Why I quit using Gmail and Google

Google-privacy

Today I read an article about Gmail in particular and Google’s information gathering tactics in general. It turns out to be that Google fully admits that it does not really respect privacy of its users and that we, as internet users, should not even expect any privacy.

Today the principals of Google feed themselves in large part off their “charity” to the tune of $20b a year by providing us with seemingly free services, in exchange for profiling us as far as on psychological level, using heaps of information about us for targeted advertising. While this may not seem like a big problem to some, it is unknown where that information may (or may already have) end up ultimately and how it may be used.

Personally I no longer use my Gmail account and have not done so for several months by now. The transition phase was easy and not burdensome, as I didn’t have to let all the people I was communicating with and all the services I was subscribed to know that my email address had changed. No, I simply started writing and replying to people from my new email address, and updating my email addresses with services once I received new emails from them. Moreover, recently I also stopped using Google, the search engine, due to the same privacy concerns as pointed in the article.

It may seem like there aren’t too many good alternatives to Google, if at all, but, indeed, one doesn’t really have to give up using Google to give up using Google… You got it right. There’s a good search engine that does redirect your search queries to Google, but before doing so it completely strips your requests of any information related to your privacy, including your IP address, browser agent, browser session, etc. The search engine then returns you the search results from Google, effectively putting you into a win-win position – you still use Google, and, hey, your privacy is respected. The search engine is StartPage.com, and I set it as my browser’s default search engine.