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Big Tech/ Google (et al) alternatives

Discussion in 'The Swarm Lounge' started by GT_EE78, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    exerpt{With growing concerns over online privacy and securing personal data, more people than ever are considering alternatives to Google products. After all, Google’s business model essentially revolves around data collection and advertisements, both of which infringe on your privacy. More data means better (targeted) ads and more revenue. The company pulled in over $116 billion in ad revenue last year alone – and that number continues to grow.

    A growing number of people are seeking alternatives to Google products that respect their privacy and data. This guide aims to be the most exhaustive resource available for documenting alternatives to Google product. So let’s get started (in no particular order or preference)...}

    Info,privacy violations,privacy settings, censorship et al are all good topics within the Big Tech umbrella.
    Google along with facebook,twitter and maybe others have their sights set on censorship of conservative thought and denial of first amendment rights (with congressional impunity).

    Hoping this thread can become a resource for product alternatives.
    https://www.techspot.com/news/80729-complete-list-alternatives-all-google-products.html
     
    Whiskey_Clear likes this.
  2. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    personally i'll use DuckDuckgo anytime i'm looking for politics

    alternative search

    StartPage – StartPage gives you Google search results, but without the tracking (based in the Netherlands).

    Searx – A privacy-friendly and versatile metasearch engine that’s also open source.

    MetaGer – An open source metasearch engine with good features, based in Germany.

    SwissCows – A zero-tracking private search engine based in Switzerland, hosted on secure Swiss infrastructure.

    Qwant – A private search engine based in France.

    DuckDuckGo – A private search engine based in the US.

    Mojeek – The only true search engine (rather than metasearch engine) that has its own crawler and index (based in the UK).

    YaCy – A decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer search engine.

    Givero – Based in Denmark, Givero offers more privacy than Google and combines search with charitable donations.

    Ecosia – Ecosia is based in Germany and donates a part of revenues to planting trees.

    Note: With the exception of Mojeek, all of the private search engines above are technically metasearch engines, since they source their results from other search engines, such as Bing and Google.

    (Excerpt) Read more at techspot.com ...
     
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  3. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    Gmail alternatives
    Gmail may be convenient and popular, but there are three major problems:

    • Your inbox is used as a data collection tool. (Did you know Google is tracking your purchasing history from the receipts in your inbox?)
    • Rather than seeing just emails, your email inbox is also used for ads and marketing.
    • The contents of your inbox are being shared with Google and other random third parties.
    When you remain logged in to your Gmail account, Google can easily track your activities online as you browse different websites, which may be hosting Google Analytics or Google ads (Adsense).
     
  4. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    Great topic man, but you forgot to say that the article also reports on alternatives to Gmail, Chrome, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Photos, Youtube, Google Translate, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Play Store, Google Chrome OS, Android, Google Hangouts, Google Domains, and others.
     
  5. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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  6. RonJohn

    RonJohn Helluva Engineer

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    Cloudflare had an outage last week also. I haven't seen what the reason was for today's outage. Last week was because a Verizon router repeated one of their customer's routers claim that about 20% of the addresses of the internet were at the customer's location. If Cloudflare has more outages, it could seriously harm their business.
     
  7. RonJohn

    RonJohn Helluva Engineer

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    I use Google products quite a bit. Some see tracking things such as where they are and what they purchase as infringing on privacy. However, to get a "digital assistant" that can actually assist, such information is necessary.

    Google can let me know if I need to leave early to get to a meeting because the Google Calendar knows I have a meeting, Google Maps knows what the traffic patterns are and where I currently am. If Google Calendar doesn't know I have a meeting, Google Maps doesn't know where I am, and Google cannot link those two pieces of information together, then it is impossible to inform me.

    Gmail knows when I purchase a plane ticket. Maps knows where I am. The Google Assistant can automatically inform me, in a similar manner, if traffic is getting worse and I should leave early for the airport. Without such information, and without combining those sections, it can't provide that service to me. It is a trade off. In order to get that service from Google, Google has to have the information required to provide that service. Some people have the barcode for their plane ticket automatically appear on their phone just from having their ticket confirmation sent to gmail. Some people like that, some find it creepy.

    If you want to have the sites you have visited recently appear on two different computers, then that information has to be stored somewhere. If you want to turn on your Roku and continue watching a video that you began watching on your phone earlier in the day, that information has to be stored somewhere. If you want your Map application to know where your home and your office are, that information has to be stored somewhere. If you want Youtube to recommend videos you might like, it needs to know what videos you like to watch.

    I am not terribly concerned about the information that Google has stored about me. I routinely look at the Google Dashboard and review what they have stored. If you don't like some of the information that they have, you can delete it. If you are as concerned about the information that Google has collected about you I would recommend logging in to the dashboard and deleting all of the information.
     
