Break a Few Eggs - Stepping Away from Google

What would happen if I stepped back from my reliance on Google? It's a mind-boggling thought. I have purchased Google storage, and made it THE hub of my online world. A quick inventory of the services I've relied on Google for:

  1. Blogger
  2. Gmail
  3. GoogleDocs/Drive
  4. GoogleSites
  5. Google Reader
  6. PicasaWeb
  7. GoogleVideo
  8. GoogleNotebook
  9. GoogleListen
Of those, only four remain. So, I asked myself, what if I decided that Google wasn't going to be THE basket I put all my online eggs in? Have I followed my own advice and gotten my exit strategy ready?

Yes, but I'm not sure. Here we go:

  1. Blogger - I'm using to backup Around the Corner Blog. It is backed up to
  2. Gmail emails have all been cleaned out. Inbox zero! (I archived data on and dumped the rest of those emails...who needs to keep 8 gigs of emails anyways?)
  3. GoogleDocs/Drive - Only 5 gigs of data here, so not too bad! This has been backed up offline to multiple hard drives.  I currently enjoy 16gigs free on Dropbox (help me get more!).
  4. GoogleSites - I hate to admit it but I really will miss Google Sites. That said, has always been there for me as an educator and I heartily recommend them. Since I last checked them out, they've added some new, nice features! ( Transitioning content over there will take a bit.
  5. PicasaWeb - Oh, this one really makes me hopping mad (think comically so, Yosemite Sam). I moved my library of 2000+ photos to PicasaWeb because Google's PicasaWeb was going to be my long-time home. Where did I move them from? Flickr. Where am I moving 9+ gigs back of photos to? Sheesh.
Let's see how much this is going to cost...
  • - Free and it's a cinch to import entries from Blogger to Wordpress.
  • - $40 for two year account
  • Email - Keep the Gmail account but keep it empty and just forward stuff to Evernote ($50 annually but I use it for a whole bunch more).
  • - I currently enjoy 16gigs free (help me get more!). If I want to really kick it up, like up to 100gigs, I would pay $99. Might be cheaper to keep the 16 and just move stuff I need online.
  • - Wikispaces is free for educators. Thank you!!!
What's another approach? I wonder if would have a custom solution? That custom solution would enable me to...
  • Run 4-5 email accounts ($120 is what the price looks like)
  • Have MariaDB (in lieu of MySQL), PHP, Apache
    • Run my own wiki solution
    • Run (dropbox alternative, free)
    • Run Wordpress installation (
  • Use Gallery2 for image gallery (forsaking Flickr)
Something to think about...

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Unknown said…
How does "replacing" gMail by Evernote make sense? No push notifications, no interface to Calendar, using up your monthly Evernote quota rather quickly through attachments (well, I get a load of them and appreciate the mighty storage offered by Google), and... how do you manage contacts in Evernote? :-)
Matthias, thanks for the comment! I probably wasn't clear that I am still keeping Gmail with a single inbox (instead of the 50 or so labels/filters I had), but storing everything worth keeping to Evernote. As a premium user, my quota is a bit higher. I've already been doing this for awhile and no problems.

As to contacts, good point. I didn't even consider that! :-o
Right now, they are still in Gmail. I need to export them as a backup, especially since those sync to my phone.

I have been considering Hushmail or doing my mail through Rackspace.

With appreciation,
Damian said…
I've been doing the same self-examination since the Reader fiasco, and I'm pretty sure I could make the leap away from Google if I had to. More and more I try to self-host solutions when I can (and as my limited expertise will allow), so even though I use Google Apps for my domain, the domain name itself is "portable", as our digital identity should be to the extent possible, and I can always go to another email service with minimal interruption.

What I really like about services like Dropbox, Evernote, etc., is the redundancy aspect: I've been a paying Evernote user for years now, but if the company pulled the plug tonight, I'd still have all my data on the desktop app. Same with Dropbox. Same reason I use a desktop email client from time to time.

As for Reader, I've been using Feedly since the shutdown announcement, and I like it well enough, but once the school year ends and I get some time to work it out, I plan to use TinyTinyRSS to host my own RSS reader on my own domain.

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