This Is Why You Should Stop Using Google Search
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Google is a byword for search. Indeed, “to Google” is a recognized verb, boasting the kind of global brand awareness that startups can only dream about. But Google isn’t just powering your insomnia-driven searches for obscure song lyrics at 3 AM.

No.

It’s in your smartphone, your car, your smartwatch, and maybe even powering your internet search from a mobile Wi-Fi balloon floating in the skies.

Does Google have too much power? As of January 2017, Google was powering over 63 percent of U.S. searches, giving it unrivaled access to our browsing habits, and more. Furthermore, Google tracks your every search to build an individual advertising profile. The search giant knows more about your browsing habits How Much Does Google Really Know About You? How Much Does Google Really Know About You? Read More than you could hope to imagine.

u.s. search percentage adults january 2017
Image Credit: Statista

It’s time for a change. I’m going to explore why giving everything to Google isn’t such a good idea, and list some excellent alternatives that still get the job done.

Privacy

Google is everywhere. It gathers information to power its massive advertising arm. Google is tracking you around the internet, building an individual advertising profile to better serve you ads. Some users don’t mind, reasoning that if they’re going to see ads (advertising essentially powers the internet), they might as well see ones relevant to their interests.

It isn’t only search data collected, though. Google elaborate on their data collection points here, but here are some you should be immediately aware of:

  • Emails sent and received through Gmail.
  • Your contacts and calendar events.
  • Photos added and uploaded.
  • Your Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides stored on Drive.
  • Videos you watch.

And that is just through your browser. If you have an Android smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch, you’ll likely be relaying your location, information about local SSIDs, and more as you move around your city.

Google has come under fire for its “invasive” business practices on more than one occasion, appearing in court in the U.K., U.S., France, the Netherlands, Spain, and several other countries. Their charges usually fall under a similar bracket: violation of privacy laws.

Take Your Privacy Back

How do you take some privacy back? Despite finding Google ingrained in so many services, it isn’t too difficult to take the power back.

Change your browser. There are several excellent Chrome alternatives specializing in eliminating trackers (not just the Google trackers). We’ve covered several of the best 4 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private 4 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private A good way to protect your information on the web is to surf anonymously. Google Chrome’s Incognito mode can help to an extent, but you should also look at the following web browsers. Read More , so take your pick.

Don’t use Google search. Most of the time, we hit Ctrl + T for a new tab and type the search into the omnibox. Easy. However, you need an alternative. DuckDuckGo is “the search engine that doesn’t track you,” promising not to store personal information, display ads, or follow you around the internet. It does some cool things that Google search doesn’t 8 Search Tricks That Work on DuckDuckGo but Not on Google 8 Search Tricks That Work on DuckDuckGo but Not on Google Google Search is king. But DuckDuckGo has earned a loyal fan following. It has a few unusual features that even Google doesn't have. Read More , too.

Stop using Gmail. Your incoming and outgoing emails contain useful data that Google is happy to hoover up. Try one of these secure and encrypted alternatives The 3 Most Secure & Encrypted Email Providers Online The 3 Most Secure & Encrypted Email Providers Online Fed up with government surveillance? Concerned your emails might be read by third parties? If so, it's worth looking at an encrypted email solution to protect your messages. Read More instead.

Sign out. Your Google account is a core tracking tool. It links searches across the myriad Google services to your name (or whatever you signed up with). You’ll start to see a change in the adverts displayed to you.

Get Technical

Google is great for your everyday search queries. The Google engineers are constantly refining the search algorithm to better match our organic search requests. But sometimes, Google just doesn’t have the answer. In those times, you need an alternative.

Wolfram Alpha is the answer. Unlike Google, it doesn’t always go trawling the web for new information. Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine, focused on creating new information (as well as answering all the banalities we still manage to think of). Unsure if it’s right for you? We’ve explored 20 ways that your everyday life is easier when you use Wolfram Alpha 20 Ways Everyday Life is Easier with Wolfram Alpha 20 Ways Everyday Life is Easier with Wolfram Alpha There is something about Wolfram Alpha. It makes complicated computations cool again. Here are 20 ways to put the engine to everyday use. Read More .

wolfram alpha with tools

Wolfram Alpha isn’t the only Google alternative with a technical or specific focus. For instance, CC Search scans through Creative Commons-licensed media. Pipl is a powerful (and somewhat terrifying) people search engine. It tracks down user names, real names, social media accounts and more. Onion.link lets you search the dark web from your regular browser instead of having to install the privacy-focused Tor browser.

