The internet is hurting. It’s been colonized and exploited by a small cabal of tech companies. It’s taken most of us a while catch up to the gravity of the situation, but grave it is.
Yet we all sit with the power to ease the pain, even if we can’t cure it in an instant. You don’t have to go cold turkey on everything Big Tech. That’s almost impossible at the moment. Such is the stronghold. But every little bit helps.
So does the perspective that an alternative doesn’t have to give you 100% of what you were getting to be worth the switch. Yeah, so DuckDuckGo might not match Google on every search, but it’s more than good enough to be good enough most of the time.
The world is full of alternatives to the Big Tech offerings that give you 95% of the utility for 0% of the regret. But if you can’t even be bothered to give up 5% to help an alternative along, you also can’t be surprised when the alternatives are so few and far between.
You can heal the internet. One choice – one search! – at the time.
15 thoughts on “You can heal the internet”
Hot tip to encourage DuckDuckGo usage:
Type `!google` before a search query in DuckDuckGo to have it be done in Google. This is great for the ~5% of searches that don’t yield good results in DDG 🙂
This has been my philosophy for the past couple of years.
The two things I haven’t been able to completely get rid of are 1) Facebook, as my company has been dependent on their advertising network from the start, and 2) Gmail, as I have not found a convenient alternative, and migrating feels like too much work. It’s really frustrating.
For email I recommend fastmail.com. It’s definitely some work to switch, but the effort to set it up to work on your domain is largely a one-time cost (and they have very clear instructions). I’ve been using their email service for almost two decades and they seem to have their shit together technically, and a solid policy on privacy. The main concern is that they are based in Australia, which seems to be gradually becoming less friendly for online privacy.
The search engine I’m currently using is Ecosia (https://www.ecosia.org/):
– it’s a social business: https://ecosia.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205118821-What-does-it-mean-to-be-a-social-business-
– it uses its profits to plant trees (it’s carbon negative)
– its data center runs entirely on renewable energy: https://blog.ecosia.org/co2-neutral-seach-engine-ecosia-solar-plant/
– it’s very transparent about its finances: it publishes a monthly financial report that explains in detail how its income of the previous month is spent.
Indeed. I’ve wrote about beefing up my focus on privacy almost 3 years ago and have kept the article up to date with the things I’ve learned and alternatives I’ve used and switched over from.
If you’re curious, it’s at https://thoughts.brunobernardino.com/beefing-up-privacy/ where you’ll get no tracking or ads or anything (it used to be a popular article on Medium, but I also moved away from it).
Been using Duck Duck Go for years. It’s better 98% of the time. I also recently moved my email to a paid email provider, downloaded my google archive, and completely kicked Google to the curb. Haven’t found a good alternative to YouTube yet though.
Hi Ryan – since I am looking for an alternative to gmail too – can you share which provider you picked?
I’ve been on DuckDuckGo exclusively for a while now. If I “need” Google results, I search on StartPage, that’s another privacy-focused search engine.
An alternative to Google Analytics that I have found useful for my personal site is Fathom (usefathom.com).
It gives you just the numbers you need without all of the other creepy/stalker-ish/invasive stats that Google provides.
This is perfect. I got off of Facebook 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since. DuckDuckGo is a great recommendation. What other recommendations do you have for moving away from Big Tech?
Great post, and comments. If you’re looking for a blog hosting and social network solution away from the big ones, give http://micro.blog a try. It’s got cross posting to all the big ones if you do need that. Very much inline with DHH’s opening statement in this article, built on open web standards, and run by a small dedicated team.
Duck Duck Go is great for search (95% of the time).
Dissenter Browser/Brave work well as Chrome alternatives.
Notion has replaced Evernote and Various ‘to-do’ tools. Steep learning curve but a VERY powerful.
Basecamp (of course) for large work projects.
Yessssssss! It’s time to recapture the independence of the web – the non-centralise ability to communicate with the world! As a very early adopter and fierce security and privacy advocate – I wish more was done to ‘educate’ the public at large about the ‘real’ dangers of the GAFA (Google / Apple / Facebook / Amazon) consortium and others who resell our life to the highest bidder.
DuckDuckGo – is the best – I don’t care for what I am missing but immensely grateful for what I am NOT loosing: my privacy.
Do you know that each search session is NOT recorded anywhere – whereas if you use the other one – everything is recorded. Careful if you have looked up the symptoms of your mom’s new disease – in your life will pop-up meds recommendations and flag you for.. having ‘such’ sickness in your family.
Lastly – I have no longer any Facebook (account – pages nor groups) because I read their TOS (terms of service) 4 years ago and freaked out. Recently because an online course was using a Facebook group – reread the current TOS again.. and it is horrifying.
Read this article for starter: https://www.creativeboom.com/tips/how-to-get-back-your-privacy-online-without-completely-checking-out/
And don’t forget to look up these as well: https://www.ghacks.net/2015/12/28/the-ultimate-online-privacy-test-resource-list/
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