Why I chose life without Google

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Many people are concerned about what tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are doing with their privacy. Androidworld reader Timo is also concerned about this and has opted for a Google-less life.

Do your thing anonymously

Where did the Dik Trom and Kameleon days go when you could do your thing anonymously? As long as you don’t commit criminal offenses, do government and tech companies have nothing to do with what you do, where you are and what you eat up? I don’t like being followed in every possible way. “I have nothing to hide, so they let me watch,” you say? That is like accepting a ban because you have nothing to say anyway, or being blindfolded at night because you have your eyes closed anyway.

In addition to the government, tech giants nowadays want to know just about everything about us. From where we are to recordings from our smart assistant: they store everything and bundle all that data. With this bundled information a complete profile is made of you, which states what you like, where you live, where you work / go to school, who your friends are, how long you spend on your phone per day, which apps you use. and even who your family is.

As good as Googleless

Because we are increasingly using mobile devices, I will zoom in on operating systems for mobile platforms in this column. Broadly speaking, there are two operating systems: iOS and Android. Most of the brands use Android as their operating system. So Google, because Android was made by Google. For that reason, it is very difficult to turn off all tracking functions completely, but you can go a long way.

Google apps

Remove bloatware without root

What I think is important to mention is that I prefer not to root my device or install a custom ROM, because that will invalidate the warranty anyway. In addition, I have not found a costum ROM that offers the same user experience. But there is another solution: you can use ADB (an android development tool) to remove a lot of apps that are basically bloatware. For example the Google app or the Play Store. You can do this by enabling developer mode and USB debugging and using this app.

You can then download the tools from this link by clicking on the Windows version. When the download is complete, you can extract the zip to a place on your computer that you can remember. Then you open one cmd window in that folder, and type: ‘adb devices’. You will now see a request on your phone to allow USB debugging. Click on yes, and then type ‘adb devices’ on your computer again. Then the status of your device should change from ‘unauthorized’ to ‘device’. After that you can type ‘adb shell’ to open a shell. Next, open the Package Name app (which you just installed) and find the package names of the apps you want to remove. After that, type on your computer: ‘adb pm uninstall –k –user 0 com.package.name’, replacing com.package.name with the app you want to remove. A more extensive how-to can be found on this site.

By removing the Google apps you miss little, because there are excellent alternatives available for a lot of Google apps. Just to name a few:

  • instead of the YouTube app, there is YouTube Vanced
  • instead of the Google Play app, there is the APKPure app
  • for example, instead of the Google Search app, you can use Firefox.

APKPure

AW Reader via APKPure downloaden

Check app permissions

In addition, it is advisable to check your permissions every now and then and to disable what is not necessarily necessary. There are many apps that show all permissions, such as Exodus Privacy. You can’t do much wrong with that, because almost every app will ask for the permission again when you use that app.

Screenshots of the app

So, as you’ve probably already understood, I’m trying to live Googleless. However, a Google-less life also has a few drawbacks. If you don’t add your Google account to your Android phone, you won’t be able to use the ‘Google Find My Device’ service. You can’t video calling with Google Duo either, and there are very few apps that work without the Google Play Services, even though there are modified versions of them. In addition, many ‘replacement apps’ are not as well constructed as the original Google apps. Whether you are willing to do that depends on how important your privacy is to you.

How important is privacy to you? Do you have any tips to go through life (as good as) Googleless? Let us know in the comments below this article.

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