Search Can Be Rewarding

Okay, this is tenuous. It also goes against the privacy issues I’ve detailed (e.g. signing into another service to track your search).

But if you sign into your Microsoft account, sign up with Microsoft Rewards, and use Bing as your search tool of choice Can Bing Surpass Google Search Through Windows 10 Integration? Can Bing Surpass Google Search Through Windows 10 Integration? Google eats Bing for breakfast. But Bing and Microsoft are a Phoenix in full-rebirth mode. As Google faces antitrust allegations and Cortana meets the Windows 10 Taskbar, Microsoft may soon turn the tables. Read More , you’ll earn rewards. The rewards come as points that can be redeemed on games or apps in the Windows Store or directly within the Microsoft Store.

Note that only U.S. residents are eligible for Microsoft Rewards.

It’s All About Trust

Trust and privacy are the biggest reasons to leave Google and its search algorithm behind. There is no beating about the bush. The sheer number of searches conducted every single day by Google is astonishing. They hold tens of exabytes of data on every subject matter you’d care to think of. And your personal data, your personal searches, your obscure, seemingly trivial or highly embarrassing searches, are in there too.

We are relying on a multinational corporation with a proven history of privacy violations… to protect our privacy.

Is it time to leave Google search behind Which Search Engine Should You Be Using Today? Which Search Engine Should You Be Using Today? There are many search engines out there, but which one is the best for you? Read More ? I think the real question to ask yourself is, “Can you live without Google services?” Including YouTube, Docs, Sheets, Maps, your Android powered smartphone Here's How You Can Use Android But Ditch Google Here's How You Can Use Android But Ditch Google Want to use your Android smartphone or tablet without Google? Want to use open source software? Here we take an in-depth look at exactly how to do that. Read More , and so on. It’s a lot to let go.

Do you trust Google to follow their own (albeit now defunct) “Don’t be evil” company motto? Have you already eradicated Google from your life? What alternatives do you use in your daily internet use? Should Google do more to inform its users as to how their data is used?

Image Credit: Gearstd via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Doc
    June 7, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    ...yet in the same email, there's a link to an article "You Should Be Using Google Home." Contradictory much?

  2. Glenn
    June 7, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    So Gavin, did you notice in the chart you posted in the beginning of this post that in the last 9 years that google has increased by 6% but microsoft has increased by over 110%???

    • Doc
      June 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      An increase of 110% on 2% is still paltry. Bing Search sucks.

      • Glenn
        June 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm

        I agree! I was trying to show Gavin that growth does not equate fear.

  3. Søren
    June 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Soooo... Why is it again that we should stop using google?

  4. Kevin Campbell
    June 7, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Is this written by an Apple user? Hard to survive in the Android word without Google.

    • Spyjoshx
      October 11, 2017 at 11:28 am

      It's perfectly possible! If your device is eligible for a ROM like lineageos, other NO ties with Google whatsoever !

  5. Ron
    June 6, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Google should offer a way to disconnect anyone from it's sucking data pipe, on request. There might be times someone's is ill, ending a relationship, involved in delicate research, or simply feels no one should be tracking them at all right now. Maybe you've the right to disconnect from Google for a week or month. Then the tracking begins automatically. Better than nothing.

  6. Mabel Amber
    June 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Well, this is the first thing I see when I open the MUO mail in my (Gmail) inbox:

    Header for article 1:

    " This Is Why You Should Stop Using Google Search
    INTERNET
    This Is Why You Should Stop Using Google Search
    Read the full article "

    Header for article 2, immediately below:

    "You Should Be Using the Google Home App and Here's Why
    SMART HOME
    You Should Be Using the Google Home App and Here's Why
    Read the full article"

    Great consistency.

    • Edward
      June 6, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      I concur.

    • John
      June 6, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Second that motion! Very same thought here!

    • Lisa R
      June 6, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      That's exactly what I came here to say. Add in, "We are relying on a multinational corporation with a proven history of privacy violations… to protect our privacy."

