You have no idea just how pervasive a service is until you give up on it cold turkey. 12 days ago I decided that I would extricate myself from the hold of Google for a period of two weeks and I must say, while I have been successful thus far…it has not been easy at all!
At work I have forced myself to use Duck Duck Go as a replacement for Google to do my work searches while helping customers and after a decade of honing my Google Jujitsu and Search Capabilities I have been left feeling less than adequate when I all to often find myself jumping to page 3 or 4 of the search results to find the relevant content that I would under normal circumstances have found on the first page.
Not using search has proven to be the easiest endeavor though as I made sure that I bookmarked most of my commonly used sites before undertaking this act of masochism as it relates to my technology life. What has truly been hard has been not using it at home or on my Smart Phone.
I installed Ubuntu Touch on my Nexus 4 on day one of the grand attempt at going Google Free and surprisingly, even that system uses many Google Services to connect its users to the outside world. I have avoided YouTube, no Google+ for almost 2 weeks and more importantly, while the lack of Clash of Clans and other indulgences I have really seen no ill effects.
The one real concern that I have with Ubuntu Touch is that there are just not enough applications yet to make this a true Smart Phone experience…sure I have internet access and I can do my Facebook Updates from the phone…heck I think I like the camera application better in Ubuntu than in Android but I am just not sure if I could commit to using Ubuntu on my phone permanently “yet”…and I say yet because the improvements over just 1 year have been very dramatic. There was only one hiccup that I experienced and that was in the ending of a call (one of the very few that I actually make from a device that should be primarily used for making phone calls).
As for the Desktop and Chromebook experience…well much like at work…it has just been about adjusting my browsing experience. Using Firefox (with Duck Duck Go as the default Search) has proven relatively easy although I do miss how easy it is to use the web with Chrome as a browser.
Google in conclusion has done a masterful job in not only getting into our collective ability to do the things that we want to do, they do truly make it easier to do many things…but the option is out there to not use Google. Not using Google is harder, not quite as user friendly and makes life a little less connected but it is possible to live life without the Search Giant.
Now with that being said…I will be returning to all things Google on Friday night…one day short of the 2 weeks for one primary reason…I work on Saturday so I am not going to take the time to reconfigure everything again when I get home late on Saturday (I do find that I am just exhausted from the sheer laziness of my co-workers on Saturdays).
So with that being said…one more day of being Google Free.