I am giving up Google for lent

Google search is scaryI have decided to give up Google for lent – and ever after that maybe, I gotta see. Why? Not because they are evil (even though they might be – I have no idea), but they are certainly scary.

What triggered this was a recent epiphany that Google just knows too much about me. I am already having my main private email account with them, and I dont think I can change this anytime soon (well, I could, but I cant be bothered). But then, my emails tend not to be too private. After all, there are recipients, and you never know what they do with the mails you send them, so at least I tend to be carefulwhat I write.

Google searches are different though. By the very nature of it they are highly personal, because of course I will search for things that interest or concern me. I mean, Google is probably better informed about my life, desires, and thoughts than a priest directly after absolution. So for example, lately I have been getting loads of ads about tendonitis, sport shoes (barefoot running), together with the weight loss ads that I have been getting for over a year.

What causes this? Well, the little black @gmail.com address at the top right of my search window that means that (almost) every single search I have made over the last years can be directly attributed to me! So why dont I log out? Well, I cant. Google has too many good apps that I am using, notably Google Reader, Google Mail (even though this I usually use via an app), and Google Docs. Those apps that make it too much of a hassle to log in and out of Google every time I make a sensitive search.

I have toyed with using two different browsers, one logged in, one not. The problem is, there are not that many good browsers around, at least not on the MacBook Air that I am using. For those who have never used one of those computers: it is a beautiful piece of kit, and it looks great in the shop, but it really and thoroughly sucks. It is just over-engineered, and there were too many corners cut when putting cramming this beauty into its corset. Try to open Safari & Chrome at the same time, and you will find it coming to a screeching halt (assuming you also have Dropbox, Skype, Launchbar and all those other memory hogs open that you just need). Not good.

So two days ago I finally did it: I gave Google search a boot, and I am exclusively searching with Bing (even in Chrome!). So far this is fine – whilst optically I still prefer Google (old habits die hard) the search results seem equally good. So throughout lent I will evaluate and after Easter I will take a decision. It is funny though: I am sure that Microsoft is equally scary – it is simply because they don’t have any good applications that force me to remain logged in all the time that I moved my most valuable activities to them rather than keeping them at Google…

ht BarbeyGirl for the title of the post that I have blatantly stolen (she is giving up Monsanto though)

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