running from google

google is a great company with useful products. however, due to its very business and monetization strategies, it has slowly lost some of the trust it once had with people. i won’t go into details here since many people have written on this topic in great details.

i think gina summarizes my concern fairly well with this quote:

If you spend as much time online as I do, you can pump a significant amount of personal information into the cloud every day. Think about what percentage of that cloud Google owns. For me, it’s three years of work and personal email in Gmail, years of events in Google Calendar, phone calls and voicemail in Google Voice, documents and spreadsheets in Google Docs, web page viewing habits in Google Reader. To top it all off, Google also has a record of everything I search the web for every day in their logs.

i use a lot of google products - i count 37 products on my account settings page. my intention is by no means to completely stop using google products, because i think it would be really difficult (if not impossible), especially when you take into consideration google apps (which many companies use), and the fact that i write apps for android. what i want to do, however, is decrease my reliance on google.

the first and foremost service i want to stop using is gmail.

gmail usage for march

above, you can see my gmail usage for march. so imagine that google were to lock me out of my account tomorrow, as they have to other people in the past… losing gmail would be a devastating blow - not because i don’t have backups of the emails there (i keep a backup via imap), but because people only have my gmail address, which means those people would no longer be able to talk to me.

as a result, i have taken my first steps towards liberating myself (at least partially) from google. the first of these steps was registering this domain and signing up for fastmail for email hosting (many talk about this on their sites). the nice part is that i own my domain, so if i decide to stop using fastmail (or fastmail decides to close down or whatever), i simply update dns and my email still reaches me. the k-9 and kaiten apps for android are great imap clients that work well with fastmail.

moreover, i bought the CardDAV Sync app for android and set it up to sync to icloud. i then disabled google’s contact syncing to my email. my next step is to clean out my google contacts by deleting whatever contacts and information that isn’t necessary to be there (phone numbers and addresses are probably the top concern).

that’s it for now!

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