• Leaving the Googleverse

last modified November 5, 2016 by strypey

I used GMail as my main email for a number of years, mainly because of the bottomless storage, but also because it was (at the time I started) the only gratis email service I knew of that allowed me to both send and receive email using the Disintermedia domain name in the address. Plus, Google supported lots of open source communities with the Summer of Code, and was the only major tech company to actively support open standards like XMPP for realtime chat. Then a few things happened that made me feel less comfortable with Google.

There was the decision not to support XMPP in Google Hangouts, the newer version of Google Chat. So much for platform choice, client choice, service choice. Then there was the abandonment of Wave, Reader, and a number of other free code software projects they had been supporting. The final straw was the G+ social network, and their decision to integrate it with the login credentials of GMail and HangOuts, as well as YouTube and all the other sites they've "acquired" over the years, effectively forcing anybody using any Google-owned product to have a G+ account. I came to the conclusion that after all this, continuing to use Google products after swearing off FarceBook (see Fyre Exyt ) was hypocritical, and I decided to exit the Googleverse too. When Google started to pursue the same "real name" policy as FarceBook (although Google reversed this and apologised in 2014), and eliminated the separation between ad-driven tracking and user accounts, this simply strengthened my resolve.

As FarceBook and the GoogleBeast come to resemble each other more and more, it probably makes sense to merge this into the work I did on Fyre Exyt. Once I have successfully removed all my wanted data from Google service to reliable alternatives, and deleted my Google account, that will be the final step in this work.


I have gone back to using RiseUp.net for "work" email, and set up a new address on OpenMailBox for personal email. One consequence of setting up a separate email address for personal use is that I notice that people don't really use email for general chatter anymore. I guess because most people do this in FarceBook or other "social networks" walled gardens. I originally learned about RiseUp from a guy I met at a festival who had a RiseUp address, and I trusted them because I recognized the handles of a number of the geeks from my Indymedia days. I found OpenMailBox from the list the Free Software Foundation maintains of email providers that use only free code software on their servers. Like a lot of people now, I'm looking into hosting my own email using my Disintermedia domain. There's a lot of security people claiming this is too hard for non-specialists to do properly, but there are various free code projects like MailPile trying to make it easier.


Google Hangouts provides one-to-one and group chat, using text, voice, and video. It also allows voice/video chats to be recorded, for upload to YouTube. I've been assembling info about voice/ video chat on the core us page.

File Storage




Collaborative Documents

See the list of collaborative authoring platforms I've been assembling for the GITocracy project.





Video Hosting

MediaGoblin (example GoblinRefuge)

Plumi (example EngageMedia)

Social Network

GNU Social (example Quitter.se)


Diaspora (example JoinDiaspora.com)