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Life without Google – day 4

Is human life sustainable outside the "goolesphere"?

I started this experiment  last week – here the first post in Google_rip Italian – frustrated by the growing power of the platform feeling I was seeing the web always through the same lenses.

The experiment of giving up all Google's services  for a prolonged time is nothing new. James Thomas wrote about it a few years back, but I believe it's an exercise worth repeating and potentially rich of discoveries. Also, In the last months I've grown quite unconfortable with how powerful Google has become and, if absolute privacy is unattainable in the digital world, I feel much safer if all my personal information is scattered in servers of different companies rather than accessible through one simple password. As a journalist, I confess being a bit paranoid about this, but who really isn't a bit concerned? Robert Cyran paints a bleek, but realistic, picture here.

Luca Dello Iacovo, a colleague from Il Sole24Ore, also suggested some links from a story on 24h without BigG he did last year.

So here's how it's going. All suggestions and hints are welcome.

Browser and search engines

This was the easy part. I uninistalled Chrome and reverted to Firefox, which is just as good.

As for the search I have Safari running on Yahoo and Firefox running on Bing as default. Aftere 48h to adjust to the different graphics I feel pretty confortable.

Yahoo has very good data, and Bing has excellent pictures in its home. Don't miss G much on this side.

E-mail

This is one of the more complicated parts, but also one of the points of major concerned that pushed me away from Google. Their accounts are great, but I really fear the Chinese break-in we say last week is just the tip of the iceberg.

My 2 gmail accounts are still active and running but exclusively for receiving and it forwards to another account.

I subscribed for a new account to hushmail.  They have both free (web only) and premium-paid accounts. I went for the paid option as it allows you to use you email client.  thought it was worth it as their standard of security is the highest and most of my safetymanieac friends pointed me to this.

They're very helpful too. I had a minor issue in opening my mailbox and the customer service got back in no time. I guess that's the advantage of a smaller company!

Pics and SN

I wasn't using Picasa so it's easy to stick with Flickr which I find excellent. Same for Orkut as I'm on Facebook.

Video

Have lots of footage I uploaded on YouTube. Would like to migrate to Vimeo as their quality is much much better. Unfortunately they're not accepting any new subscribers for the moment.

Will keep liooking around but this is a serious problem as the amount of videos available on YT makes it a great source of other material to ember in blog posts and presentations. Am thinking of using it, but without having a personal account (this is the advantage of setting the rules of the game yourself…:))).

Maps and Earth

Am experimenting with different services. Bing and Yahoo maps are pretty good. Bing I would say even better than Gmaps. But I really miss "streetview" as it's great to check out places where you have appointments etc. Am also checking-out Openstreetmap.

As for GoogleEarth, Luca suggested the Nasa system I believe initially sparked the idea it the guy's mind in Mountainview. Haven't had time to experiment thouroghly with it. Will let you know more in the comind days.

Encyclopedia

MountainView has developed Knol. It's still in Beta and I'm much happier with Wikipedia, so no sweat here.

Blog

I have never used G's Blogger system, as all my blogs, as this one, have always been on Typepad. This is an excellent platform but you need a paid subscription. I find a good free alternative to Blogger is WordPress as already suggested by Luca.

—> Coming next

Decent substitutes for Gscholar and Gdocs (this is the rally hard bit as most of my community is using GDocs massively. I'm checking out Zoho)