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



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.

Trillian Beta for Android Released: It is Awesome

Trillian has long been one of the best multi-protocol instant messengers for Windows. However, Cerulean Studios has no intention of being limited to the PC or the Mac. It has already has already released Trillian for the Blackberry and the iPhone, both of which have been lauded by critics. In fact, Trillian is regarded by many as the best IM app for the iPhone, along with Beejive. Now, Cerulean Studios is bringing the same awesomeness to Android users.


Trillian for Android supports AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, Windows Live Messenger, MySpace and Yahoo. The support for Facebook Chat should earn Trillian brownie points from Android users, since the official Facebook app is yet to implement this feature. Existing Trillian users will be pleased to know that the Android version also features cloud synchronization of contacts and accounts.


Trillian’s interface is simple but functional. The home screen displays all online contacts, grouped according to existing categories and the messaging service. Pressing a contact opens up the tabbed chat interface with landscape mode support. I was impressed to discover that Trillian already supports supports photo transfers, emotions and even buzz.


Download-Trillian-AndroidTrillian for Android is still in beta, and as expected, there are a few niggles here and there. Nevertheless, it is still very much usable. In fact, Trillian already has its fair share of handy features like push mail notification for IMs when Trillian is suspended and automatic away mode.

Users on Android 1.6 and above can download time restricted beta build of Trillian from here.

Trillian 5 Beta Released: Beauty Meets Functionality

Last month, I had previewed Trillian 5, a major update to the popular multi-protocol instant messaging and social networking tool. On paper Trillian 5 appeared to be a stunning update to one of the most powerful instant messengers out there. Now that the public beta has been finally released, I can confirm that Trillian 5 lives up to the expectations.


As always Trillian is packed to the brim with features. However, unlike before, it doesn’t feel congested or bloated. The UI is sleek, intuitive and gorgeous. Trillian 5 supports Twitter, Facebook as well as LinkedIn in addition to Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM, Skype and E-mail. Future beta builds will also introduce cloud syncing for chat history, so that you can access your social graph on the move.

For a more comprehensive look at the new features in Trillian 5 check our earlier coverage. Trillian 5 Beta can be downloaded from

Trillian App For Android Coming Soon

Cerulean Studios released a new refresh to the popular multi-protocol IM and social networking client last week. Trillian 5 added a host of new features including integration with and . Now, after the desktop refresh Cerulean has announced that a new Trillian client will be available for the platform soon.

Trillian Android App

Just like Trillian 5, Trillian for Android will integrate with Facebook Chat, Windows Live, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP and MySpaceIM. The app will also synchronize your contacts, avatars and more with Trillian enabled desktop or mobile apps.

Trillian Android Tabbed Chat

Trillian for Android will work on Android 1.6 and newer versions including and . The app has several interesting features, some of which include:

  • Connect to Facebook Chat, Windows Live, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP and MySpaceIM
  • Synchronize your contacts, avatars, status, accounts and more with your Trillian-enabled desktop or mobile apps
  • Get notified easily with Android notification system integration
  • Contact list sorting, grouping, meta contacts support, privacy settings and various ways to organize
  • Set status, avatar and display name quickly in one simple screen
  • Tabbed chat windows with bubble view, photo transfer, buzz and emoticon support
  • Support for Android phones as far back as version 1.6 works with your good old T-Mobile G1 or the newest HTC EVO 4G or Motorola Droid!

Cerulean Studios has not announced the release date for the beta yet, however, we will keep you updated when the app is released to general public.

Cerulean Studios Turns 10: Announces Trillian 5

Facebook and Twitter might be the dominant social networks, however they aren’t the only way to connect with friends and strangers. Many of us still rely on instant messaging services like Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger or the good old IRC. In fact, most of us use multiple services on a day-to-day basis. However, using individual clients for each service can be quite inconvenient. This is why applications like Digsby are so popular.

However, even before Digsby, Trillian built its reputation as a neat multi-protocol messaging client. Unfortunately, for the past couple of years, Trillian has been struggling to retain its charm. Trillian Astra (v4) took too long to come. And when it came, it disappointed many. The good news is that with Trillian v5 things are set to change for the better.

Trillian 5 – Flexible Interfaces

Earlier this week, Trillian’s developers -Cerulean Studios, celebrated its 10th anniversary by announcing Trillian 5. The new version will feature a brand new user interface, which is not only beautiful and functional but also sleek and slim. Minimalism is the ‘in’ thing these days and Cerulean Studios is following suit. The flexible interface offers 5 modes – large, medium, small, tiny and simple. Simple mode occupies very little space and is ideal for Netbook users.

Trillian 5 – Supported Networks

Trillian will support Twitter, Facebook as well as LinkedIn in addition to other networks like Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM, Skype and E-mail. It will also leverage Windows 7’s in-built GPS support to enable Foursquare check-ins.

Trillian 5 – Foursquare

Trillian 5 – Facebook

Other features include synchronized contact list, accounts, and chat history, streamlined news feeds and enhanced performance. Trillian 5 Beta will be released to current subscribers soon.

Trillian 5 – Chat Window