      But use Microsoft because..why? I want disclosure from this writer as to why he prefers Microsoft's Bing.

      His biggest argument seems to be here:
      "They hold tens of exabytes of data on every subject matter you’d care to think of. And your personal data, your personal searches, your obscure, seemingly trivial or highly embarrassing searches, are in there too."

      Well, that's ANY search engine! YES, there is a lot of data out there. That's how search works!

      • Mabel Amber
        June 7, 2017 at 12:14 am

        To whom and to what are you replying?

        Judging from your post you are not replying to my post, but instead to "Ron"'s comment, above mine.

        • Lisa T
          June 7, 2017 at 3:45 am

          No, yours. I agree with you, and agree that this article is poorly thought out.

    • Kevin Campbell
      June 7, 2017 at 1:12 am

      I'll 500th that notion. Think before you publish, MUD.

  7. Jaime Da Silva
    June 5, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Their motto now is, "How evil can you be?"

    • Seba
      June 6, 2017 at 6:32 am

      wow

  8. Mark P
    June 3, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    This is a really sh*t, uninformed, wanna-be hit piece by someone who knows just enough to be dangerous.

    I have worked in digital strategy and advertising for my entire adult life. I buy advertising based on the data that Google and everyone else is gathering. Like millions of dollars a year. And I can tell you first hand that the tracking data is garbage, and frankly, at least for the foreseeable future, not something you should really be worried about, with one caveat. Advertisers are not the enemy, government and political agents are. ie. cambridge analytica. That is how you use this data to do harm.. We see literally thousands of advertisements a day. Does it *really* matter if my search history led to me seeing a different banner today?

    And get real - you're not so effing important that GOOGLE'S IS READING YOUR EMAILS???? It's called f**king software. Its an algorithm. Stop parroting the alarm.

    Understand - nearly every website you go to, has dozens of trackers installed. It doesn't matter whether you're tracked via search, by the page you go to, by the app on your smartphone, by Facebook, your debit and credit cards, or any of the rest. Right now - you've got literally hundreds of different trackers that are cataloging your every move that they're aware of.

    Many of these trackers talk to each other, some through the 'audience grid' from Quantcast.

    And the reality is - very few companies can do ANYTHING with the data - there is simply too much of it. Quant cast said they are processing like 16 petabytes a day or something ridiculous. They see the average US adult something like 600 times a month. You really think changing your search engine is going to do a GD thing??

    Yes - Google's core product is advertising.

    But their advertising hinges completely around one fundamental truth. When you have a problem, or a question, or a need - and you need the correct answer fast - you go to Google.

    I guarantee if you need to look up how to give CPR or do a Heimlich, you're running late and you need directions to an interview, or you need a plumber right now because its 3am and you've got an exploded pipe, or a backed up drain....... You're not going to go to wolfram alpha or freaking Bing. You're gonna go to Google.

    • Edward
      June 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      I could not have written it better. Thank you.

    • Robyn Hahn
      June 7, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Incredibly well put. Another thought: why raise an alarm about a free product (google search) collecting data, when Microsoft's OS (a pay-for product) does the same? Inconsistent much? You can't run Bing in anything but Windows, IIUC, so the author is advocating changing collecting agencies, not ensuring privacy.

  9. Philip Bates
    May 31, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Admittedly, I do use Chrome, so naturally Google Search, but I nonetheless agree that Google knows far too much about us all. That's partly why I don't put too much through Gmail/calendar/all that jazz. I should probably give DuckDuckGo a try though. For now, and I'm sure this is the same for much of the population, I'm programmed to automatically go to Google.

  10. Anthony
    May 31, 2017 at 12:17 am

    I gave Bing a chance because of the rewards. That was a year ago. I learned 2 important lessons over those 12 months: Bing's rewards are terrible, but Bing search results are worse. I am glad to be back to Google search. But I agree with the premise of this article: with so much data running through Google tools, individual privacy is at risk. Time to find a new browser and/or a new search engine.

  11. Jojo
    May 30, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    You do realize that Microsoft (Bing) is all about data mining as well right? They're no different than Google. Windows 10 iteself is a glorified version of the Chrome desktop aimed at gathering as much information as possible with a small amount of anonymity. When suggesting a new search alternative to Google, Duckduckgo.com is the best alternative for those who would rather not be a demographic.