  8. wrmathis

    wrmathis Ramblin' Wreck

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    Don’t think I would have an issue of google products sharing my info with each other, it’s sharing with 3rd parties that don’t have anything to do with google that is an issue to me.
     
  9. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    That's fine if you're comfortable with it. Google however may not be able to share all info as to whats being done with your personal data due to gov contracts with cia,fbi or other agencies. You can delete it but it's already been archived. I don't know if things are analagous at google but i can't (permanently)program amazon security settings since they use my cookie folder to store them and i delete cookies upon exit.
     
  10. RonJohn

    RonJohn Helluva Engineer

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    The stories about that are somewhat disingenuous or at least confused. I don't work for Google and don't have access to their code or internal communications. However, they claim that they don't automatically share information with 3rd parties.

    If you get an ad based on your browsing/gmail/etc., Google doesn't send your name and details to the advertiser. They sell ads based on demographics. If someone wants to advertise to men between 30 and 40 who are researching cars, then Google will send those ads to people who they believe to be between 30 and 40 who have been searching for cars. With that said, if a third party wanted to be tricky, the could potentially sell ads with different links to very specific demographics. Then when someone clicked on the link, they could assume that person matches the demographic.

    The news stories last year about third parties with access to gmail were extremely sensationalistic. They basically said that Google allowed third parties to read gmail. What actually happens is that Google allows gmail users to authorize third parties to read gmail. If someone installs the TripIt app and clicks within the TripIt app to use gmail, it will connect with Google and ask for permission to get the user's data. Google then asks the user if he wants to allow TripIt to access his account. If the user allows TripIt to access gmail, the TripIt automatically gets information from gmail to inform the user about his trips. It isn't that gmail just sends out a users information, it is that gmail allows users to grant access to other parties through an API.
     
  11. Animal02

    Animal02 Helluva Engineer

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    I don't use Google for anything except my phone and a Gmail address I use for consulting. Don't have any real choice with the phone. I have turned off just about every permission for Google services and their associated crap.....but they still seem to track every move.
     
  12. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    might be the gmail but google makes a lot of digital products(email is easy to change - i assume your referring to a home pc). regarding phone -No doubt you already know but if you don't want them to track and archive your physical location history, turning off the phone won't work. ya gotta take out the battery.
     
    Animal02 likes this.
  13. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    Guess it's not really a reply if u forget the reply button.
    .
    That's fine if you're comfortable with it. Google however may not be able to share all info as to whats being done with your personal data due to gov contracts with cia,fbi or other agencies. You can delete it but it's already been archived.(which is kind of pointless because then you're the only one who CAN'T see it) I don't know if things are analagous at google but i can't (permanently)program amazon security settings since they use my cookie folder to store them and i delete cookies upon exit.

    The amazon thing is particularly creepy if u have an "Alexa" / I never will and damn sure won't have any serious conversations in my sons house unless i can see it physically disconnected. They do routinely secretly record your private family conversations and store them online. Supposedly you can go into that security folder to listen and then choose if to delete. (yeah, right) Orwell 1984
     
  14. Animal02

    Animal02 Helluva Engineer

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    There have been times I talked about a work project or something that needed done around the house and magically ads would show that were related.
     
    GT_EE78 likes this.
  15. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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    and they won't ever ever forget it. people buy into that illusion of programmable security settings. I still occaisonally get targetted tire ads from more than a decade ago from googling for a set of tires. They followed me over 2000 miles and now i see tire ads relative to my new location.
     
  16. RonJohn

    RonJohn Helluva Engineer

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    People have been concerned with technology and data privacy at least as far back as the 1960s:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Society

    Even further than that, just making purchases with credit cards, the stores will track what you purchase. There was a story about a father who was extremely upset with Target for sending maternity ads to his 16 year old daughter. He found out a couple of weeks later that she was pregnant. Target was able to correlate purchasing patterns to women who are likely to be pregnant. In some cases, Target has been able to predict that a woman is pregnant before she knows it.

    Before the Internet, there were companies that compile information about people. I would have to do a search for the one I am thinking of, but it was around at least as far back as the 70s. They logged a persons age, education level, income, address, financial data, family composition, magazines and newspapers subscribed to, etc. They would put together lists of people that match a demographic and sell them. Instead of selling ads to those people like Google does, they would sell the list of people to companies that wanted to market to them. You might be disturbed by the level of demographic that Google can assign you to, but as far back as the 70s, people could by a list of: Homosexual men in their forties who live in the North East who subscribe to Time and the Atlantic who drive a BMW and are Catholic: or any similar requested demographic. I am not trying to convince you that you should not worry about Google. I am trying to point out that privacy before the Internet is just an illusion. Whether you believe it or not, you were being tracked before and companies had much more information on you than you would readily believe.

