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Degoogle

My personal checklist and research to de-google my stuff.

Motivations

  • The Cambridge Analytica revelations (blog post)
  • The Purism Librem 5 phone is on my watch list. If released, it will be a GNU/Linux phone (not Android) so might as well prepare to leave the Android ecosystem while I wait.

Main things that have been keeping me on the stock Google Pixel 3 Android OS:

  • Google Fi as cell carrier, and potential loss of features running an open source Android like LineageOS (mainly, ability to switch towers between T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular at will; WiFi Assistant I can care less about).
  • Unlimited photo storage with Google Photos for a couple years with the Pixel phone purchase. But if I self-host my own photo cloud this is really a moot point.

Progress

Google Service % Migrated Replacement Service Remarks
Photos 100% Nextcloud (self) All Google Photos migrated, Camera Backup enabled
Contacts 100% Nextcloud (self) Automatic sync between Android and Thunderbird (desktop)
Calendar 100% Nextcloud (self) Automatic sync between Android and Thunderbird (Lightning Calendar add-on)
Drive 100% Nextcloud (self)
Gmail 80% Rackspace Mail Moved kirsle.net from GSuite to Rackspace; minimizing use of Gmail.com account WIP
Search 100% DuckDuckGo Switched to DDG a long time ago as default search provider in Firefox.
Maps 0% n/a No real competitor to Maps
YouTube 0% n/a No real competitor to YouTube

Checklist

  • Experiment first with old Pixel on LineageOS without Google Play Services nor microG. Install microG only as a last resort to test the crucial apps that didn't work otherwise.
  • Leave Google Fi for a normal carrier (T-Mobile or Sprint)
  • Install/configure a home server to provide crucial services:
    • Nextcloud for Contacts, Calendar, Camera Backup and File/Photo Storage
    • Personal OpenVPN Server
  • Install LineageOS on primary Android phone I can't do without Chromecast support for Netflix/Hulu, so second best option is to remove Google accounts from my phone but keep the Google Play Services for Chromecast support.
    • Change 2FA methods to TOTP app instead of Google push notification.
    • Google Voice: forward text messages to email.
    • Add Gmail address to a standard email app (Librem Mail on F-Droid)
    • Chromecast from apps still works fine.
    • Google Home app can still manage Chromecasts on the local network w/o account.
    • Google WiFi: requires a Google account to manage the WiFi routers. For this I installed Android-x86 in VirtualBox on my laptop, if I need to manage my WiFi I can boot that up and use the app.
  • Migrate out of Google's ecosystem
    • Download latest export from Google Takeout
    • Upload contacts to Nextcloud server
    • Purge all photos from Google Photos (move all photos to Nextcloud)
    • Clear out my Google Drive of all files (move important ones to Nextcloud)
    • Clear all data from Google Assistant and other places
    • Opt-out of all data services and ad personalization from Google.
    • Move kirsle.net email from Google to an external provider
    • Migrate accounts linked to my Gmail address to Kirsle.net address
    • Wind down usage of Gmail account (unsubscribe from any mailing lists, get down to Inbox Zero where only Google themselves will ever send me mail to my Gmail account)

Google-free Android

See Self Hosting for my experiments running LineageOS without Google Services and the options for self-hosting crucial web services.

App Compatibility w/o Play Services

Without Google Play Services some apps won't function correctly. I need to make sure the apps that are important to me work or have workable solutions.

See also: my App Compatibility Table