Recommended Google service alternatives

I’ve used Google and its variety of services a lot in the past; they’re convenient, free to use, and work across all platforms. However, lately I’ve been paring back a bit on relying so much on Google. Some of it’s related to changes to this blog; for one, my recent site move means needing an email service. Other reasons include a desire to not rely so much on a single company for everything—or at least a very long list, when I wrote out all of the Google services I used.

I last wrote about Google service alternatives in 2015; here’s an updated list of suggested alternatives. For a more complete list of non-Google services, there’s the website No More Google, which favors options that’re either open source or not owned by one of the big five (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft). Lifehacker also wrote a guide on alternatives to Gmail and Google Drive/Docs.

AdSense

Google Adsense is one of the dominant online advertising networks. As such, there’s not a lot of alternative choices. Options that come to mind include Amazon and Facebook, though this might also depend on advertising needs.

Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular means of tracking site usage statistics. However, alternatives exist; a few popular ones:

  • WordPress.com Stats: Users of WordPress.com (or the Jetpack plugin for stand-alone WordPress installations) can use this basic site statistics software.
  • Matomo: Formerly known as Piwik, Matomo is a popular open source analytics program.

I’ve used Piwik/Matomo in the past, before switching to Google Analytics. However, I’ve recently opted to switch back to Matomo. Not only does the site analytics data stay with me (and not Google), but Matomo’s a lot more polished than when I last used it.

Chrome

Chrome logos
Photo by geralt (Pixabay / CC0)

Google owns a sizable portion of the web browser market, but there are still alternatives. I’d recommend Mozilla’s Firefox. Another option for Apple users is Safari.

Chromium, the open source browser that Chrome is based on, also might interest some users.

Android-based smartphones

Since the smartphone market’s dominated by only two operating systems—Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android—your only real alternative’s switching to an iPhone.

Gmail

For free email, the main alternative to Google’s email service is probably Microsoft’s Outlook. It offers comparable features to Gmail, including 5GB of free storage and access to the online version of Office.

For those willing to pay for an email service, there’s a range of options available, including ProtonMail and FastMail. I’m currently using FastMail as an email service. Like other paid email services, it offers several tiers of service, as well as the option to use one’s domain name for email.

YouTube

YouTube’s the dominant and all-but-default online video hosting site, so switching services might not be attractive to some. Still, a few alternatives are available, including Dailymotion and Vimeo.

Google search

Google’s core service, search, also has some alternatives available. The main one I’d go with is DuckDuckGo, which claims a more privacy-minded approach to web search.

Chrome OS/Chromebooks

Chromebook in education
Flickr photo by Laurie Sullivan (CC BY)

For technically inclined users, I’d suggest a traditional Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Non-technical users’ best bet might be to go with the usual Windows or Mac OS computer. For casual usage, another option might be a tablet with a keyboard attached, such as the iPad Pro.

Google Keep

Options for online-based note keeping are varied; the ones I’d suggest include:

  • Simplenote, run by Automattic (the people behind WordPress).
  • OneNote, run by Microsoft.

I use Simplenote these days, as it works similarly to Keep, though without the colored notes.

Google Play Music/YouTube Music

See my previous post about music services. That said, I’d suggest Spotify or (for Apple users) Apple Music.

Google Play Movies

See my previous posts about on-demand and streaming video services. In general, there’s no shortage of options available, though Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu are popular choices.

Google Drive

There’s multiple options for cloud storage. Popular services include Dropbox and OneDrive.

Google Docs

Alternatives to Google Docs include Microsoft Office (the online or desktop version) or LibreOffice, a free office suite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *