If you are like me, then you are a little unhappy with the likes of facebook, google, twitter, and other Big Tech companies. Google, in particular, for me.

I don’t much care for google because they manipulate search results and give you free stuff with strings attached, but don’t say much about the attached strings.

Getting away from Twitter is hard, if you use it at all – because there is no alternative, at the moment. They got Parler shut down – mostly Amazon did that, and I don’t see any real alternative. So I just quit using it. I tweet out ads, but don’t pay them.

Facebook is another story. If you aren’t sharing pictures of cats, then it’s arguing about politics. Not my kind of place, anymore. And there are a couple alternatives to it, MeWe, and Gab come to mind. But there is nothing wrong with using facebook – I just won’t spend any ad dollars there. I won’t support it. If I see something advertised there, I won’t buy it. Pretty easy stuff. One person alone won’t make a difference, but just like with GME (read about GameStop if you haven’t already), a bunch of ordinary folks working together can make a difference.

So let’s talk about google. From biased search results to invasive spying – if you are getting something for free from there, then you are the product. It didn’t bother me too much until I started noticing what was happening with the Gmail app on my phone. If I clicked a link in an email, the first thing that happened is that Chrome (a google product) opened and sent the URL to google server. THEN Chrome redirected to the link I clicked on.

So Gmail looks at your email and tracks every link in every message, and reports back to google if you click the link. Scary. Not their business. But Gmail is free, right? So you are the product. So rather than the Gmail app, I use something called FairEmail (on my android phone). And I like it MUCH better than Gmail or the built-in mail apps.

Now, the Chrome browser is another story. I don’t know what it tracks, but I am sure that if a little email app tracks everything, that their browser probably tracks even more. So I quit using it. There are many alternatives, but I landed on Brave, and so far, it works just as well as, maybe better than chrome.

And I do still have a Gmail email, but I am moving away from that, as well. After some research, I found protonmail, which was created by some smart guys from CERN, and it is based in Switzerland. An account such that you have <name>@protonmail.com is free, but I support them with a paid subscription and use <name>@<mywebsite.com>

There is so much stuff that we have come to rely on, because google gave it to us for free (sort of) and promised to “don’t be evil”. But I think google IS evil, and I will avoid them as much as I can. The hardest thing to leave is the search engine. Of course, I don’t support it by buying ads, and I won’t click on ad based results – only organic results. But also I now use DuckDuckGo, which is a privacy based search engine, and while it is not as feature laden as google, it works quite well. I find that I only look for something on google maybe once a week now.

There are other options, I used Quant for awhile, but it is not yet feature rich enough for my use. But I really like the Brave browser, the FairEmail app on my phone, and protonmail. And I might still be posting pictures of cats on Facebook, but if you want an actual discussion about anything serious, you can find me on Gab.

This post is entirely my opinion.