Life without Google
Google has permeated in almost every area of our lives. Its life is dependent on the Internet and the constant data retrieval. Google started as a search engine in 1998 with the mission ‘ to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ and with a motto “Don’t do evil” which seemed to be a dig at other companies at that time. However, by 2020 life without Google was almost unthinkable. We have had generations growing up ‘Googling’ the answers rather than asking an adult or searching for information in the library. Google has grown so big that it has had to create a parent company called Alphabet to control it all. Google has also changed from its early days of doing no evil and making information accessible and useful to criticisms over privacy concerns, tax avoidance, antitrust, censorship and search neutrality and finally removing the “Don’t do evil” motto from its company culture in 2015.
Life has changed so much since its inception that even words do not have the same meaning anymore. Farming and mining have a total different meaning when you stick data in front. Google has large data farms and mines for data to store, share, keep and sell. Below are some of the Google products that you might be using knowingly or unknowingly. In most cases, the default settings are to allow Google to own your data and even when Google says they will not keep the data or will keep it private they have proven to lie over and over again.
Google Maps: Records/stores every step you take and every journey you have made.
Google Search: Records/stores each search you make from intimate questions to your spelling mistakes.
Gmail: Records/stores all you connections and every email you send with locations pin pointed.
Chrome Browser: Records/stores every website you have visited even non-Google related. Knows how long you spend on each website and page. It even knows the machine and Internet provider you have used to access it.
Calendar: Records/stores all your past, present and future plans.
Google Assistant: ‘Hey Google’ listens into your private conversations and stores them for you even without you knowing. Uses your voice for testing purposes.
Android: Follows every step you take and every destination you have visited. Allows personal data to be sold/retrieved for third party use.
Google Translate: Records/stores all your conversations in other languages.
Google Photos: Has all your intimate and public photos and will keep them forever. Will use it for facial recognition and sell to third parties.
YouTube: Records/stores all your music and video taste. Will recommend content according to your location and previous history.
Google Play: Records/stores your playing times, likes/dislikes of games.
Google Messages: Records/stores all your personal/work messages with locations.
Google Duo: Records/stores all your video calls. Will use your data for voice and facial recognition software.
Google Contacts: Records/stores all your connections. Will know anyone not already linked to Google.
Google G Suite: Records/stores all your work files. Will monitor your files.
Google Fit: Records/stores your health status, medical history/condition. How often you work out or not at all.
Google Nest: Records/stores the temperature of your house. Linking your availability at home
Google Wifi: Records/stores all your devices connected through it.
Google Keep: Records/stores your thoughts, brainstorming, and reading.
Google News: Records/stores what you read, what makes you angry or happy. Will inform your political affiliations.
The above is just a brief overview of the products and services that Google offers and what it can potentially hold about you. ALL NEVER TO BE DELTED. EVER.
Need I say more? This is more intrusive then being spied upon. Is there any person in your life that knows more than Google about you? I would argue Google knows more about you than you know yourself. Data should be personal. Data should be a human right for all to keep private. Data should never be sold.
I for one will not prostitute my data.
So what can you do?
Facebook: You can start by deleting your Facebook account and connect with real friends. Replace it with LinkedIn if you must and keep it professional.
WhatsApp: Delete it. Replace it with Signal, the only real privacy alternative.
Google: Stop using anything Google even your Android phone. Replace with an Apple phone.
Google Search: Replace it with DuckDuckGo. Uses the same index as Google but never stores your data or searches.
Take back control of your data.