After all my other posts and about a year of activity on the subject of ungoogling yourself, I have come to the point where I only depend on Google for two things:
- YouTube videos. Funny cat videos. Zefrank. Video game reviews and such. Not makeup videos!
- Translations, especially of phrases and sentences.
The former hole can’t really be plugged. For video game reviews and other fun clips, I’ve subscribed to The Escapist‘s publisher thingy. That way I get HTML5 video instead of Flash video, and they give me a higher quality as well. Eurogamer and Gamespot also have some video reviews. I only miss having the community reviews you find on YouTube.
Outside of the video game area, I try to find stuff on Vimeo, and quite often I’m successful there. Vimeo is also a European company, which makes me twice as happy when I use them. And they seem to be run by proper æsthetes, look at how pretty, clean and uncluttered everything is!
Of course I won’t be able to preview albums by listening to Vimeo clips, since most people put their music rips on YouTube, not on Vimeo. On the other hand, Vimeo is much more friendly to artists and does not suffer from the horrible community that YouTube has. So you get more signal, less noise.
Talking about previewing albums, that can be done at Grooveshark. If it’s not on Grooveshark, chances are the band itself has some clips available, or there’s always last.fm. Update: And 7digital, which gives you DRM-free MP3s and previews. This can be an alternative to Amazon as well if you generally distrust very large companies.
Update: 7digital proved that they take their shit seriously. I complained about too short filenames — even ripped albums from random torrents have the complete track names in the filename, but the three albums I bought from 7digital didn’t. I complained (via Twitter, no less), they acknowledged it was an issue on their side an released a fixed version of each of the albums less than 24 hours later. Fucking awesome.
Finally, let’s get to translations. I thought nothing could improve upon Google Translate, but now some companies have started aggregating translated pages translated by actual humans and using those to feed their translation indexes. I think this is a much better approach than Google’s metalanguage translation system (I think it’s something based on English?). One of these aggregation companies is bab.la, and they also use third-party dictionaries such as the Folkets Lexkion as sources.
I know this is probably only relevant if you’re a language geek. But if you are: Welcome to ungoogling yourself.
So these were the final building blocks. I have been mostly free of Google’s services for nearly a year now, and completely free since — uh — two hours ago. By far most of my stuff now comes from European companies, especially Switzerland, Germany, France and the UK.
In the same vein, I’ve stopped buying books from Amazon and now get them from Bookzilla. I’ve stopped buying albums from Amazon as well and now buy my vinyl from Supreme Chaos Records, Prophecy Productions and others.
This took me almost a year to do, and I really invested time researching things. I’m not saying that my choices are the only valid ones or that my reasoning is the soundest. But I’m sure if I could do it, you can get rid of Google in your life as well, for whatever reasons you might have.
I hope these articles gave you a shove in the right direction.