Is it worth it to avoid google etc.?

I am a bit confounded with all the wrongs the big tech corporations do and I am interested in input from others.

Do you think it is worth the effort to maximize avoiding Google for example? There are so many aspects: privacy, attention, democracy, freedom… And I am all for trying to lead a decent, responsible, as ethical as I can afford life.

I don’t use facebook. I’ve been on and off but ultimately the storm of ads disgusted me and made me stay away.

But what about google? I don’t use it much, even for email, but I’ve recently been thinking whether I am wasting time using ddg, qwant, Posteo and a mail client, and Nextcloud, and WebDAV and CalDAV at ownCube etc. It’s not much if you have some experience with GNU/Linux but, still, there is always a constant, be it small, level of maintenance in the background. And I have some life stuff to do too.

Recently my online grocery shop introduced a possibility to use google assistant to shop there. I am so curious about it! But should I use this Google assistant data collecting eavesdropping wiretap app?

Is it even a realistic problem that there is serious data collection going? Is it a real risk that a government or a shady organization will use that data against me? I live in Europe but all sorts of weird things are happening nowadays (and I am from Poland, having liberal and anti-government views).

Are all those apps and services a serious threat to my well being, to my attention span? I practice science so focus is important to me.

Does Tristan Harris use gmail? :smiley:

I’ve been considering recently just going with it and focusing on my life stuff and academia and stopping to care about what might happen if the corporations abuse the data somehow.

But, then, aren’t they doing it already, manipulating unaware people. Maybe me and I’m unaware? Maybe they successfully implanted FOMO in me and now I have to ask around if it’s worth it to go google again?

For me, it’s worth it for my piece of mind. Not for privacy reasons, but because Google is a poorly managed business with unsustainable cash flow.

Just because a company has high revenue doesn’t mean it will always stay that way or that the business is managed well.

Go to this site and you’ll see over 300 products that were at one time supported by Google, and now aren’t.

There was no reason for most of these projects to ever have existed except that Google has more money than they know what to do with.

I use Zoho for corporate email, NextCloud for data backup, DuckDuckGo for search (I actually prefer it because the search results are more transparent) and a feature phone for voice and it’s no hassle.

There are some who see digital ads as a massive bubble waiting to burst, and I for one agree with them.

I can’t have my life / business disrupted because people realized $X million is too much to pay to host a link to your site that your customers would have gone to anyway, and suddenly Google has to shut down a bunch of services.

Consumer boycotting isn’t going to affect them anyway because they don’t care. They can fake your traffic easily.


@cidig I avoid google and its products as much as possible they are no. 1 in online ads for nothing. You are fortunate if you lived in Poland your privacy is protected by the EU GDPR.

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That’s an interesting take on the subject. I agree.

I heard (but didn’t go into it) that in some cases GDPR has the opposite effect than intended. And GDPR is too little still.

But GDPR indeed marks a shift in policy making. I am curious if this could be sensibly interpreted in favor of google usage. Google can be understood as a kind of basic infrastructure and GDPR etc. seems to tame it. So maybe avoiding it and paying extra for other services is like avoiding electricity or the like.

If in any future Google collapses or is dismantled by antitrust moves, the infrastructure with all the users will only be taken over by other companies. Won’t it?

Just wondering. :slight_smile:

Earlier this year Google was fined for violating GDPR for two reasons 1. lack of transparency for how user data is processed. 2. lack of consent from users for targeted ads. It is significant in the sense that GDPR has real teeth and this made an example of Google a tech giant. The message was clear that every organization who deal with european customers and partners must protect any sensitive informations or face hefty fines. There are alternatives to Google product and services. I think consumers interest would be always be protected and paramount to anti-trust regulators when dealing with monopolistic companies.

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What a question a good question @cidig! And not one that I think anybody can answer but you.

To use an analogy to animal welfare & global warming, you should consider where your beliefs sit on the spectrum and act accordingly.

For example, are you somebody who wants to go fully “vegan” and adopt an activist mentality, or do you have more faith that the system will work itself out (e.g. EU regulation, governmental intervention, etc.), and therefore your actions are fairly insignificant, or do you sit somewhere else along this spectrum?

There is no right or wrong answer, and your viewpoint will absolutely evolve as you conduct more research and experiment with these different views.

It’s evolving constantly and it’s been oscillating recently. :wink: Actually, I am a vegan. Maybe that’s enough of extremism for one person… on the other hand what’s extreme in it? :smiley: The things we’re battling against are extreme.

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Do you think it is worth the effort to maximize avoiding Google for example? There are so many aspects: privacy, attention, democracy, freedom… And I am all for trying to lead a decent, responsible, as ethical as I can afford life. > Blockquote

Personal values (ethics, philosophies, etc.) are, to be sure, tested and aligned in how we approach and use technology.

To have (choose) access to ‘x’ means ‘x’ has access (allowed) to you. That cannot be overstated in an privacy context discussion. The same democracy and freedoms which allow us to make good and bad choices have the caveats of enabling us to surrender both through covert access to our privacy which Google (I think this is what you are addressing) and social media enjoy via our permission. Free services are NOT free.

Is it ‘worth’ avoiding Google and other services? It depends on how one’s personal ethics measure up to pragmatic challenges. We know burning fossil fuels are an environmental issue yet nearly all of us benefit from some form of that energy source until more alternatives are available.