Fed up with Big Tech? Find out how to get your privacy back, explore alternatives to Google – USA TODAY

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Google, Siri and Alexa will not be created equal

Not all voice assistants can deal with the identical requests. We put Siri, Alexa and Google to the take a look at.


Years in the past, we searched the online, purchased new devices, and typed in our e-mail addresses with out a lot thought. So far as accounts went, “Hey if it is free, signal me up,” we thought.

Quick ahead to now, and you’ll’t log on or activate the information with out listening to concerning the management Huge Tech has on our lives – and the rising resentment round it.

We’re not the one ones noticing. Most likely as a consequence of authorities initiatives, tech firms are making adjustments to handle these issues. Now you can password defend the web page that reveals all of your Google searches and different exercise.

Right here’s learn how to set it up:

  • If you’re signed in to your Google account, navigate to the Exercise settings.
  • On the left-hand pane, click on on Exercise controls.
  • On the backside of the Net & App Exercise block, click on on Handle my exercise.
  • Subsequent to Google protects your privateness and safety, click on on Handle My Exercise verification.

In the event you personal an iPhone, it’s simpler than ever to see what information the apps you employ are accumulating and block that information from being shared. Faucet or click on for 5 iPhone safety settings everybody ought to find out about.

Individuals could also be lastly waking as much as the truth that when a product is free, they’re in actual fact, the product.

Huge Tech: Do you belief it?

I hear from callers to my nationwide radio present and readers from my web site and newsletters on a regular basis who say they’re uninterested in Huge Tech firms, their energy, and their management. It acquired me questioning, how widespread is this sense? I put collectively a ballot and despatched it out to subscribers of my free newsletters, and 6,351 folks responded.

Right here’s a telling stat for you: 86% say they now not belief Huge Tech firms. As a rustic, we notice how a lot energy and affect they’ve on our on a regular basis lives.

When’s the final time you bought by means of a day with out choosing up your iPhone or Android smartphone? What about your Apple or Microsoft laptop? Purchasing on Amazon or scrolling by means of posts on Fb?

The survey discovered that 76% of those that responded use Google day by day, adopted by Microsoft (60%), Apple (49%), and Fb (45%). Over 40% store on Amazon or use Amazon owned-products just like the Echo day by day; 89% are lively consumers on Amazon.com.

Solely a mere 1.34%, or 85 of these polled say they don’t work together with no less than a type of firms every single day.

Who’s watching and listening?

When you have a wise speaker at dwelling, I guess you could have questioned, “Is it listening to me on a regular basis?” It’s one of many causes I unplugged my Amazon Echo and caught it within the storage.

I requested these polled in the event that they assume sensible audio system take heed to what you say the entire time as an alternative of solely if you use the “wake” phrases. A whopping 82.73% mentioned “on a regular basis.”

Amazon, Apple and Google will let you know their synthetic intelligence assistants solely pay attention for the wake phrases, like “Alexa,” “Siri” and “Hey, Google.” One concern, although, is how typically sensible audio system are by accident triggered.

A 2020 research from Ruhr College Bochum in Germany confirmed a mixed 1,000 phrases might set off Alexa (“election,” “a letter”), Google Dwelling (“OK, cool,” “Okay, you understand”), Siri (“hey Jerry,” “hey, severely”) and Microsoft’s Cortana (“Montana,” “frittata”).

Nervous your sensible assistant hears an excessive amount of? Faucet or click on to cease all of your sensible units from listening to you and recording what you say. An excellent rule of thumb is to maintain sensible audio system out of bedrooms and bogs.

Almost 60% of ballot respondents worry their smartphones are spying on them and say they’ve skilled the phenomenon after they’re having a dialog about one thing after which noticed an advert on-line for that actual product.

Earlier than you bounce to considering your cellphone’s microphone is recording what you say, there might be different causes for the coincidence. Perhaps you looked for one thing related earlier than, or somebody in your own home did. Your private home’s IP tackle is used to focus on you with advertisements, in any case.

