Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Chat about just about anything else
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

So in this day and age, most everyone who has a smartphone has a Gmail account (unless they get an iPhone or Windows Phone). Considering Android is running on the Linux kernel, it would only make sense for the die-hard Linux-ers to opt for this platform over the others.

Of course, some Linux fans are more than likely to support the whole idea of Open Source, privacy, and so on. Considering the data-gathery nature of Google (basically a whole bunch of free services in exchange for a window into your very soul), some may want to still have a smartphone without the Google intrusion.

There are ways to do this, like disabling Google Play services, flashing Cyanogenmod/LineageOS with no Gapps, using Fdroid as the app store, etc.

My question, is there anyone out there actually doing this? Or has Google become such a necessity that you absolutely can't picture your phone without it?

My biggest things are Hangouts (which I use to talk to my family) and GPS (which I can't run without Google play services apparently, atleast on my G2. It won't detect my position without Google Play's tracking). I have attempted this in the past but it's resulted in me being so off-grid and inconvenienced that I would eventually give in and reinstall Gapps (especially if I want any music/video streaming capability).

I like to think back to a simpler time where I didn't have the whole world on my hip, and I had to run to a public library to use the internet for a whole hour before I had to run back home for dinner. Gone are those days, and now with every turn I make, my device pings a Google server with my location data, which gets recorded indefinitely. While I have nothing to hide, I saw Lunduke's keynote on privacy and he raised some good points. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tabVaoeNtdk

I don't exactly know what my point is other than all this. I just figured it'd be fun to see what other people think.
User avatar
Pierre
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10819
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:33 am
Location: Perth, AU.

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Pierre »

if you were using any Android 'ph or Tablet,
then you'd have issues in avoiding using their service(s).

yet, it would be possible, to use that device, without using their service(s),
just as you could avoid using any Apple service(s),
but - - that would severely limit your use of that device,
wouldn't it ?.
Image
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

Pierre wrote:if you were using any Android 'ph or Tablet,
then you'd have issues in avoiding using their service(s).

yet, it would be possible, to use that device, without using their service(s),
just as you could avoid using any Apple service(s),
but - - that would severely limit your use of that device,
wouldn't it ?.
Not exactly. Android at the core is an open source project (AOSP). This is why different OEMs are able to have their own skinned versions of Android (and why Amazon has FIre OS, which is basically just Android without Google). The only limiting factor is what's available to use as an end user.

A crude example, but picture Windows 10, where you're able to remove all of the Microsoft spy-ness. In order to do that, you'd have to NOT use a microsoft account, but instead use a local account, which then prevents you from using their app store (no tough loss). The problem is you're left installing programs you found online, and they may or may not contain malware. It's still possible to use the OS, but you would have to change the way you use it.

It's pretty much the same thing for Android. Get rid of Google, and you're stuck using websites like APKMirror, or apps like Amazon Underground and Fdroid to get your applications. All reputable sources, but your risk of getting hit with malware increases because you aren't installing your apps from the walled garden of the Google play store.

Of course, with Google services, you have access to much nicer APIs and apps like GPS navigation, baked in cloud storage, collaborative document editing and the like. However, it comes at the dramatic cost of your privacy, where every voice command is recorded and stored, your location data is tracked (and stored), your contacts and their information is stored, and this is all happening in your very pocket.

I think what I'm trying to get at here is, who is giving things up to protect their privacy these days? And how much of it are they giving up?
User avatar
Moem
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 11783
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:14 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Moem »

I use a Blackphone and it's Googlefree. I can't use the Google Playstore, so yes, I'm severely limited in my choice of apps. I can download apps elsewhere and around 50% of them will work. I don't mind these limitations: the phone is still quite useful. It's a phone, it does ICQ, Telegram and text messages; it also does WWW (I use Brave as a browser). I can use it for GPS navigation, even offline when I use downloaded maps; it's also a decent camera.
Since I've never had a smartphone before, I don't really miss the things I cannot do and the extra privacy is worth it. For me, this seems like a decent way to enjoy some of the features of smartphones and not give my entire life's data to Google.
Image

If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!
User avatar
thx-1138
Level 8
Level 8
Posts: 2115
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Athens, Greece

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by thx-1138 »

I don't use a smartphone myself. Neither Android-base neither iPhone or whatever else out there. I had a couple of 'simple' oldschool cellphones from 1998 until 2004 roughly...eventually, i ditched them. I don't see why I should carry a tracking device in my pocket all day through. I don't use devices that make use of GPS either.