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 30, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      ....which is what I suggested.

      • Adam Smith :-)
        June 6, 2017 at 9:19 am

        Mhmmm... Where exactly did you suggested that?
        For real I can't see alternative for Google. If you are smart enough you can use Google without giving them too much data about yourself. Just use incognito mode in chrome, change applications permissions at your phone, etc. Use it smart. Of course you can't hide all informations about yourself but you don't need to login as Adam Smith, use nickname, turn off GPS if it's not necessary.
        I prefer to use Google than anything else to store my private data, because it's much more difficult to hack Google servers than anything else probably in the world. So don't throw away Google at all.

  12. Ron Spike
    May 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Everybody who uses the Facebook-app agrees that his/her entire phone book is uploaded to Facebook. This means that even if you're not using Google, not using WhatsApp and don't have a Facebook-account, your name, phone number, birthday and likely your address is already in Facebook's databases as soon as one of your colleagues uses that app - and this WITHOUT even asking you if you agree with Facebook having your data - thank your friends for uploading your data without asking you first. If there are more than two or three of your friends who use the Facebook-app, Facebook is already able to profile you pretty good according to your friends, their friends and all their preferences - without asking you for any agreement for this profiling. Comparing to that, I prefer Google's style of data-collecting since they show you very transparent that and what data they are collecting - and you still can opt out (or even have to opt in in first place) from everything. The true "privacy-enemy" are Facebook and similar, not Google...

  13. Cemery50
    May 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Privacy and the rights conveyed by the expectations of privacy concern more than just one's self.
    The data and conclusions drawn from it involve public officials, your progeny and loved ones.
    Though officially divorced from named individuals through ai and big data sources identity is not too difficult and the results of ai conclusions can impact credit, jobs, insurance, and political targeting.
    These are of great consequence and individuals need a method to identify and contest such conclusions.

    • Sp00key Biiiyatch
      June 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      "Political targeting" is the biggie. Because if their enslavement-apparatus is actually used for this nefarious end, how can any potential revolution be organised when no-one has privacy any more? Never going to happen? Think about it: why wouldn't 'they' enslave us, if they can stop you revolting, through knowing your every move before you do, due to years of spying on you? Unprecedented in human history, is this level of power. Think!
      Naive fools love to call out 'paranoid' people for being all "tinfoil hat" but it's their fault, and ignorance, not the tinfoil hat brigade's.

  14. Ron Spike
    May 30, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Most people are too usual, too boring as to be of any interest. No one at Google cares what TV-Show average-Joe watches or what mails you write. If you'd stop considering your life or existence "important", you can enjoy everything Google provides for free. The world will be exactly the same 50 years after you have died, nobody's is really important , so stop complaining about someone watching you - nobody gives a sh... about your "secrets"

    • Carlos
      May 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      I'm so agree. If you are in the average of people in the world, nobody at Google cares about your private things. If you are a president, major or you have some important position in your community, then I can understand your concerns. However, most of us are in the average.

      • Gavin Phillips
        May 31, 2017 at 12:01 am

        I'll have you know I'm extremely, extremely interesting, of national significance, even.

        I joke.

        You're both right in one sense. Yes, we're all boring nobodies. *if* Google become superevilmegahorrorcorp, we'll all be in the firing line.

    • Sp00key Biiiyatch
      June 3, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      Er, you give a sh* about your secrets, that's the point. Human behaviour changes if one KNOWS one is being watched. Hiding one's true self is the result. Cognitive dissonance is the result of doing that to any highly-effective level.
      Adding an extra layer of two-facedness to life is a step backwards, not forwards, IMHO. Speaking from experience of what it is like to be watched constantly (in a given context, community etc, pre-internet) and the damage done to one's humanity is SEVERE. Or some derivation of 'severe'. This is the thing: depending on how conformist one is [born to be]. Hence why scared, overly-conformist people who think this makes them safe, think that no harm can be done by being watched all the time. They value conformity and don't realise that taking that too far makes humans into robots and creates fascism etc.
      Of course, human nature is pathetic and if everyone else is doing it, and the harm isn't OBVIOUS - that naturally makes it OK... we all can read history to see where that weak, ignorant mentality leads.

