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Uku Täht
Uku Täht

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Replacing Google products with more ethical alternatives

It has become clear how much data is collected on regular people around the world by large corporations and governments. The biggest offenders in this space are government agencies like the NSA and GCHQ, along with large internet companies like Facebook and Google.

I’m not a big Facebook user, but I’ve used Google products daily for more than a decade. Their products are reliable, intuitive, and free to use.

Instead of collecting cash, Google collects data about your identity, behaviour, habits, and preferences. This data is aggregated and analysed on a global scale, sold to advertisers and shared it with intelligence services. The more data Google accumulates, the more powerful they become.

A few years ago I started removing Google products from my life because I don’t want to feed this corporate surveillance machine. There are many great alternatives out there by smaller players. The alternatives are more likely to be paid, but we need to start paying for software if we don’t want to pay with our privacy.

Here’s a list of great replacements that I’ve found in my own use so far:

Google Chrome -> Mozilla Firefox

In my mind, Firefox is the best alternative to Chrome. I love supporting open-source software and Mozilla is doing a great job with both Firefox and Rust.

Google Search -> DuckDuckGo

I started using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine last year. I like their activism for online privacy and the movement they’ve created. The search results are a bit slower and not quite as relevant as Google’s, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay for privacy.

Google Hangouts -> Slack calls

I’ve been forced to use Hangouts in the past, but I’ve always preferred Slack calls and I’m eagerly waiting for Tuple to launch so I can get my hands on it as well. It’s a video calling tool built specifically for pair programming. Seems awesome :)

Google Docs -> Notion

I like Notion as a replacement for Google Docs. Notion is markdown-based and seems to fit my brain a lot better than Google Docs. It has way better navigation so it makes a good internal knowledge base where people can actually find stuff.

Google Analytics -> Plausible

When I looked for alternatives for Google Analytics, I didn’t find any that I really liked. Being interested in web analytics, I decided to build my own solution, Plausible. It provides simple, privacy-focused analytics without collecting website visitors’ personal data. I’ve switched all my current projects over from Google Analytics to Plausible.

Google Maps -> Citymapper

I haven’t replaced my Google Maps usage completely yet. For public transport routes, I do use an alternative called Citymapper. However, it’s only available in some cities and it doesn’t replace business discovery. Whenever I’m looking for a restaurant in a new city, I still look for ‘restaurants’ on Google Maps. What’s a good alternative for that?

What I couldn’t replace

The two services I haven’t managed to replace yet are Gmail and Youtube.

I’m sure there are amazing email clients out there that outperform Gmail in every way, so please do shoot recommendations my way.

As for Youtube, I spend a lot of time there watching tutorials, recipes, news, etc. It’s a fantastic knowledge sharing tool that will be very hard to replace. Vimeo has the technology, but they definitely don’t have the community and the content.


I’ve slowly been replacing my tools and habits over the last couple of years. Overall, I feel like this process has been a great success. I’m much less reliant on Google in my everyday life and feel much more in control of my data. I still have some distance to go with Gmail and Google Maps, but I will continue to look for replacements so I can be completely Google-free.

Looking for alternatives has led me to find amazing indie makers and teams building awesome software. Smaller companies tend to be a lot more fun and innovative, so using their products is often a better experience. I hope you check out some of these alternatives and make the switch as well.

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