Gone Google

February 24, 2012

I have been talking about it for awhile, but the new privacy policy Google has put in place has finally made me choose to kill off my Google account. A couple things about this, first, this is not a knee-jerk reaction. I have been more and more displeased with the direction Google is going over the last year or so, this just happens to be the final straw for me. Second, this is not intended to be a “I did it and you all should too” type of post. This is a pretty drastic step for someone to take, and I am not saying I will never use Google products again, my line of work just won’t allow that really. But in my personal life, I am going to try and keep Google out as much as possible. For those interested, here is the direction I went for some of the Google services I used:

Google Reader Transition

Most of these were pretty straightforward, though the last one needs a little more detail because Google Reader is the leading RSS reader now, and most apps use that to sync. Trying to find a way out of that one was tricky, but here is what I have now.

I first purged my subscriptions of stuff I just didn’t care about or posted a lot during the day. Then with the 60 or so sites I had left, I went and found their respective Twitter streams. I was surprised, but I found one for all but 5 of the sites I follow. This was the biggest deal because if they didn’t exist, this process would be tough.

Next, I created Twitter lists for each of my categories in Google Reader. Then, I started adding these Twitter streams to their respective lists I had made. One thing to note that helps a lot, you don’t have to follow a Twitter stream to add it to a list, so my main Twitter feed is not cluttered up with all of this stuff, I can just check the lists when I want just like I did with Google Reader.

The last part of the transition was finding a client that handled Twitter lists fairly well. This is the part of the process I am still hoping to improve, but it isn’t too bad now. I am using Twitterific on the Mac and iOS. It lets me check my Tweets and Lists in the same interface and keeps everything in sync via Tweet Marker. It also has the ability to send stuff to Instapaper, so things I want to check out later can be sent there, sort of like the Staring feature in Google Reader.

It isn’t a perfect process, but it was way past good enough to finish my migration away from Google. I still have my Gmail account open to see for any accounts to sites that use that, but I am hoping to shut it down just before March 1.