    • Sp00key Biiiyatch
      June 3, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Dude, it's not the narcissistic or individualistic "they're watching me, I must maintain control" logic at the heart of this (although that logic is the collective logic of the spies, face it - they can never resist using a tool, even when it's illegal and they become the bad guys that their existence is justified by, ironically).
      "The world will be exactly the same 50 years after you have died"
      Not if unprecedented centralisation of power via spying technology grants unprecedented control to a minority... oh hold on, same sh1t, different technology level, got you...
      Except that in the past, there was usually much more chance of opting-out and escaping. Today, not so much.

  15. Jay
    May 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I think we all can agree that we give up information about ourself the minute you interact with the world. Now the question is what is that information being used for and are those using it being transparent about it? I feel Google is the most transparent and even gives me the controls necessary to manage what the information that gathered on me.

    It is also amazing how this article was surfaced via my Google Now because Google knew I was interested in this kind of stuff. If Google was evil, they would never surface this type of article that has a opposite position to Google. Also that Ad shown at the bottom of this article was probably targeted based on Google data which ultimately helps you as the author monetize the traffic you are getting.

    Google does it the right way IMO but always open to hearing other critques!

    • Sp00key Biiiyatch
      June 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      Your logic is flawed: "Google allow x, so Google can't be evil as they'd not allow x if they were (whilst allowing y, z etc).
      Your definition of 'evil' is likely flawed.
      Google are the knowledge-harvesting apparatus (amongst, yes, other things that they offer to various people).
      The point is that once the apparatus is in place, it creates opportunity to abuse it, on an unprecedented scale. That's not even up to Google, if you think about it. But why do Google force certain things to be done online, or force people to give up certain information, rather than give the option? That is the devil hidden in the detail, I think.
      Then there's the effect of privacy-removal on human psychology, as a general background issue.

  16. Bp
    May 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    this kind of article is funny. its a trade your privacy for convenient life world now. if you really care of privacy, you have already exposed your ip address to this website, your name to your reader, your billing address to your isp, your personal informtion to your credit card company. google just know as much as they know and more. and if i have to trade my privacy anyway, whynot choose one big company which protect your privacy data better and give you better service? instead of chose some small company and trust they not save your info....forever?

    and please gimme a list of better service for:
    search
    email
    photo
    cloud storage
    calendar
    and no privacy issue

  17. Jason
    May 30, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Your lack of understanding on how this works is kind of worrying.

    Not using their search does nothing. The data is there's. Bing doesn't search Bing only servers, Yahoo doesn't list Yahoo only data. As a matter of fact they don't hold squat for data.

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 30, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Who doesn't hold squat for data? Google? I'm pretty sure they hold a significant amount of data, exabytes even. And I've not contended that Bing uses Bing and so on. I understand how search works.

      • Jason
        June 1, 2017 at 2:45 am

        As far as search engines go, Googles servers host 40% of the internet.
        even amazon is only 40k servers to googles over 1Million

        Supposedly Microsoft also has 1M, but when you look at the counts and percentages it doesn't add up so u put them at most at 600k.

        So yahoo holds 100k which as i said. is SQUAT.
        who else do you use to search with? the only other contender is Bing which is in second place as far as search engines who host data... so using bing is the same as using google. except whose servers have been hacked and whose haven't... oh yeah Microsoft has been hacked and google cloud still has yet to be hacked. Their gmail on the other hand.. well tough luck on that one because that gets hacked as much as microsoft and yahoo so you're on even ground there.

        so unless Microsoft holds 41% and nobody else exists... they hold the largest chunk of the data that you are refusing to use their search engine to search. You not using their search, doesn't make your security or privacy any better.

        and really, the data is out there and accessible by google to begin with.

        as far as email and browsers go.. yeah use a vpn, use a browser that doesnt track your stuff, thats fine. But none of the "secure" email services do well with mail@yourowndomain so your options are use gsuite or microsoft or leave your email on the most insecure place possible, the same server your website is on? no thanks. ill stick with the company that is big enough to keep blowing money on security as i am more worried about other people getting my information than i am of facebook sending me ads based on things ive spoken out loud near my phone or searched for.

        but on search... using or not using google .. really? if you are browsing through a vpn and in an incognito style browser. what is the difference?

        also are you bill gates? wtf important information are you worried about sharing? that youre 35 and live at home with your mom? that you like reeses?

