Beyond Google

search photo“Google is coming after critics in academia and journalism. It’s time to stop them.”

Is there anything Google cannot do?  Is there anything Google soon will not decide it should not do?  By the time you rule the world, it is typical that you reach a point where you can see nothing wrong with what you decide should happen and start seeing everyone who opposes your bliss as anarchists revolting at the gates that must swiftly be put down.  Google is reportedly already showing signs of no longer seeing any good reason to tolerate dissent.  In the words of the  the new Chair of one group forced out from its former parent organisation upon evoking Google’s displeasure at its support for an anti-monopolisation ruling in Europe, “Google is coming after critics in academia and journalism. It’s time to stop them.”

Google’s integrated simplicity is very alluring.  They built their products pretty well and it is very difficult to avoid Google’s monopoly on most things.  Even when doing so, it is hard to feel unlike those people who give up having a car to protect the environment and watch everyone speed on their way wondering what impact they alone are having but we can all support anti-monopoly laws at home and abroad and speak up (including on social media) in support those who criticise monopolists everywhere and against any attempts to silence them.

If you are searching for alternatives to Google, however, many exist and there are exciting benefits to using them.  Click Read more below for some suggested free (and in many cases open source) alternatives to get you started.

Alternatives to Google products

For there are many.  Just scroll past Google in this shortlist of the most popular.

Search engines – Duck Duck Go and the Tor Browser deserve special mention because they allow you to browser the web anonymously and without the bias of (someone like) Google feeding you what it decides you want based on your location and browsing history.  The Tor Browser goes as far as to mask your IP address, although you will need to use its own search engine or that of Duck Duck Go to remain anonymous.  Admittedly, Google is usually good at working out what you will want, in part because of the vast tranches of information about you it already has acquired from every available source.  If you value independence of search or want to look something up without it being carefully observed and recorded by your search provider, Duck Duck Go is a great choice of search engine.

Google mail and calendar account alternatives – There are many alternatives to Gmail, including open source alternatives such as Zimbra and others, Yahoo!, and Live Mail (formerly Hotmail).

Google Drive and Docs alternatives – Many free platforms exist, including open source platforms and software, which typically comes guaranteed free from corporate oversight.

Google Keep alternatives – From the famed Evernote to the Pocket browser plugin and Microsoft’s One Note, which can turn photos of pages into editable text, the alternatives are as diverse as they are many.

Google Streetview alternatives – Open Street View is an open source project populated with photos taken by people driving around, so has reasonably good coverage of towns and cities.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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