First they came for Buzz and no one cared. Then they came for Notebook. Now they’ve come for Reader. What technology will Google take away from you next?
This article explains several Google technologies that might be next on the chopping block and what you can do to avoid getting Scroogled. While Justin covered the replacements for Google Reader, this article gives a roundup of alternatives to popular Google software that could possibly change for the worse in the near future.
Google anticipated that they would eventually eliminate a number of its properties, so they created a backup option called Google Takeout. Takeout permits users to download an archive of data. Chris Hoffman explains in detail how to backup your data on Google.
Originally dubbed “Grandcentral” up until getting bought out by Google, Google Voice offers one of the most revolutionary experiences in the mobile marketplace. It can connect many different phones to a single phone line. It can also allow users to send text messages from a PC. Best of all, if properly configured, it functions as a completely-free Skype alternative.
There’s been a series of rumors that Google Voice doesn’t have much time left as a free service. Consequently, it will behoove its users to know of potential fallback solutions, in a worst-case scenario.
Unfortunately, it takes multiple apps to properly replicate the experience offered by Google Voice – and even then, some of Voice features don’t have an analog amongst other apps.
Many of Voice’s features can be found in a combination of OpenVBX and Twilio. If you have any interest in building your own Voice alternative, Dave did an outstanding guide on the subject. However, keep in mind that OpenVBX requires a great deal of setup.
On the other hand, sending and receiving SMS from your PC only requires an app or plugin. There exist many sites and apps that can text, free of charge. There’s also:
- MightyText: I’ve used this app before and it’s quite good—unfortunately, Android only. Read Simon Slangen’s review and guide, here.
- GroupMe: This app specializes in texting groups of people. Read Jessica Cam Wong’s review and rundown, here.
Before Google Maps came to dominate the navigation app market, a variety of mapping software guided many a user. Most of these continued development, even after Google Maps expanded to its current towering height.
- Bing Maps: Remains one of the best alternatives. MakeUseOf covered its features extensively, particularly five awesome things you can do with its aerial overhead view. In particular, Bing Maps provides a more detailed overhead view, better traffic cam integration and more accurate traffic hazard warnings.
Gmail first opened to the public in 2007, spearheading Google’s first foray outside the domain of search technology. By 2012, it became the most used email provider in the world, gathering over 425 million users.
While it’s highly doubtful that Google would ever shutter Gmail, many of its most useful features could get the axe. First and foremost, Gmail’s ability to make and receive phone calls over WiFi and, second, its ability to send and receive SMS for free.
- VOIP can be replaced by SIP apps, such as Skype or SipGate:
- As mentioned above, SMS can be replaced by a huge number of apps.
Google would never remove its core service, search, but it’s not outside the boundaries of reason to speculate that Mountainview may begin censoring its search results. Another possibility is that they could switch from the current free model to a subscription-based service.
Google Shopping, for example, began charging vendors for the right to list items on its service. Alternatives to Google Shopping include Bing Shopping.
- Shopping: Both Microsoft Shopping and Yahoo Shopping offer reasonably well designed alternatives to Google’s service.
- Video Search: Believe it or not, Bing’s video search function compares favorably with Google’s. Not only does the service produce, in my experience, better results, it’s also faster.
YouTube started out as a video sharing site. After Google acquired it in 2006, it rapidly spread across the globe. Today it is the third most visited site on the Internet. However, its evolution into an ad-choked wasteland of react clips may drive even the most banal of audiences to greener pastures.
Dave covered five sites that could replace YouTube.
A huge number of chat programs easily replace Google Talk. There was a discussion in the Answers section on the subject of which chat program offered the best overall performance - try reading it for a more detailed understanding of the software available. Also, Aaron wrote a great article on how to chat using only your browser.
- Pidgin: My favorite all-in-one chat app. It’s lightweight, open-source, highly customizable and easy to setup.
- Miranda: Another open-source chat client, Miranda offers lightweight, all-in-one chat.
- Trillian: A lot of users really seem to like Trillian for its all-in-one functionality and added social features, such as Facebook and Twitter compatibility.
Sadly, even if Google+ went away, most people would fail to notice. Those that did notice, likely wouldn’t care. Aside from the huge number of alternatives, Google+ is dwarfed by Facebook and even MySpace.
Google Drive/Google Docs
While online storage services exist in multitudes, none have a built-in document, spreadsheet or presentation creator. MakeUseOf covered a variety of excellent cloud storage solutions. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like Google Drive is going away anytime soon. However, even so, it doesn’t hurt having a backup plan:
The services most likely to get canceled or go paid, according to some rumors, are Google Voice, because of its cost, and Google Talk, because it uses a desktop app. However, some of Google’s other services might alter in some unpalatable fashion in the near future. In such an event, having a backup plan in place will prove invaluable.
Image Credit: Blood via MorgueFile.com