      • Jason
        June 1, 2017 at 2:45 am

        everyone other than google doesnt hold squat.

  18. aj
    May 30, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Bring on Sailfish OS

  19. Tom
    May 30, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Apple do the same, Microsoft too... Google just talks about it. That's why most of the people thinks that Apple is saint. They store your photos, imessages, localisation, notes, siri's questions. Exactly the same what google does. But Google Has Better servers and much Better security. Icloud sucks, It was hacked 2 times?3? Google cloud never.

  20. Nick
    May 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I don't think anyone actually gives a crap, how much times are we gonna have articles about Google and recycling the same shit?
    The thing is not using Google search doesn't mean your privacy is take back, it just means now you have given it to some other search engine. Really, even if you don't use a search engine you still don't have any privacy. Cameras are everywhere and you buy things in stores, online etc your info is in apps, the government owns you... Everyone owns you to some degree. So you and everyone trying to make Google out as the sore evil above everyone else isn't factual.

    • Jack Smith
      May 30, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Exactly. If it is not just about a hit piece then talk about the issue generically. Calling out Google is ricdiculous. Personally i trust Google more to protect the data than anyone else.

      • Nick
        May 31, 2017 at 1:27 am

        Absolutely, when you actually look into it Google is the most transparent with our data verses other companies. Other companies uses your data just like Google to know how to better sell you products. With Google at least along with being able to personalize you for relevant ads, they also use the data in ways to make our lives less tedious and even more important they give alot of their services away for free as a result. So yeah I do believe they are sticking by their a motor of " don't be evil". Others are less transparent and they use or data, give us nothing for free and then turn around and sell us things base on our own data. SO with everything considered, Google is perhaps the better one to trust.

  21. Anne
    May 30, 2017 at 3:25 am

    This is an article of someone that is obviously non educated enough about privacy at Google and how it works
    I encourage you to read more about privacy and also I encourage you to read more about privacy in any other company (Google's competition) and educatie yourself for better judgement.

    • Lorinda L
      May 30, 2017 at 4:06 am

      Anne,
      Do you work for Google? LOL. People who think they know everything annoy the hell out of those who actually do.

      • Jack Smith
        May 30, 2017 at 11:54 pm

        Actually Annie has a clue well beyond this author.

    • James
      May 30, 2017 at 4:40 am

      Agreed. This whole article sounds like unintelligent technophobia.

      • Gavin Phillips
        May 30, 2017 at 4:59 am

        Sorry we're not all on your level, James.

        Care to elaborate?

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 30, 2017 at 4:58 am

      Any specifics I should check out?

      I've read quite a lot about privacy, thank you. There are well documented and serious issues regarding privacy at Google. They're great compared to some other companies who have suffered serious data breaches -- Yahoo, LinkedIn, the list is really endless -- and I do have faith that our data is safe from that mode of attack. Unless an internal employee goes rogue, our search data will remain safe from external threat.

      However, my issue is with the huge amount of data hoovered up.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Anne.

      • Lou
        May 30, 2017 at 3:52 pm

        Galvin: Agreed, serious issues. But, MUO readers are likely to have read the numerous articles stating, and restating, and restating, and restating, all the potential issues, problems, risks and benefits when we chose to search using Google.
        We got it! We know the dangers, and the benefits. We've already made an informed decision. Absent new information, most minds will not be changed thanks to yet another repeat of the same-old, same-old.

        • Gavin Phillips
          May 31, 2017 at 8:10 pm

          Hey Lou,

          I'm realising this now. I could have been a lot more specific with this article, rather than presenting arguments many readers have likely read before. I will try and present more detailed analysis in the future.

          Cheers

  22. Hildy J
    May 30, 2017 at 3:05 am

    For general searches Google is better than Microsoft or DuckDuckGo (and I've tried them both). Giving your online life over to Google makes things convenient, especially with a Google phone which gets all the feature (and security) updates as they come out.

