Goodbye Google

Previously I mentioned I was in the process of dropping all products made by Google but it was half-hearted. The amount of data they have on me for the past thirteen is overwhelming. I recently requested my data delivered to me via their own data freedom tool called Google Takeout.

It took all day to archive and send me my request and I saw why. 124GB worth of data compressed into 56 downloads of 2GB each(!!). And this was for my main account. I haven’t even started on my backup account I created just this past year yet.

The reason behind all this effort to liberate myself? Security and privacy. Also, they are showing signs of controlling/manipulating data and interfering with users. Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil.” That motto disappeared sometime this past month. Hmm.

Ever since I made my decision to migrate I have been adapting myself to new software tools. Alternatives to the Google ecosystem that has been so pervasive.

iPhone > Android

Windows > Chromebook

Duck Duck Go > Google Search

Firefox browser > Google Chrome

Outlook, own domain email > Gmail

Youtube > Vimeo

MS Office > Google Docs

OneDrive, iCloud > Google Drive

Apple Notes, Bear > Google Keep

iOS Photos > Google Photos

iOS Maps > Google Maps

Namecheap domains > Google Domains

Adobe > Snapseed

Ever notice how ubiquitous Google is until you saw these examples? Truth be told, I LOVE most of Google’s products and it hurts to leave them behind.

I am still looking for alternatives to a few of their software offerings like Google Earth, Voice, Translate, Book Archives and more. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

The migration process is still just that. I am slowly setting up new spaces for old content. Once completed I will be pressing that oh so sweet “DELETE” button.

In The Bag

Gear

I’ve seen a lot of people on the net share both their desktop workspaces and what is in their bags. Over the years I have whittled down and secured only the essentials needed for portable computing. I’ve waited for technology to give me what I needed.

Today I am sharing my minimalist setup in the bag.

The Chromebook- I’ve already documented what a simple and effortless device this is. It weighs next to nothing and syncs everything.

The Nexus 7 tablet- This is my portable library. I also stream music, videos. If the mood strikes I’ll play games on it and more.

Galaxy S3 Phone- Wake me up when the iPhone is ready to compete, will you?

Bluetooth Mouse- Operates all 3 devices if I desired.

Moleskine Notebook- In case my thoughts go analog instead of digital. This also doubles as my mousepad. Sharpie pen is thin and doesn’t bleed through the pages.

Timbuk2 Bag – Excellent size, light and very well padded. One compartment for the chromebook and another for the rest.

All together the contents are equal to a hardback book in weight, and all three device’s data are synchronized.

This blows me away

I|O 2013

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This year’s Google developer conference revealed quite a few more reasons for me to swoon over and enjoy. There were also a few items I wish were addressed but was disappointed.

Google+ 

Completely redesigned social network and hub for almost everything Google. Love the new “Google Now” cards interface. A lot cleaner and they brought in the Roboto font from Android in too. The photos section got some new tricks up it’s sleeve as well.

Hangouts

Code named “Babel” while in development this cross-platform app when done will unify the G+ video hangouts, the IM client formerly known as Talk, and Google Voice for phone. Even the iSheep can use it.

Google Music, Books

The redesigned Google Music beat Apple to the music streaming game. I signed up for the $7.99 a month service (called All Access) for unlimited music that compliments the music I already own and interfaces with each other.

The Books offering allows me to upload my own content such as PDF documents, share them, etc. I’ve accumulated tons of self-published books and can now enjoy them in location.

Google TV

My Google TV player will be enjoying more frequent updates and is scheduled to upgrade to version 4.2 Jelly bean soon. w00t.

Disappointed In…

After it was announced that everyone’s favorite RSS feed reader was killed off, we had all hoped there would be a much improved alternative. Not so. At least we would have a more robust and user-friendly Google Currents, right? No.

Blogger. Google bought this company years ago and it has been a bastard ever since. Unloved and unwanted. If they ever focused on this service I would be all over it right now.

More

There is of course so much more announced at IO but these are the highlights for me. Redesigned Maps, developer tools, Google Glass etc. are all coming soon so there is plenty to look forward to soon.

Feed Me

With Google shuttering the wildly popular Reader, I’ve looked at some alternatives such as Flipboard, Feedly and even the other Google product, Currents.

I am also trying to create a feed reader on my server using the TinyTiny RSS schema. Having issues with the PHP and mySQL files. Really don’t want to rely on a third party service anymore.

Also comes with an Android app. w00t.

Top 10 Android Apps

I have two Android devices that are heavily used. The Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone and the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

A few friends have asked which are the best Android apps out there. Well, that is subjective to opinion. I can share which apps I use constantly and why. Everyone is passionate about their own platform and apps and there will be heated discussions.

Keep in mind, this is not a top 10 list that is to spark a debate. In no order of importance, here I go…

  1. Snapseed- Simply the best mobile photo editor out there.
  2. Vignette- This camera app has so many shooting options and filters it would take another blog post to list.
  3. EyeEm- As soon as Facebook bought Instagram, I looked elsewhere. Social photography is excellent.
  4. Google+ Again, the Anti-Facebook social experience.
  5. Drive- Sync my documents between my computer and phone? Yes please.
  6. Any.DO- My to-do list goes with me and sends me timely reminders too
  7. Currents- A great too to catch up on news, blogs for my tablet.
  8. Pocket- Want to read it later? Right click and put it in your web pocket
  9. Google Now- Instant information no matter where I am at.
  10. Spotify- web-based music and radio. I will never buy music again

What is in your list?

Chromebook: For Me

The Samsung Chromebook is a fantastic browser with a keyboard. It weighs less than  3 pounds with an 11.6” screen. The 16GB solid state drive is quiet and fast. Boot time is exactly 8 seconds to power on and go. True, 16GB is not much but it does come with an integrated 100 GB of free storage space in Google Drive!

Google documents and mobile photos do not count against your free storage space. So how in the hell would you be able to use it all? Wait, how will I even fill up my 16 GB of hard drive space? Music files? Please. Google Music gives me up to 20,000 song space, again, free.

Speaking of integrated and Google, it gives me immediate access to it’s ecosystem of apps. Apps like Docs, Gmail, Reader, G+, Picasa, webcam, Music and more.

Wifi, HDMI, 3 USB ports, Bluetooth (for my mouse) and SD card slot round out the features. No, it doesn’t have an optical drive.

Inexpensive at $249, lighter, faster, portable and entirely cloud-based. Welcome to the future.

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