    If you take out the tech companies and look at what the government can put together, it is also alarming. Cell phone companies can pinpoint your location without GPS by which towers(plural) your cell phone(smart or not) is pinging. Police cars with license plate readers can build a database that could easily be searched to find out where your car was throughout the day. Public, and even private, cameras can be used by the government to track where you went once you left your car and who you met with. I haven't heard of this actually happening, but a sophisticated police department could input your license plate, your picture, and a date and receive an output of your car's movement, your movement on the street after you left your car, and other parties associated with you who were in the same general location at the same time. That isn't big tech companies, and it is entirely plausible today.

    Equifax has a ton of very sensitive data on a great majority of people in the USA. They had a person with a music composition major as their "Chief Security Officer". They were broken into and hackers took very sensitive data about tens or hundreds of millions of Americans. Equifax faced no consequences from the data breech. In fact, Equifax was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to help the government assess the damage from the breech.


    The belief that Amazon, and/or Google, and/or Apple secretly transmit all of your conversations to the cloud is pure paranoia and techno-panic. There are nerdy people who monitor every bit of their network traffic with Wireshark. If any of those companies were sending data all of the time, those people would notice it and report it. There was the story about an Echo that mistakenly sent a recorded message to a guy's employee(ex-emplyee/client/or something). There was one Google device that had a hardware issue and was sending too many recordings to the cloud while it was being reviewed by the press pre-release. It was discovered and Google disabled the pushbutton that was causing the issue.

    The reason all three of those companies send the recordings to the cloud is because the phones and devices don't have the computing power or the storage necessary for the speech-to-text algorithms. Google announced that they have compacted their English speech-to-text algorithm down to something like 80KB and are going to move it to the devices. They said they have compacted the entire Google Assistant down from 100GB to 0.5GB. It won't happen on current phones, but they hinted that the next Pixel phone will have not just speech-to-text, but the entire Google Assistant on device. They way Google is doing machine learning now, they can adjust node weights in a distributed manner. In other words, the Google Assistant will be able to detect your speech and your intent, adjust itself to fit you, your speech, and your language, and send the node weight changes back to the cloud. They won't need a recording of your voice to run the algorithm, and they won't need a recording of your voice to teach the algorithm. The result will be more privacy for the users and no impairment to teaching the AI. Of course if you want Google to remember your last searches when you move from your phone to your computer, it will still have to go to the cloud.

    Once again, I am not trying to convince you to use or trust any tech company. I don't trust Facebook and don't have a Facebook account. I understand what Amazon wants from a business perspective. I understand what Google wants from a business perspective. I understand what Apple wants from a business perspective. It isn't that I think any of those companies are my friend. I just get useful service from using their services. One or two day shipping for an item that I would have a very hard time finding in person is great. Warnings that I should leave early for a meeting because traffic is backed up is great. I don't use any Apple devices, but they make some good hardware.
     
  17. jwsavhGT

    jwsavhGT Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, this Chief Security Officer was a UGAg grad, IIRC.
     
  18. RonJohn

    RonJohn Helluva Engineer

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    She is a mutt. She had videos on Youtube stating that you don't need to have a security or technology background in order to work in cyber security. She said that security can be learned. They apparently hired someone to scrub her from the internet. Her Youtube channel was taken down. Her LinkedIn profile was "cleaned" and then taken totally private. As I recall there were other sites that she had forum posts or articles that were all scrubbed within a few days.

    I mentioned Equifax because they are a company that collects information about everyone. No-one has a choice about letting Equifax collect data about them. The data they collect is pretty much exactly what a bad guy would need to steal your identity. Name, date of birth, address, previous addresses, income, names of banks and account numbers at banks that you do business with, name of credit card companies account numbers of credit cards and balances of credit cards, mother's maiden name, etc. If a bank asks you questions to verify who you are, this is the database that they use to verify you are who you say you are.

    So their database if very intrusive and very dangerous to the people about whose data they collect. They allowed that dangerous information to be taken by some hackers. The US government didn't take any action against the company or the executives. Instead they rewarded the company by paying them to work on the problem that they caused.
     
  19. RonJohn

    RonJohn Helluva Engineer

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    I thought I would clarify one of these comments slightly. A person does not necessarily need a technology degree to work in cyber security. A person does need a background in technology in order to work in cyber security. A person can indeed be taught security. However, you can't take a person with no computer, IT, or cyber security background, put them in a position of cyber security importance, and teach them on the job. A person with no degree who has been working on open source software and making commits to major projects such as Mozilla could probably work out well. Putting a person with a liberal arts degree whose extent of computer knowledge is using G Suite applications to submit class projects in charge of maintaining security on public facing servers would be insane.
     
  20. GT_EE78

    GT_EE78 Helluva Engineer

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