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My divorce from Google - One year later

Tom Henderson | April 3, 2013
Google's Terms of Service and Privacy Statement motivated me to give up over 3,000 Google+ Friends, and to stop using the Google search engine and the rest of their products, attractive as they were. Finding alternatives is definitely do-able. Here's where I am, one year later.

Never again

Google's services and apps have a lot of competition these days, ranging from Google Docs through Google+ to Google's user storage variants. In my original divorce description, I needed seven days to make Google go away. Finding alternatives is definitely do-able. It's worth the effort, in hindsight. Google is gone.

What I've concluded is that I'm happy, and I find that Google and SEO and tracking have soiled the web in unbelievable ways. Google has imposed a constraint on content through its ad business that I can't get away from, because content is trying to adapt to Google so it can be found, but especially because content becomes monetized in doing so-- to the detriment of us all.

Products like Ghostery, no-script, FlashBlock, are all heros to me. Why? Courage. The bottom line here is the quid pro quo of free app use versus loss of privacy. It is the foundation of the models that fuel the web today, and starving that fuel is going to be the only way to change them, as rules of conduct are often mitigated by the fuel needs of legislators and thought leaders.

There might be alternate financial models in the near future to anything Google. Subscription-based models are a possible alternative revenue stream, in terms of changing the underlying business model used by many on the web to fuel web pages. But when users consider actually shelling out money for a service, rather than using a free service, they'll go a long way towards personal exposure and its tawdry erasure of personal privacy. What must be raised is the common denominator, as the current model is a race towards entropy of the web.


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