Monday, 1 January 2018

With Google tracking scripts found on three out every four websites, users are not only being tracked for what they search for, but also what actions they do while on a website. This data is stored and shared with Google partners and staff, it can also be subpoenaed by lawyers, including for civil cases like divorce. Google answered over 80,000 such data requests in the first half of 2017 alone!




More and more people are also realizing the risk of relying on one company for storing personal data. There are also security concerns and during the last few months of 2017, we helped a number of business and individuals who had lost their data which was hosted by Google. This was usually due to having their Google account hacked and once hacked they were not able to get back into their Google account, which meant they lost all their data. Years of photos, contacts, calendars and email data all gone. Some also lost thousands of dollars as a result of having their Google account hacked. 

A new year is a great time to begin a proactive approach to improve your security and take back your privacy.

Here's to a Google-free 2018!

It is possible to remove or limit your reliance on Google by changing a few habits. This will protect your data and ensure you own it, without it being shared with third parties.

Here are a few recommendations for cutting Google out of life this year....

Google Search Alternative

Google search is great, but Google is not a search company, they are an advertising company. There is also options other than Bing or Yahoo called DuckDuckGo that doesn't track you. These tracking scripts are silently loaded to your device each time you search, usually by way of a cookie. If you were to try opening a private window in your browser and do a Google search, take a look at how much faster it it.

I recently tested some Google trackers, I used an old phone to search for some hotels and clicked on Google ads. The result was the browser crashed with too many tracking scripts loading. When I tried again in a private or incognito mode window, it worked fine.

The lead me to create a start page that is free from Google trackers, analytics, ads and other scripts. The result was a search that load twice as fast as Google's:

start.thexyz.com (view pingdom result)

Performance grade: 96 
Load time: 394 ms 
Requests: 12
Page size: 105.4 kB
Faster than 98 % of tested sites 

google.com (view pingdom result)

Performance grade: 88
Load time: 830 ms 
Requests: 23
Page size: 1.1 MB
Faster than 92 % of tested sites 
If you still wish to use Google search you can by removing tracking scripts and using the incognito mode of your browser. Loading the Thexyz Start Page on Google will also allow you to search Google but will load the page twice as fast, free of initial trackers.

Gmail, Contacts and Calendar Alternative

Hosting your email on an independent, paid service that also includes calendar and contacts support across all device from Thexyz, will allow you to store your important email data secure and private. Your email account is a key to unlock your other online accounts, it is essential to keep your email account as secure as possible, 

YouTube Alternative

There is some great content on YouTube so it is hard to avoid using it sometime. You can  however search for and watch them on DuckDuckGo for better privacy protection via YouTube's "youtube-nocookie" domain. If you're creating and hosting video yourself, however, Vimeo is the best-known alternative which focuses on creators.

Google Drive Alternative

There are some great options for a Google Drive alternative. Last year we launched Cloud Drive for Thexyz Webmail which adds 30GB of secure cloud storage to your Webmail account. There is also ownCloud which is open source software that can be hosted anywhere and you can control your own security settings.

Google Chrome Alternative

A common point of entry for a hacked device is the use of Google Chrome. It is not because Google Chrome is insecure, it is a secure browser if properly configured. The problem is that is not usually configured to be secure and private. There are many developer apps that can obtain over bearing permissions. Both Firefox and Brave have built in tracker blockers.

Google Maps Alternative

OpenStreetMap is a good alternative for Google Maps. iOS also have a built map app that is independent from Google Maps.

Google Analytics Alternative

Piwik is Open Web Analytics are both open source web analytics software that you can use to track and analyze how people use your websites and applications.


As you can see, moving away from Google isn't difficult, you may also find you prefer the alternatives while also getting better privacy!

For more privacy advice, follow us on Twitter & get our privacy tips newsletter.

Trending Posts

Blog Archive

Subscribe by email

Enter your email address:

Subscribe to more feeds

Tags

News (73) Web Hosting (50) Email (27) security (23) webmail (18) Advertising (17) Tutorials (16) Thexyz Cloud (14) Video (5) resellers (2)