Return to Level1Techs.com

The Road to a less Google life. Help!

Hi frens, the other day I found out about myaccount.google.com and tbh it shook me. Look I know that big G has been collecting our infos for years now but seeing all of the info they have on you is lowkey worrying, to say the least. So now I want to be less reliant on Google and be more mindful of my digital footprint aka. me privacy and I would like some pointers and tips on how to do it properly.

PS. I’m not gonna rid myself of Google. I’ve read De-Googlifying – my journey post by redgek and In my opinion some Google conveniences outweigh the headache you’ll get without them.

So there are 4 things I want to change and it’s as follows.

  1. Email: (biggest change for me) ProtonMail or Tutanota. Tbh I’m leaning more to Protonmail but Tutanota is cheaper. Also I saw that both offers the use of custom domains. Can I use .net or .org for my domains? How do I migrate my email? Do I have to go all of my accounts and change the email? Addresses vs Aliases?

  2. Browser: I plan to use both Firefox and Brave. Firefox for work and everything Google, and Brave for the “new” me, new personal email, every day search, online shopping. Is this a good idea? How many browser do you use? Where should I do my social media Firefox or Brave?

  3. Search: DuckdDuckGo or Startpage?

  4. Password Managers: For this one I have no idea. Is it worth it? What happens when the service provider gets hacked? I’ve been a pen and paper guy for all of my passwords since high school and so far so good. I work mostly at home but when I do travel I bring the password notebook with me. (I know its stupid and dangerous to do so) Any recommendations here? If possible I’d like it to be compatible for both PC and Android.

  • Bonus – News: I’ve been getting all of my news reading from Google Discover and damn I must say they do a good job at it. But with that said can you recommend any good privacy oriented news aggregation services or websites?

I think with this I should be able to lessen my dependence on Google and decrease ways of identifying me online. I’m also doing this on me phone so there is that. Looking forwards to the cool stuff you’ll share.

Edit Addendum** Adding some info here. After clicking the google link. head to data and personalization, activity controls and click on manage activity.

I found out that google tracks you WHEREVER you go. I went to China with no data plan, airplane mode, no wifi and Google isn’t even available in China but I found out that they know where and when I went to that place in China

5 Likes

That doesn’t work.

edited the s out of the accounts. link should be working now

After my recent failed attempts at running a google-less android phone, I’ve come to the conclusion that saying no to all tracking is almost impossible. Instead I have chosen google as the one company that I allow to track my ass everywhere. I have a basic business account and setup my own mail address on it and so on. I also pay for youtube premium so that I support the stuff I watch a tiny little bit and also don’t see ads. On top I get google music for free with that.

I do use keepassxc as my password manager and I almost never read news anyway.
But yeah, google is in so many ways just too convenient for me to not use it.

I found out about “winds” a few days ago, it’s OSS. The design is basically an iTunes ripoff, but it’s nice. They also allow for podcasts to be on there.

protonmail is nice, but ive not yet really converted over to a non google email. its in my plan i think for next year but i dont know if ill continue to use protonmail or not or use a normal email provider. either way, ill likley move to my own domain except for junk accounts.

protonmail can use .org or .net emails fine, there all the same.

if you havent used a domain on your gmail, short answer. Yes you need to change them all.

Im not really sure why anyone would bother with Brave? Whats the point?

On Firefox. There integrating and making more obvious more services. Firefox Services: Monitor, Send, & Lockwise

DuckDuckGo. Starpage is google by proxy. Why would you use them if you dont want to use google?

The problem is getting out of the habbit of searching like google wants you to search. And if you really really cant break your google crack habbit, you can use !sp in duckduckgo to redirect to startpage.

You need a password manager.

A notebook is a password manager. If that works for you that’s good. Just maybe keep a backup.

Actually, its not that dangerous. The main risk is simply losing it. You just might want to consider how you write down your passwords, does it include all info, or just passwords and sites etc.

For a digital password manager there all fine to be honest. 1password, dashlane, bitwarden, or the slightly more inconvenient and higher maintenance keepass.

Andoird is a useless pile of junk without google. If your happy with a dumb smart phone then thats OK. But honestly… I agree with @noenken if your using andorid you might have to decide either to be happy with Google or stop using Android.

I dont have any news aggregators. I guess i do have apple news, but i don’t use it. Instead i have the following news apps installed: BBC News, Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian. Its a reasonably nice mix.

Some additional notes.
Apple maps is quite good. Yes not as good as google, but actually quite good. Alternativly, openstreetmaps, though I find they have their own issues, they have a lot of data.

