Google Lite

I spent the ENTIRE day reworking my online presence at the heels of Google’s new  privacy policy implementation happening March 1st.  Thank God it’s a Leap Year!  I justify this procrastination by considering myself fairly savvy in these realms, or at least savvy in my connections with more savvy helpers like Sense and Reference and EFF.

Now,  I know I have not secured my everlasting privacy.  The internet is both permanently public in one sense (data is forever and no longer my own) , and publicly private in another (there is so much out there, my contributions are likely to go unnoticed anyway).  But my hope was to begin sorting out my online lives a little more clearly into basic camps of what I want to share and what I want to store.   I am also not giving up Google entirely.  I am keeping my Gmail account and the services for which I’ve used that email to register.  But in order to disassociate it from my daily searching and reading (that I prefer to keep somewhat private), I had to figure out a new browser, search engine, and reader.  So, here’s the end results and what I learned  in the process.

Google Bookmarks –> Evernote

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the public aspect (sharing) of bookmarks – which is why I never took full advantage of delicious.  But I had been hanging on to Google Bookmarks and justified Google knowing those bookmarks — well, Google knew my (and your) search history too– because until the recent privacy policy changes, Google kept that information separate and somewhat anonymized from its other personalized Google account features.  So, I hung on to Bookmarks even after losing its seemless functionality when Firefox force-upgraded some months back.  I had also (with the Firefox change) decided to try out Chrome, thinking it would integrate the Bookmarks more seamlessly. It did not, and I’ve just been living not exactly pleased the Chrome browser and Bookmarks since.   I decided to tackle finding a new bookmark service before dealing with search and my other Google accounts.

I had tried Evernote as a personal notetaking, to-do list keeper, and potential research ideas storage/organizer.  So, I decided to add my bookmarking there. Because I wanted to clean them up in the process,   I  manually reviewed, moved and tag-categorized over 150 sites.  I’m not totally jazzed with the default display, but I’m still learning and feel like there is plenty of flexibility.

Google Reader –> Netvibes

I took Sense and Reference’s suggestion for Netvibes as a reader alternative to Google Reader.  Along with a good take on what the Google privacy changes mean, you can see his full Google alternative recommendations here.  I like Netvibes both visually and organizationally.  And it seems, like Evernote, to have much more to explore.

Firefox and Chrome (Google Lite)

To take EFF’s recommendation to separate my search from my service, I had to really think through how I work in the day.  Ultimately, I went back to Firefox as my default browser and giving it my home page for work, my bookmarks, and my reader.  I kept Google Chrome, opening it to my Gmail, Twitter, and this blog (which I might reconsider — I’m blogging right now intentionally not yet signed into my Google accounts.).  Luckily, I have two screens so I can visually keep these browser universes separate.  Although, I’ll probably have to put a big post it note on the Chrome screen that reminds me DO NOT SEARCH IN GOOGLE CHROME!

Sidebar on dual monitors (in Ferris Bueller voice): “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking [another] one up.”

Google Search –> Duck Duck Go

I also took recommendation for a new search engine, trying out Duck Duck Go. It is very clean visually and also has a nifty Firfox plugin.  So far I also like the functionality and speed of the results.  Best of all,  it is not tracking my stuff.  See what I mean in a nutshell or in their  full privacy policy .

Google+ –> Facebook (for now)

Finally, I cancelled my Google+ account which wasn’t much of anything anyway. When it asked why I was deciding to leave, I should have said:  “Your algorithm can probably figure that one out.”

I’m sure I’ve got still got some blind spots in this whole thing.  So, please feel free to educate me, especially since next up is Facebook timeline .

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