7 Ways To Reduce Google Use & Protect Your Privacy

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Protect your privacy with these alternative online tools.

Google is beyond a powerhouse, it’s a tech titan that has transformed itself from a simple search engine into an ever-growing conglomerate that intersects with almost every aspect of daily existence. If you need some convincing check out some mind blowing stats about Google:

With more than $59 billion in annual global revenue and expansion into other products and areas — Boston Dynamics, Nest, Twitch — Google is, well, everywhere. Couple that with Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s and Google’s close relationship and spying accusations it seems to raise concerns for some about how to protect their online privacy and anonymity. In this case, knowing how to wean yourself off all things Google is one way to tackle, but it’s certainly not the easiest decision to make.

If you want to take a break from all things Google and you’re ready to tamper down how you interface with it then perhaps these suggestions can help protect your privacy.

Try DuckDuckGo for search

Use DuckDuckGo to protect your privacy with search. We’ve talked about DuckDuckGo in past Vuze blog posts and it’s as solid now as it was back then, if not better. What makes it a better alternative to Google (for anyone concerned with privacy) is that it doesn’t store or track a user’s session history. Because it doesn’t log what you’re trolling for you’re presented with unfiltered search query. Awesomesauce!

Give Protonmail a whirl

Protect your privacy with ProtonMail.

There’s no arguing about the convenience of web mail. You can check your inbox whenever you’d like and as long as you’ve got a connection you can check from wherever too. But, using Gmail means you might be under surveillance. Keyword being might, but do you want to take that chance? If you can’t set-up a self-hosted account then head on over to Protonmail and read more about its privacy-related benefits.

Take a look at SpiderOak as an alternative cloud storage service

Get SpiderOak to protect your privacy.

Online file-syncing services aren’t as secure as some may think. Aside from the recent reports about Google Drive leaking private data there are also questionable protocols with other online storage services that open up data vulnerabilities. SpiderOak offers cloud-syncing and with built-in encryption. The zero-knowledge set-up prevents SpiderOak from knowing what you’re storing. They can only see the size of storage being used.

Peep out Vimeo and let YouTube have a rest

Try Vimeo to protect your privacy.

The challenge with Vimeo is that its user base is considerably smaller than the 1 billion unique visitors that YouTube commands each month. This means that the quantity of content is a bit more limited because there are fewer videos being published. If that doesn’t deter you then Vimeo is a good alternative to get your video fix on.

For now, the above is a decent starting point to wean yourself from Google. What remains to be seen is how its relationship will continue (or not) with NSA and big government surveillance expeditions.

So, can you give up Google? Have you tried? Let us know in the comments below.

We have no commercial relationships with any of the vendors discussed in this blog, and disclaim responsibility for them and their goods and services.

Photo Credit: g4ll4is via CC

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Sarah Hartshorn is a marketing, public relations and social media professional with Vuze. She blogs about content, torrents, social media and a number of other tech topics. Sarah has been involved with traditional and digital marketing since 1998.