I don't have a 'real' Facebook account: i have a phony profile there merely to be able to browse certain sites / news. It's only 4-5 people that i have listed as friends there. I also generally avoid clicking / 'liking' - simply because i don't like the idea of helping FB or any other agency / organization into mapping people's tastes for their own commercial and / or political reasons. If 1 day i won't be able to use the above...well, so be it.

I don't have a Twitter or Instagram account, neither any plans to come up with such.

I do use Google as my start page however. After all, my ISP provider knows what i'm looking for...and they don't provide me with a search engine as well :-)
If things become more awkward where I live, i might consider making use of of VPNs and such...

I don't use Chrome - Firefox can be tweaked way more in about:config, plus, with Ublock + NoScript it leaks way much less data / info. I haven't added a gazillion other extensions to protect my privacy to the point of being ultra-invisible...a 5-10% of data possibly gets 'leaked' one way or another, ok, no prob, up to that.
Kinda of: when i walk down the street, other people obviously do get to see my face / height / clothes etc...i don't have any super-powers to become invisible neither i care to become such: however, i wouldn't like them to be able to know almost instantly what my name is, where i live, how much money i earn each year, what i voted for or not, my health records etc etc...

I don't use any 'cloud'-based services / storage or software on my desktop - neither i plan to.

I don't use Windows 10 - and if i ever had to for some reason, i'd try to keep it down to the bare minimum. Eg. editing a video for half an hour there wouldn't be a problem i assume, but let's say that most likely i wouldn't fire up MS Office to edit a text with personal data...

I don't use Tor or even more Tails...i haven't felt the need to do so yet. However, i assume that's where the situation is more or less heading sooner or later...
I think what I'm trying to get at here is, who is giving things up to protect their privacy these days? And how much of it are they giving up?
Hmmm...i don't feel that i am in some way 'giving things up': quite the contrary...i'd feel that way if I used the above :lol: :wink:
All in all - the more you can avoid from their...'services', the better for you...and the society as a whole. The world existed just fine before 'smartphones', GPS etc. were 'forced' upon everyone out there...isn't it so? :D
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

Moem wrote:I use a Blackphone and it's Googlefree. (...) I can use it for GPS navigation, even offline when I use downloaded maps
Which app do you use for navigation?
Last edited by Moem on Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: No need to quote all that.
User avatar
Moem
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 11783
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:14 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Moem »

The one from https://wego.here.com
I downloaded through an APK downloading site, which did not feel entirely secure, but it seems to have worked OK. I do not get any ads, which may be in the nature of the Blackphone; a friend of mine tried that same app on his Android and he did not like it at all, mostly because he got so many ads.
Image

If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!
User avatar
Arch_Enemy
Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1389
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:28 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Arch_Enemy »

Moem wrote:The one from https://wego.here.com

Nice. Thanks for that.

I gave up on my Android phone, even though I liked the phone. Just way too much data collection, too many apps prying into your private info, and an unregulated "app store" that was loaded with malware and adware.

Back to my Blackberry. I want my phone to be a phone first, and everything else last. The Blackberry does that better.
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.
User avatar
Moem
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 11783
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:14 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Moem »

Arch_Enemy wrote:too many apps prying into your private info, and an unregulated "app store" that was loaded with malware and adware.
Well, of course, you don't have to install all those apps. Many things work just fine in a browser, and with less prying. For example, I hear that the Facebook app is one of the worst; it's safer to use Facebook in your browser, if you must use it at all (I don't).

Here's another thing I like about the Blackphone: it allows you to set individual permissions, for each app. You can easily allow an app to do some things but not all the things. I think early versions of Android had that, until the almighty Google decided that was far too much user control, as in 'control that the users have', not 'control over the users'.
Image

If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

Moem wrote: Here's another thing I like about the Blackphone: it allows you to set individual permissions, for each app. You can easily allow an app to do some things but not all the things. I think early versions of Android had that, until the almighty Google decided that was far too much user control, as in 'control that the users have', not 'control over the users'.
As of Android 6.0, users are allowed to allow or deny certain permissions of compatible apps. The problem is that, with the way it's baked in, an app can just refuse to proceed if it sees you haven't allowed a specific permission (for example, the Antutu benchmark won't let you run the app if you don't let it access your phone status or something sketchy like that.)

The workaround is (and always has been) to root your device, install Xprivacy and block the permissions that way. Instead of the app seeing the permission blocked, they just get fed some null data or something.