    I'm much more concerned about what the government knows about me and how secure that is. And I speak as a retired government employee who got a free subscription to a credit monitoring service because my agency was hacked.

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 30, 2017 at 5:02 am

      Hey Hildy,

      I wasn't claiming that DDG is better at search than Google. I'd agree with you: it isn't. It does have some cool features that Google doesn't, and it doesn't follow you around the web trying to gather advertising information.

      Why are you more concerned about the government knowing about you, than Google? I'm just curious. I assume the UK government (where I live) knows about the same, or at the very least, could easily build a picture very quickly if needs be. PRISM is still a thing.

  23. Thomas Fraser
    May 30, 2017 at 2:40 am

    This article was considered relevant to me by Goole, on my android phone, does me reading it constitute a paradox? I am a fan of my google devices, and although I completely understand the issues people have with the invasiveness of it all, I believe the train has already left the station on this issue, you'd have an easier time getting rid of sliced bread.

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 30, 2017 at 5:12 am

      Hey Thomas,

      See, your phone knows *waves hands mysteriously/nods conspiratorially*

      But, yes, I think you're right. We've all been using the entire range of Google services for a long time now. And I do like sliced bread.

  24. Casper
    May 30, 2017 at 2:31 am

    If you told me I could instantly teleport anywhere I wanted to go and all I had to do was tell the teleporter operator something personal about myself, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I'm unsure why anyone wouldn't.

    And I pity anyone who has to keep up with 20 different accounts to use 20 different "almost as good" services that have virtually no integration with each other, when they could be using one account for better versions of all of those services.

    • Sam
      May 30, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Would it be different if it wasn't just some personal information, but your entire body's molecular structure? (i.e. They now have a backup of you)

  25. TEMPLE PATE
    May 30, 2017 at 2:29 am

    I am a Network technician and server administrator, so knowing full well what Google gets from me I still see no reason for any of the arguments above. I willingly give Google this information as it'll end up making a better internet designed for my likes and dislikes. Is that not what we want?

  26. iQuack
    May 30, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Typical click bait header.

    Stopped reading at the point where it recommended switching from Google search to ? ? go.

    • Gavin
      May 30, 2017 at 4:17 am

      We have different definitions of click bait then, I'm afraid.

  27. makapav
    May 30, 2017 at 1:09 am

    This looks like an article written to just drive people from using Google services for the sake of not using them and asking people to forego the high quality of service experience from an ecosystem that can leverage big data and AI to give you useful information that would otherwise not be possible for the common man at the relative cost of 'free'.

    • Murteza
      May 30, 2017 at 7:04 am

      This article is for letting people be more aware of the data about themselves they are giving out with or without knowing. What does quality service for you, integration, privacy friendliness, advanced Search and advertisement algorithms etc?
      You may like the integration of Google services, I love integration too. Even though I don't like this privacy problem with Google, I use Google services. I am just extra careful about what I am giving.

      • makapav
        May 30, 2017 at 5:34 pm

        This article does nothing about educating people about the information they are giving to Google!

        If that was truly the case and intent, they would have guided a user through the various locations on Google properties where you can turn off personalization for advertisement.

        They would have also laid out the facts about what and how does Google 'track the user': a completely anonymized id (after 9 months internally) that is externally, only displayed as a part of a demographic to advertisers.

        • Gavin Phillips
          May 31, 2017 at 8:09 pm

          Thanks, Makapav,

          That is true. I've done a lot of talking about Google, without explaining how to turn things off, how to delete your history, and so on.

  28. Dudert
    May 30, 2017 at 12:59 am

    This article is nothing but an Apple fanboy rant.

    I use Android knowing the integrated services may provide targeted ads bc I trust them more than I trust any other corporation.

    I avoid apple at all costs because apple has historically crushed competition through the use of INVALID patents which kills consumer choice.

    Apple getting the HTC One X and Evo import banned are perfect examples of this and HTC still has not recovered.

    Who is the REAL evil here?

    • Murteza
      May 30, 2017 at 7:13 am

      This article is about privacy of user data, not company evilness. I use Android both on my phone and on my laptop, I like the customisability aspect of it. But I know what I am missing when I chose one over the other.
      By the way, I disabled Chrome, Gmail, Google and many more apps from Google on my Android phone. Not because I like iPhone, but because I care about my privacy.
      This article has nothing to do with being some company Fanboy.

