Unclouding update: I’m loosening the Google grip (and other (re)movements on my mobile.)


I cleaned up my phone a bit (a bit further) recently.

I removed the Google Keyboard (using the default iOS one now; it’s horrible), removed Google Chrome (never used it on the mobile really), removed the Google Assistant (never used it, period), and Google Docs (wasn’t using it anymore, Nextcloud and all). I still have Google Maps (although use Here Maps more and more, its navigation ui is actually better), Google Photos (although I’m now syncing my potos to my Nextcloud too), Google Keep (mostly for shopping list these days), Google Hangouts (2 conversations lingering there), Google Calendar (haven’t got around to migrate away yet), Youtube, Google Music, and Chromecast (these I can’t replace at the moment). And although Deepl is actually a superior solution for the limited number of languages it supports, I also use Google Translate, af en toe.

I also realised that for the last (I think more than) 1 year, I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for search, with satisfaction. (Clarification: the realisation was of course about the duration, not the fact that it’s not Google Search or Bing.) It’s the default in all my browsers, on all my devices. I propose that for 99.99% of search use cases it gives you the same quality than Google, in fact I don’t use Google Search at all any more. Seriously, give it a shot, you’ll be surprised. (And not tracked.)

On server side, all of my Gmail addresses are now redirected to my primary (own domain) email. Incidentally I realised the iOS email app is actually pretty good in its simplicity. On another note, although I’m now syncing photos also to Nextcloud, I have yet to come up with a solution to migrate the existing body of photos over from Google Photos. One complexity is the sheer size: I think this should now be around 500 GB or so, it’ll take a while. The other, bigger issue is albums and such. No idea how to migrate these and avoid that my life’s worth of photos is just a huge amount of files. (And in the meantime, Google Photos is getting more pushy on stuff like ordering photo books for said albums… which I absolutely don’t want.)

Meanwhile, Mastodon (well, Amaroq) and Twitter (well, Twitterrific) are back on my phone, Instagram’s gone (I’m on Pixelfed for now instead), Messenger and WhatsApp are still on (and invaluable).

I think that with time, any sensitive data should be back in my control, the two remaining focus areas being photos and geo. (Calendar is sensitive, but rather simple.) Music and entertainment I suppose can stay in the US, heck, try building a profile from my listening history!…

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