Is it possible to live your life without Google? I’m starting an experiment to Degoogle my life, one service at a time.
I’m a firm believer that competition is good. Competition is good for the user, the customer, as well as for companies, even if most companie will not agree.
We’re at a point where the Internet needs competition. Badly!
What do you mean by that JP? There are more websites and online businesses than ever. Can’t you see that?
I can, of course. It’s just that Google is the only search engine that matters. And that’s how most of us discover things on the Internet.
Not only that, but Google also owns YouTube, the world’s largest video sharing service. Then there’s Android, but at least there you have the option to buy an iPhone, if you fashion sending your hard-earned cash to Apple.
There’s competition on the Internet, but the Internet is largely controlled by Google. You can argue that of course, but this is how a lot of people feel, not just me.
The First Degoogle Experiment
The idea was looming for some time in the far corners of my mind. I was just maybe too afraid to make the leap and try to replace the Google services I am using.
I didn’t just wake up one day and started writing this post. What I did a few weeks ago was replace Google as my main search engine with Bing. I just wanted to see if this is even possible.
I didn’t want to start with some obscure Google service, like Google Keep. I dove headfirst and started with Google Search.
I was suprised by what I found. I was expecting to go back to Google with my tail between the legs. That didn’t happen.
Can You Truly Replace the Google Search Engine? My Experience
Having used Bing for the past couple of weeks I have to admit one thing. The search results quality of Bing is good, for the most part. Still, it’s no match for Google’s search engine capabilities.
Bing misses the mark a lot more times than Google. It fails to detect nuance and context a lot more, but so does Google when you search for something a bit more obscure.
Try to search for troubleshooting terms describing a problem you’re facing for example.
Google’s search results quality has been on decline for some time now. I’m not the only one saying that. Yes, look for a product, ask about the weather or who won last week’s game, and you may get the answer to your question without having to access any of the websites shown by Google.
Ask for something a little bit more uncommon and it’s like Google says, “I don’t quite know what you want, but here’s something you can buy”. The quantity and often the quality of ads is too much to bear from a modern search engine.
So, while Bing is not as good as Google Search, it’s good enough for me. I don’t plan on switching back anytime soon.
To be fair, I’m still querying Google when I can’t find anything on Bing, but to my surprise, most of the time Google isn’t any better. I’m thinking like 90% of the time.
I must address something though: trading one tech giant for another is not a particularly clever idea. Microsoft is known for its anti-competitive tactics from the past, so no one knows what they’ll be doing if they ever take the lead in search.
Should I try another search engine? Probably? But which one? Don’t say DuckDuckGo, because that uses search results from Bing, among other sources.
The Next Degoogle Steps
What’s next? I’m not sure, but I use a lot of Google services. I have to find replacements for Gmail, Google Photos, Docs, Calendar, Contacts, Google Drive, just to name the most popular brands under Alphabet’s umbrella I’m using, just like many other Internet users.
Maybe this article sounds too bitter, too anti-Google. To some degree it is.
The truth is Google needs to reinvent itself. We need companies like Google to take the Internet to the next level, but we also need more competition.
The Internet wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for Google. And that’s both good and bad.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts, so be brave and join the conversation.