For many years I have been a fan of Google products. Back when I was still very young, I used Yahoo! because at that time I thought more is better. When I grow up I realized Yahoo was doing way too much and the homepage of it was way too distracting. Then I came across Google at the age of around 11~12. I was quite happy with the search engine, even registered for most of its services like GMail, YouTube, Blogger, you name it.

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I was not aware of how this Giant literally dominated the Internet and start going against its original motto.

Don’t be evil.

In 2016 I learned that trackers are put in ads to trace your online activities, and Google use them to create a profile, of you. All statistics are inside your profile. Your favorite websites, most frequently searched keywords, places you’ve been recently, e-mail you sent and received. In their privacy policy, they admit that they share various data with their affiliates – which means anyone that is willing to pay has a chance to look at your profile created by Google.

Google does not only track you, it also filters search result. Google uses profile and your search history to filter results which the algorithm “thinks” you do not need, and giving you the results that it “thinks” you will most likely need. Which created a filter bubble, that you may never stumble upon sites you may otherwise want to visit.

Of course it is pretty hard to leave Google completely, provided there are only 2 major OS for smartphones. But do try quitting as much as possible! This way you may get tracked less and leave fewer footprints on the Internet. Of all the services Google provides, the most famous and most used one is Google Search. Which can easily be replaced by DuckDuckGo. a search engine that respects your privacy.

DuckDuckGo’s front page is minimalistic, pretty much the same as Google’s front page. It has almost everything Google has – Web search, Image search, Video search, and Instant Answers. It does not have other services, no e-mail, no blogging, no advertising platform. It is a search engine, only a search engine. The results are crowdsourced, gather from search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and trusted/popular websites such as Wikipedia. While DuckDuckGo does not have its own searching algorithm or specific web crawler. It focuses on your privacy. It does not track you, and its ads are purely based on keywords you typed. Not your search history.

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Better yet, it has a unique function called Bang. Bang allows you searching on thousands of websites directly without looking for them on DuckDuckGo result page. Which can be achieved as easy as typing !a cars

What of other services? Are there any alternatives?

There are. For example, you may choose Firefox or Vivaldi to replace Google Chrome; Tresorit, pCloud or Dropbox to replace Google Drive. For more advices, check this article by DuckDuckGo team.

So I’ve talked you to get away from Google. Am I trying to profit from doing so or am I in bad terms with Google? No. I am still happily using some of Google’s services such as YouTube and GMail, but I am well aware of my privacy now, and installed content blocker to prevent online tracking, as well as slowly switching from GMail to ProtonMail. What I am doing is to try spreading words helping you protecting your privacy online. Think about it and consider ditching Google today!

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