    • Gavin Phillips
      May 31, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Nothing to do with Apple. I've only owned a few Apple products, ever. Anyway, that's besides the point.

      It is about user privacy, data collection, and advertising.

  29. Red Pill
    May 29, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Matrix is just started but I will take the red pill. Just I am supporting open source os first and keep away all of google's services. Governments, communities and universities must get together and support open source systems to save the future.
    Of course everbody is not Morpheus neither Neo.

  30. Jason
    May 29, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Let's just be clear.. Google is not tracking "you", they're tracking a completely anonymized id that is consistent, and this has absolutely zero influence over your "privacy". Privacy does matter and if Google were responsible for ACTUALLY breaching your privacy or anyone else's there'd be hell to pay, but the reality is they are probably more careful than anyone to protect their users. Your activity is tracked by every single site on the internet, not just by Google. Do you really trust the alternatives more?

    • Patrick
      May 30, 2017 at 3:17 am

      Let's not forget that the article states that Google is unrivaled in search, yet they only have two thirds of the market.

      • Gavin
        May 30, 2017 at 4:15 am

        Yes, unrivalled in that no one comes close to Google. When was the last time you suggested someone complete a quick Yahoo search?

        I think you're splitting hairs.

    • Gavin
      May 30, 2017 at 4:13 am

      "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines—including Google—do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities." Eric Schmidt.

      Also, you're telling me that Google didn't drop its ban on DoubleClick using personally identifiable information?

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Tuz Bkk
        May 31, 2017 at 4:08 am

        Great quote, but the quote wasn't cited.

        The sinppet of the interview is here:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BreJfzpbwm0

        It is difficult for the average person to understand the dangers of data collection.
        The danger is in the macro view, rather than the micro view.
        A person's individual information is of little use to google.
        Google views the information of large groups of people to determine how people will react as a whole.

        This view drives what words are used to advertise, where advertisements are placed . . .

        Google is the most effective advertising company by total profits.

        What people don't understand, their purchases are driven by google advertising.

        A book which covers some of these topics is:
        Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
        By Seth Davidowitz
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11862454

        • Gavin Phillips
          May 31, 2017 at 8:06 pm

          Hey Tuz,

          Thanks for citing my quote. It explains several things. Schmidt doesn't beat about the bush.

          You've explained part of the problem with mass data collection nicely. As other comments have pointed out, Google are at least open (afawk) with what they do with their data, as opposed to other data hoovering giants, like Facebook. The issue is trust, and you who lend it to.

          I've pre-ordered that book, thanks for the tip!

        • makapav
          May 31, 2017 at 8:57 pm

          Schmidt also mouths a lot of crap like a senile old chap - something all CEOs do regularly. Keep stuff in context.

  31. Rick
    May 29, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    “Can you live without Google services? Including YouTube, Docs, Sheets, Maps, your Android powered smartphone, and so on. It’s a lot to let go."

    The answer for me is a resoundingly definitive NO! And I don't want to. I am deeply hooked into the Google ecosystem from Chrome OS and Android to Chromecast and a huge collection of their services. And I must admit I thoroughly enjoy having access to and using them even with the knowledge that Google uses them to collect a lot of data about me. That said, I feel that Google really does do a good job of letting me know when and how it is collecting my data as well as how they use it. Do I trust them 100%? No. There are certain things that I do take precautions to protect, be it encrypting certain documents I store in the cloud, using a vpn and incognito mode when appropriate, as well as using services, apps, and backups from other providers. In the end though, when all is said and done, I cannot think of one single thing that Google has done to harm me in any tangible way.

    • Arnie Placoqit
      May 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      I totally agree. This page is full of ads. and the reason we were all sucked in to this page was its title. T he whole time I was on this page, ad were loading and trackers were loading in the background. And while my Internet connection may not be gigabit, it's right around 70 mbps. The title may not be click-bait, but it's damn close. Seems like I've read other puerile anti-Google rants VERY similar to this on other sites - sure seems familiar. I had to laugh at the author's suggestion that Wolfram|Alpha is a good substitute for Google. Makes me wonder what the hell he's smoking!