It’s no secret that Google tracks everything you do, from your search results to the apps you install on your Android phone. It tracks and stores everything.
I’m not going to get into whether Google is evil for tracking everything and how it uses what it stores. That’s a completely subjective opinion and an argument for another time. I’ve made the choice to limit how much of my information winds up on Google’s servers.
I’ll grant that this is a difficult task given that I have both an Android phone and tablet. Also there is the issue of quality of service. Google’s services are not just good. They are exceptional. Search is arguably their best offering. But it’s also the biggest collector of information and the easiest to avoid. Normally I use Duckduckgo. But it has a long way to go before it has the depth of available information that Google search has and I find myself using that service for simple things. Way too often… Then there is the addition of a News Feed to the Google app for Android and the ease of getting weather information from the same service. Then the integration of maps in search results. It’s easy for the search to sneak back into day to day use.
But search is not the only quality service Google offers. The whole Play Store is incredible. Not just apps, but music, movies and TV, books, magazines and news papers. The Music service has such a vast catalog of songs and artists and a radio station based not just on genres but artists as well with very little repeated songs in a 24 hour period. The Newsstand service gathers local and world news based on location and interests and you can add free magazines to the app as well. It is very comprehensive. The Movie and TV app is vastly improved and the Book reader has great features. It’s easy to become fully immersed in the Google brand because of the quality.
But all of that information is stored and used by Google and whomever it wishes to share it with. And that’s my problem with it. I’d rather not have that much of me out there.
I’ll grant that not matter what service I use, my information will be on display. There just isn’t a way to not have an online presence without your information being stored by someone. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, they all do it. So with that in mind, I’m sticking with Amazon for now. Even if their Music streaming service is not where near as good as Google’s. I’m also moving as quickly as possible to an all Linux environment as possible. The advantage for me is Linux does not store data on a server somewhere. By default it is not setup for that. Sure it can be, but I’ve no plan for that. I’m keeping track of a company that is developing a Linux phone. Once that is finished and delivered (here’s hoping they don’t go the way of the Ubuntu phone) I can remove the Android system from my online life.
That will leave me with just Chrome and Gmail left to work out. These will be the most difficult. But that’s a post for another time.