So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]

Google-Logo

 

Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

PayPal Alternatives For Indians

If you are an Indian and have been screwed by PayPal, you do not have to stick with them. There are several other ways to get your money from foreign companies without having to be a victim of their stupid policies and lack of rules in India.

To find out a different solution, you can visit this Wikipedia page which lists provides a huge list of service providers who are PayPal alternatives and also allow you to accept online payments.

In addition to these I also suggest you to take a look at https://www.alertpay.com/ and http://www.westernunion.com/ which provide an easy way to send and receive money online.

Though not all of them may work in India, these solutions are definitely 100 times better than PayPal. If you want to add to this list please feel free to comment on this post.

Apple Mac App Store Alternatives

Apple launched their Mac Store yesterday (which was apparently cracked), and it has already seen over million downloads in a single day. However, not everything is hunky dory with the app store and it comes with several problems too.

App Bodega Mac App Store

The biggest problem of all is that if you have already purchased an app, you won’t be able to get updates for it through the Mac store and will have to re-purchase the app again. There are several more problems which have been listed out by Life Hacker.

Over at a Reddit thread, several users have been bringing similar complaints to the table. So is the Mac Store your only source for apps? Well, no. There are several alternatives available for the Mac Store out there, which have been doing it for quite some time now.

One of them is App Bodega. App Bodega is a complete alternative to Mac App Store where you can download and install apps and use it as a complete package manager for all your software. App Bodega provides you with an easy way to browse and install apps, along with providing you software updates so that all your software is up-to-date. Bodega also downloads and installs all the available updates automatically if you set it up  to do so.

Another alternative to the app store is App Fresh. Though it is not a market place to buy new apps, it keeps all the installed software on your Mac up-to-date. This is what you won’t get with the current Apple App Store for previously purchased apps.

So if you have been pissed with the new App Store, you can try out these alternatives and see which works for you. After all it shouldn’t be a monopoly.

Top Delicious Alternatives To Hop Onto

Delicious is winding up, you can export your bookmarks so that you have a backup copy. You could also import your delicious bookmarks into Diigo, Xmarks, Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer, however, what now? Which bookmark service can you use to store your bookmarks in the cloud?

Del.icio.us Logo

Thanks to the internet you will at-least find a few options for something you want to do, some of them might be free, some not. Here is a list of alternatives you could use for bookmarking in the cloud.

Google Chrome Sync – If you use , it has a handy feature which allows you to sync your bookmarks in the cloud. You could make use of it and have your bookmarks available on any PC running Google Chrome. If you don’t have Google Chrome handy, you will find all those bookmarks in . Alternatively you could also use Google Bookmarks.

Firefox Sync – Just like Google Chrome, also has an option to sync your bookmarks to the cloud. Use this service if you are a heavy Firefox users.

Opera Link – Another browser based backup service, but this time for . I guess I wouldn’t even have to tell Opera users about this. Use this service to backup and sync your bookmarks across Opera.

DiigoDiigo is another good service which provides with an easy way to bookmark web pages on the web. It also has some cool apps which allow you to read those bookmarks on a device like and read the webpages while you are offline. Diigo also offers a called "Read Later Fast" which allows you to store webpages in Google Chrome and read them later.

Xmarks – Many of you might be aware of Xmarks which was recently acquired by LastPass. This service has been very popular and is used by thousands of people. Xmarks also provides users a way to discover new webpages using information stored by other users, something similar to what Delicious provided users with.

I find that these three alternatives should be able to get you over your Delicious hangover, however, if you are looking for more you can always try out one of other options available below.

What’s your favorite bookmarking service? Were you a core Delicious user and are shifting to a new one. If so which one do you prefer to shift to.

LimeWire Alternatives for P2P File Sharing

Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing is not all illegal and there are several legitimate uses of it. P2P or Torrent clients allow several users and big companies alike to allow users to download legitimate software without straining their servers and relying on technologies which are even used by companies such as for deploying software.

If you are here to look for LimeWire alternatives, let me point you out to an earlier post where we talked about the best P2P and Torrent software available for free. If you are looking for more LimeWire Alternatives, you can visit the alternative.to site where you will find several more options for LimeWire alternatives.

Do remember that sharing files which you are not authorized to is illegal in several countries, please know your local law before you share music/videos or software using P2P or torrents.

Also See:  ZapShares Protects P2P Users From Copyright Infringement

LimeWire Alternatives Lands PCMag In RIAA Soup

The notorious RIAA is at it again, sending unwarranted notices to people just for the sake of it. It’s newest victim is none other than PCMag.com a popular technology website.

RIAA Sucks

According to PCMag.com, a recent article about Limewire Alternatives got them on the RIAA radar who sent them a letter saying that they were encouraging music piracy through that post.

Now writing articles about alternatives to a software is not illegal in any sense, it does not really say that you should go ahead an download software and then pirate music. Along with this, there are several sites which write about software including us with a disclaimer that people should be vary enough of legal laws in their country before using it.

RIAA has also accused PCMag of encouraging the new LimeWire Pirated edition which was being hunted down by both LimeWire and RIAA. PCMag has obviously shunned a request from the agencies to remove the post and have replied back to them saying that they will not stop covering things like this in future.

In 2008 RIAA had spent over $16 million to recover $0.391 million and I assume they will continue to recover much lesser thanks to such obnoxious claims.

So, how does this RIAA and PCMag case affect other website owners and publishers? Will website owners now have to adhere to governance by these agencies on what should be written and what should not be? I would be very interested to see where this heads as it will be an important step towards knowing whether or not freedom of speech or writing is neglected just because someone has a problem with things you write.