The biggest problem with root now is that more and more devs are making moves to sabotage the experience for rooted devices (Netflix is the most recent example. If the play store detects your device on a custom ROM or rooted device, you can't install Netflix).

I might be a bit old school, but I believe if I spend my own money on a piece of hardware, it's MY hardware. OEMs go to unreasonable lengths to lock things down when they really shouldn't have to. It isn't as easy to install a custom OS onto a smartphone as it is to install a Linux distro on a PC, and with the market becoming increasingly mobile, we're probably going to start seeing this trend affect laptops too. Lenovo already started trying to Linux-proof their machines by blocking OS installs on their hardware. I would love to run KDE Plasma Mobile on my phone, but the effort needed to make that happen on anything KDE isn't already supporting is ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm just ranting at this point. It's nice to see that the desire for privacy isn't completely dead, and more importantly, that I'm not crazy.
User avatar
Moem
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 11783
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:14 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Moem »

Jaydemir wrote:It's nice to see that the desire for privacy isn't completely dead, and more importantly, that I'm not crazy.
I offer no guarantee with regards to that last statement. I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm not your psychiatrist, and I don't even play a psychiatrist on TV. :wink:
Image

If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!
User avatar
thx-1138
Level 8
Level 8
Posts: 2115
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Athens, Greece

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by thx-1138 »

...just read about Zimmermann's Blackphone (thanks, i wasn't aware of such a project / effort).

Was reading / watching this the other day (not cellphone / smartphone related per se...):
http://www.businessinsider.com/startup- ... ips-2017-4
....who works for Eventomatic, an events company that works with Epicenter, has had three piercings before, and her left hand barely shakes as Osterlund injects the small chip.

"I want to be part of the future," she laughs.
Shiny happy people / modern world enterpreneurs...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VleiVpmMkEE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9QZ7E9nvrY
"Entirely voluntary" is the keyphrase... :wink:

Hence, I guess i'm kinda pessimistic when it comes to privacy vs the way technology evolves...and partially a neo-Luddite - so far it's been a cat vs mouse game...(people bypassing restrictions one way or another...) - but well, since 'they' own the playground itself (hardware), we all know how this game ends in-the-not-so-distant-future (ehmmm...no, the mouse doesn't eat the cat...)
Hoser Rob
Level 16
Level 16
Posts: 6586
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:57 am

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Hoser Rob »

Jaydemir wrote:... Considering Android is running on the Linux kernel, it would only make sense for the die-hard Linux-ers to opt for this platform over the others. ....
Android may run the Linux kernel but that doesn't mean as much as that may sound. The kernel is a much smaller part of your Mint than its importance would suggest. And they're not going to be using the Linux kernel for long.

Apple OSes also use a kernel that's quite similar to Linux but it's wrapped in a very closed wrapper.

All I can say is that Ubuntu is dropping the development of Ubuntu Phone. No surprise there ... it's been a complete disaster. ANd I don't see anyone else taking up the challenge.
User avatar
AndyMH
Level 13
Level 13
Posts: 4696
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:23 pm
Location: Wiltshire

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by AndyMH »

Maybe I'm getting old, but the only use I have for google is chrome/chromium and as a search engine. Don't have a gmail account, I've got my own domain with my own personal email addresses (which I'm happy to pay for - same email addresses for over 15yrs). Use my mobile phone for, guess what, making phone calls. Yes, the odd app - kindle (tend to read more on my iphone than my kindle), nothing else I'd miss. GPS - it's built into the car.
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate
DeMus

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by DeMus »

Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Au contraire. I am completely Googled. And why not? You know they sell the data they collect, but so do all the others, and yes Moem, also those companies you trust. Only they are too much of a coward to admit it. They do it sneaky. How else do you think these companies survive by constantly make new products and don't charge for it? Selling data is the only way to make money.

When Google sells my data then somebody pays for it. I don't notice anything from that. I have an adblocker which stops all ads, I use Privacy Badger to keep spying eyes out. Let people pay, I have Google search engine (the best in the world), Gmail, Maps, Earth, Youtube and if I want so much more but this is enough for me.
sarge816
Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:04 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by sarge816 »

I've gone completely Google free on only one phone, my old Moto G (1st Edition). I rooted it and then froze and / or uninstalled everything Google, including the Playstore and Play Services. Deleted my Google account from the phone. Used F-Droid and other similar open-source app stores. Worked great, and it was about as close as I could get to a mobile Linux experience, but that phone was on Kitkat 4.4.3.