But, the best option for maps, is to plan your journey. Use other map services as a guide and help, but have an idea of where your going in the first place will loosen your reliance on them. Especially when most of your travel will be in local areas anyway.

I use iCloud for documents, and a mix of MS office and apple office for making documents. MS office is good, the web version is alright. its hard to find something as good as google drive, but you get what you pay for and this is absolutely true for google drive as well. there’s a reason its so cheap.

I think you’ll find you really need to give consideration on the Android front and if you actually want to deal with it or not.

2 Likes

@noenken Yea it’s almost impossible. Location services alone. I want to keep that close all the time but you basically need it open every time because of ride-sharing and delivery apps.

@Goalkeeper I couldn’t find the “winds” google keeps on showing me the windy app

1 Like
2 Likes

Thanks, Learned a couple of things from ya.

  1. whether I move or not I should start using my domain for emails.
  2. Need to check up on Firefox more
  3. DuckDuckGo is nice but sometimes you need them Google results. So Startpage for the google results minus the tracking
  4. Yea its the losing part of the notebook that worries me. I tend to write everything from email to passwords. I’ll check those password managers you recommended.

I don’t have any apple products, so I won’t be able to use them services.

Thanks

1 Like

This is the great thing about duckduckgo

4 Likes

Or this:

https://searx.me/

I actually was thinking about setting a searx up myself. It is FOSS.
That way you might be able to let it search for random BS to confuse google.

2 Likes

My bad, mate. I should have included a link.

1 Like

Damn, the web version of Searx seems broken. I guess google changed API enough to throw them off.

1 Like

@Goalkeeper all good
@noenken yea, tried it didn’t work.

I have not yet gone full Google-less but I am near the end of my personal goal of slow migrating my accounts for 1 year.

  1. I am currently on a paid Protonmail account. It is worth it. I havent really used the custom domain feature but presumably there should be no reason why you cannot use a .net or .org. There are cheaper top level domain, though. Regarding migration of email - Yes it is painful to do it manually. You should probably migrate as slow as you can rather than fast. For aliases - I use 33mail. Its cheaper than the multi-address feature of Protonmail and you can have a disposable email.

  2. You should use visit sites in Tor Browser if it does not break its website functionality. Yes its slower but… tolerable? Then again I am in a 3rd world country behind a VPN so slow is normal for me… On sites that break on Tor - Use firefox with multi account containers. Isolate sites as much as you can, particularly the social media ones. Try not to use amazon as much as you can. Its one of the worse offenders of privacy, really. I simply dont prefer/do not like Brave.

  3. Startpage - google has a monopoly on search and for good reason. It knows where stuff is. I havent really used Searx and it seems like a good idea - I should probably use it more. Also, DuckDuckGo has Bing on its backend which is just as bad. At least Startpage knows where things are.

  4. I self host with KeePassXC (and Keepass DX for android/F-Droid) and Syncthing via local/personal cloud. Both are FOSS. Bitwarden is also good, they say.

BONUS - I use plain RSS with Feeder (Android/F-Droid) or FeedReader. Nextcloud can also do/use RSS Feeds.

I went to China with no data plan, airplane mode, no wifi and Google isn’t even available in China but I found out that they know where and when I went to that place in China

You probably should not post or tell other online people where you went/where you will go. Its the social media betraying you. If you had uploaded images from your cellphone without scrubbing its metadata - It has you phone GPS coordinates embedded if you have those enabled on your mobile device.

1 Like

I have thoughts about that one because I can’t find how they are financed.

https://support.startpage.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/11/4/could-you-provide-information-about-your-companys-profits-and-income

This isn’t quite true. Ddg uses various sources. Those include bing and yahoo but aren’t limited to them.

They’re profitable from making all their money from non profitable generic ads that not only pays for the company but pays for access to google search. But they won’t show the books, you’ll just have to trust them.

The thing I don’t get with start page is your funding google anyway. All start page is is a proxy for google go make money off the ‘paranoid’ people who don’t want to use google. In that case just go direct.

Well like I said, there is no other search provider that is good at its job other than Google. At the very least you are not directly being tracked and analyzed via Startpage.

Using a password manager helped me indirectly. Whenever I logged into something it basically cataloged what email I used for that account.

Simply would update email and password with each new entry.

For the phone I use apkmirror and some others to get programs if there’s not an alt available on fdroid. And things like yootoob and maps still work in the browser where I can run umatrix and adblock.
Some apps won’t work but I got over it pretty quick. I use my phone much less which is refreshing. I don’t know if that’s removing goog or weening off the technology tit in general…

Good luck

1 Like