almost ~80% of us have Android device and pretty much know that it comes with all the Google Applications Pre-Installed.
If you’ve read my previous posts then you know that I’m a bit serious about privacy. Whether its a bot or a human, I simply don’t want anyone to read my mails, track me, make my advertising profile, sell me! After all Privacy is Privacy. You can disable most of the Applications, but still that doesn’t cut you off from Google.
Privacy? But why, I have nothing to hide!
Over the last 16 months, as I’ve debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, “I don’t really worry about invasions of privacy because I don’t have anything to hide.” I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, “Here’s my email address.
What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you’re doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you’re not a bad person, if you’re doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide.” Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.
In this post, I will share all the Best Alternatives to Google & its Products. Most of them are going to be Open Source and Privacy Focused.
This blog is now open-source and is hosted on Github Pages!
First things first, Why do you want to leave google? Hmm.. Just because you want your Privacy back or simply you love Open-Source. Android itself is open-source but most of the Applications on Play Store, is not!
Going Google Free isn’t a piece of cake because you are leaving a lot of features. You won’t get to use Google’s Applications, though there will be better alternatives for most of them.
Google Play Store Alternative
You are really going to miss a lot of applications, but don’t worry if you like some application then you can download the .apk file for it from other Websites. Here we are talking about a solid App Store. The Best you can go for is Amazon App Store, you will not find all the applications but I’m pretty sure that you will get most of the popular applications.
It has been since 2011 and has over 350,000 applications. If you are the one who doesn’t trust google but want to go with a popular name then this is for you. Frankly speaking, there will be no difference in tracking. Both these giants track you, amazon also tracks the amount of time you spend with that app, and they pretty much trade data too! So, that will be of no use if you’re migrating for Privacy Purpose.
Remember, talking about Privacy and Open-Source? F-Droid is itself completely Open Source and the applications are also open source. Most of them at least are open source and private, F-Droid displays a warning over applications which aren’t open-source or break your Privacy.
The new update also has material design and a cool dark theme so that you don’t feel outdated. I myself use F-Droid to download and update applications. All the Applications you get there are free and verified, so no issues of malwares. Remember it is powered by your Donations!
Other Alternative ways
If you worry about getting apk files which are modded and will harm your device, then head straight to CNET or Apk Mirror. They are the most popular and trusted source. >You should never trust these apk file hosts, if you do then make sure to check the intergrity of the file you have downloaded.
Still want Apps from Play Store..? Get Yalp Store which is also open-source and they give you apk directly from Play! Yalp Store is available in F-Droid.
Google Search Alternative
There are many rescue points over here. DuckDuckGo, StartPage, Qwant, Searx are some of the search engines you might consider for ditching Google. I am not writing much about privacy and other stuff because everything is Privacy Focused here. There is a small summary table below, summarising everything. >This is in increasing order of choice, i.e, the best is the last!
Speaking of Qwant, it has a pretty much bulky home page, which you can customise. There are no specific themes for searches as of 2017. No Logs, Cookie-Free Search Engine, this is a good alternative over Google. It only lacks in design and customisation, otherwise it is perfect!
Warning: This is not Open-Source!
DuckDuckGo is a real google competitor, everywhere you will find articles on DuckDuckGo vs Google. It is a great place for programmers and developers as it brings answers directly from StackOverflow. The Interface is simple and clean, like google.
You have a bunch of themes available for your searches, you can also turn off advertisements and some other settings.
Warning: It is a US based company, which we must avoid. Some of the code is public and open source but the core is private. Moreover it uses Amazon Servers, which means all your data goes through amazon servers. Not pretty good choice!
With a bunch of customisations, StartPage is the best you can get over here. It has a night theme and other quick settings. Also, comes with proxy settings which means that you can visit a website without actually going there. It’s like StartPage goes to the website and brings it to you, so the website just thinks that StarPage has visited and not you.
The unique thing about StartPage is that it is not a Search Engine itself. It brings the Google Search to you, without sharing any details to google. They keep no logs, but you get tailored searches that is pretty much unclear, it seems that it shares the country location to google and brings the result. This results in slower query responses compared to DuckDuckGo.
The Best of all, it is not a US or UK based service, so the NSA (National Security Agency) (Intelligence Agency) has no control over it, where as DuckDuckGo is US based company.
My Personal Favourite and the best of all, Searx! It crawls other Search Engines and brings the results to you, there are some themes available and a bunch of advance settings. You can select which search engine’s results you want, there is Image Proxy, etc,. It took me sometime to get used to the Search Engine but once you explore it, you won’t leave it.
|StartPage||Open||If you want Google Search with no tracking|
|DuckDuckGo||Partial||Super-Cool! Keeps No Logs, US Company.. You decide!|
|Searx.me||Open||Best of All! Good Image Search and Customisable!|
Browser - Chrome Alternatives
This also is not a big issue you’ll face. Ultimately, you will find the browser that suits your needs.
Firefox Focus (Play Store) or Klar (F-Droid) is another option.
My best bet will be Firefox, as it is the only option you have if you want multi device sync!
Also see Waterfox, which is a Firefox Fork with telemetry removed.
Firefox is a fast, reliable and a open source browser that respects your Privacy. It has a pretty good interface and design. The latest release of Firefox Quantum has created a lot of fuss on twitter, reddit, everywhere… It claims to be 2x times faster than old release and 30% lighter on memory compared to chrome.
The new open source browser “Brave” automatically blocks ads and trackers, making it faster and safer than your current browser. Brave is based on Chromium. It is new in the market, I myself use Brave because I’m not a fan of multi device sync.
Orfox, which is Tor equivalent to Android. It uses Orbot to route your traffic through Tor Servers. Tor Browser is your choice if you need an extra layer of anonymity. It’s a modified version of Firefox, it comes with pre-installed privacy add-ons, encryption and an advanced proxy. This is for those who want to do some serious stuff with their Browsers. Like visiting Dark-Web…
All the posts of this series is available here - Android without Google!
That’s all folks, I will publish a new post on other Google Alternatives. Remember, I’ve done all these and now my Android is completely Google-Free, so everything you will find here will be secure. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get Notified when, I publish new posts!