Google, don’t be evil! Too late…

Google Dragonfly

Google’s motto used to be “Don’t Be Evil” but, they removed it.
I don’t know why. Maybe its because of projects like Dragonfly.
Dragonfly is a search engine made for China. At the request of
the Chinese government, some info will be blocked from
Chinese citizens.

I think that’s evil. Other people do too. Among them, Google’s
own employees. Some people have even quit Google over it.

I plan on quitting Google because of Dragonfly and other things.
I’m not going to do it all at once. It will be gradual. The first
thing I will do is list all of their “free” products I am using.
The second thing is to seek out alternatives, especially those
that are more privacy conscious, and move forward with them.

I will likely not stop using Google overnight. However, I will
immediately reduce its influence in my personal life by
using it only for work-related stuff. Care to join me?

Google alternatives I am reviewing and/or now using.

Instead of Google Chrome
# Brave | I use it now.  I love it.
# Vivaldi | I use it now. I love it.
# Firefox
# Maxthon

Instead of Google Search
# DuckDuckGo | I use it. I love it.
# Yandex
# Qwant
# Startpage

Instead of Gmail
# Protonmail
# Mailfence
# Tutanota
# Mailbox

Instead of Google Plus
# MeWe
# Gab
# Diaspora

Instead of YouTube
# Vimeo

If you know of any other tools I should be using, please do let me know in the comments below. Thanks in advance.


How To Archive Then, Delete Your Google Data

I have been doing some research on Google lately and the more I do, the less inclined I am to support their business or trust them with my personal data. As such, I am systematically UnGoogling myself (as best I can). I imagine that I will always use their search engine but, I will not rely solely on it; especially when it comes to controversial issues. Other things that make me uncomfortable with Google are cited in the articles below but, that is only a partial list.

But, I digress.  I am carefully monitoring what Google and other big tech is doing with my data and zealously seeking alternatives for the sake of my personal privacy. But, that’s a blog post for a different day. For now, let me share this with you.

Google keeps a record of your activity on its platform. You can view your activity history by clicking here. (You will have to sign into your Google account.) Once there, click the “Delete activity by” link, as depicted by the arrow below.

Delete and archive your Google history

On the “Delete activity by” link, I can delete activity on all products based on a custom date or by my entire history with Google.

Delete and archive your Google history

Hmm… Before I click the delete button, I am more than a bit curious. So, I go back to the My Activity page and click the “Other Google Activity” link.

Once I am on the “Other Google Activity” page, I immediately notice the Location History section.  Check out the “Visit Timeline” button.

I opted out of this data some time ago (for what good it did), so not much to see on my timeline. If I had not opted out of this, I would see everywhere I’ve been that Google was aware of. I suggest you check yourself out NOW, just to see even more how Google tracks you.

Okay, let’s go back to the “Other Google Activity” link and scroll down until I see the “Download your data from My Activity” section. From there, I click the “Download Your Data” link (as the arrow is pointing to).

Once on the “Download Your Data” page, I will have the option to choose which Google product data I want to archive.  Once I make my selection, I click the “Next” button at the bottom of that page. (Not shown in the picture below.)

At this point, I’m basically done.  I choose how I want to receive the archived data (.Zip or .TGZ) and wait for Google to email me a link to where I can download it. More than likely, I will download it to an external drive for later reference.

The data I am backing up includes my Gmail as well. Just in case you were curious. It saves it in a MBox format.

Are you keeping up with what Google (and other tech companies) are doing in terms of censorship and privacy (or lack thereof)? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Am I being paranoid? Or, not paranoid enough? #tinfoilhat