My new Moto G4 (carrier unlocked) is a totally different story. Google has gotten very smart about integrating all of their crapware directly into the Android OS and making it all interdependent. This phone is on Nougat 7.0 and I immediately unlocked the bootloader, rooted it and then used Titanium Backup to do all the cleanup of everything Google. I found out quickly that if I freeze the Play Services some things just refuse to work. For example, I lost my virtual keyboard and even my launcher/desktop and had to find new versions of these and other programs that are directly tied to Play Services being detected. I also lost my push notifications for email across ALL email apps, I've tried nearly all of them. It seems push notification is tied to the Google Cloud Messaging on Android which, SURPRISE! Refuses to work unless Google Play Services is detected. This phone has been three times the research and work of my old phone and still the best I've been able to do still isn't good enough to go completely Google Free. I've left Play Services going, which I've locked down the best I can. I have to have push notifications for my job.

You can unlock and root your phone, shut down all the tracking, freeze and uninstall everything Google, turn off your GPS, delete your Google account and use open source apps for everything (like Linux). However, it appears there are more and more things being "baked" into Android now and crippled functionality may unfortunately be the future of this path.
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

sarge816 wrote: You can unlock and root your phone, shut down all the tracking, freeze and uninstall everything Google, turn off your GPS, delete your Google account and use open source apps for everything (like Linux). However, it appears there are more and more things being "baked" into Android now and crippled functionality may unfortunately be the future of this path.
Odd. I'm using Lineage OS on my G2, the latest nightly I could get which is running Nougat. Installed without the Gapps, I'm still able to use everything except the GPS.

My guess is the ROM used in the Moto G4 had lots of Google baked in, but AOSP itself should be free from all that. Otherwise it wouldn't be an Open Source Project.
sarge816
Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:04 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by sarge816 »

Odd. I'm using Lineage OS on my G2, the latest nightly I could get which is running Nougat. Installed without the Gapps, I'm still able to use everything except the GPS.

My guess is the ROM used in the Moto G4 had lots of Google baked in, but AOSP itself should be free from all that. Otherwise it wouldn't be an Open Source Project.
You may be right, is there any way you can confirm if push notifications are working on that ROM? I've stuck with stock ROMs recently as they've done what I needed without all the inevitable bugs of custom ROMS, but I liked and used Cyanogen in the past. If I'm not mistaken, Lineage OS is a branch of this right?

I would flash a custom ROM in a second but I hesitate to lose my push notifications.
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

sarge816 wrote:
Odd. I'm using Lineage OS on my G2, the latest nightly I could get which is running Nougat. Installed without the Gapps, I'm still able to use everything except the GPS.

My guess is the ROM used in the Moto G4 had lots of Google baked in, but AOSP itself should be free from all that. Otherwise it wouldn't be an Open Source Project.
You may be right, is there any way you can confirm if push notifications are working on that ROM? I've stuck with stock ROMs recently as they've done what I needed without all the inevitable bugs of custom ROMS, but I liked and used Cyanogen in the past. If I'm not mistaken, Lineage OS is a branch of this right?

I would flash a custom ROM in a second but I hesitate to lose my push notifications.
My email is set to autoretrieve every hour, but if I refresh and immediately leave the app, I do get a notification if that means anything. It seems all is working as it should. Worst case, do a backup. Lineage is still in the nightly stage, but if you can get your hands on a CM 13 ROM you should have a nice stable Marshmallow build.
Jaydemir
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 216
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:53 pm

Re: Anyone completely Un-Googled?

Post by Jaydemir »

sarge816 wrote:
Odd. I'm using Lineage OS on my G2, the latest nightly I could get which is running Nougat. Installed without the Gapps, I'm still able to use everything except the GPS.

My guess is the ROM used in the Moto G4 had lots of Google baked in, but AOSP itself should be free from all that. Otherwise it wouldn't be an Open Source Project.
You may be right, is there any way you can confirm if push notifications are working on that ROM? I've stuck with stock ROMs recently as they've done what I needed without all the inevitable bugs of custom ROMS, but I liked and used Cyanogen in the past. If I'm not mistaken, Lineage OS is a branch of this right?

I would flash a custom ROM in a second but I hesitate to lose my push notifications.
My email is set to autoretrieve every hour, but if I refresh and immediately leave the app, I do get a notification if that means anything. It seems all is working as it should. Worst case, do a backup. Lineage is still in the nightly stage, but if you can get your hands on a CM 13 ROM you should have a nice stable Marshmallow build.
Post Reply

Return to “Open chat”