In recent months I too have been moving away from Google. I ditched evil Facebook a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. But I had been holding out for Google to follow through on their promises. They haven’t and it now feels like the Antarctic will melt before Google will change their business practices.
So, searches are now with DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, and StartPage. And recently, I’ve been switching from Gmail to ProntoMail. I no longer use Chrome, except on rare occasions when I need to access Google services. WhatsApp is an extension of Facebook, and so I’ve never used it. I use the much safer Signal and Telegram instead.
If Google knows everything you have ever searched for, it has a detailed catalogue of your interests, hopes and fears. Facebook knows who your friends are, what you like and what you talk about online.
Online data scandals have raised concerns about the power that information brings. Facebook is facing a fine of $5bn for its part in the notorious misuse of data by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Concern is growing. A survey by the Washington-based digital agency Rad Campaign and analytics firm Lincoln Park Strategies last year, for example, found three out of five responders in the US distrust social media when it comes to protecting their privacy.
I think as more and more people recognize that Facebook, Google, and others are simply using them, they too will look for alternatives.
UPDATE » Here’s a similar take the subject from TechAltar »