To see the remainder of the survey’s findings, take a look at the complete outcomes on my web site.

What about Google options?

Right here’s one of the vital conclusive solutions from my survey: 92% of respondents assume Google is aware of an excessive amount of details about their private lives.

Give it some thought. Many people use Google for our e-mail, video conferences, doc storage, internet browser and way more. Faucet or click on right here to see all the pieces Google is aware of about you with one fast search.

You’ve got nice options you wish to step outdoors the Google sphere.

The way to search like Google


In contrast to Google, DuckDuckGo’s complete gimmick is its lack of person monitoring, in addition to an organization coverage of no focused advertisements or related outcomes primarily based in your search historical past.

On the one hand, this implies your outcomes shall be much less tailor-made to your particular wants and pursuits. Then again, these natural outcomes might make it easier to discover issues that the Google algorithm would possibly in any other case bury.


StartPage calls itself “the world’s most non-public search engine.” The Netherlands-based firm acknowledges that on the subject of search, it’s arduous to beat Google. That’s why they use the facility of Google with out passing alongside person monitoring.

StartPage pays Google for using its search algorithm however strips out the monitoring and promoting that often comes together with it. You get a Google-like expertise, together with the promise that your information won’t ever be saved, tracked, or offered.


When you have little ones at dwelling, think about Kiddle. It’s not affiliated with Google, however Google Secure Search powers it.

The way to browse like Chrome


Is Google Chrome monitoring you?

Is Google Chrome monitoring you? Properly, it is sophisticated. Elizabeth Keatinge explains.


The default choices for Macs and PCs, Safari and Edge, are strong selections — and burn up a lot much less of your laptop’s assets than Chrome. In the event you’re searching for completely different options, Firefox and Tor are strong contenders.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox predates Chrome — however this browser is not any dinosaur. Firefox’s lively developer group ceaselessly releases new updates and add-ons. Firefox routinely blocks third-party cookies by default and routinely notifies you if you happen to go to an internet site that’s been hit by a knowledge breach.

You’ll additionally discover lots of the similar add-ons that make Chrome so strong. Firefox makes use of much less CPU than Chrome sometimes does and is able to loading some web sites sooner as well.

Tor browser

Designed as an “encrypted browser,” Tor makes use of particular coding to maintain your looking habits secret from prying eyes and advertisers. It’s so dependable, in actual fact, that individuals residing in authoritarian states have used it to interrupt by means of censorship by putting in the browser on USB drives.

Tor routes your web visitors by means of nameless servers in numerous elements of the world, making it troublesome for advert trackers, serps and even governments to know you might be and what you’re as much as. Simply don’t count on each web site on the market to play good along with your browser.

The way to message like Gmail

Gmail retains monitor of issues like shopping for habits, which may make switching to a brand new mail service appear worthwhile. These options are straightforward to select up and grasp and lack lots of the privateness drawbacks present in Google’s mail consumer.

E-mail getting you down? Faucet or click on for 5 inbox hacks, together with methods to banish monitoring and unsolicited mail.


Mailfence is an encrypted e-mail service with quite a lot of distinctive safety features. Customers have the flexibility so as to add digital signatures to their messages, which ensures that your emails are from you to your recipients.

Mailfence additionally presents a collection of doc instruments like G Suite’s Docs and Sheets, together with a calendar and entry to third-party mail companies so you’ll be able to create e-mail addresses utilizing your personal area. It’s an awesome choice for small enterprise house owners and unusual customers alike.


Protonmail is a well-liked choice for customers looking for absolute privateness. The corporate relies in Switzerland, a nation well-known for its privateness requirements.

In contrast to most e-mail companies, Protonmail doesn’t require any private information to arrange your account. If anybody had been hypothetically in a position to compromise your information, they wouldn’t have the ability to glean any private info aside from what you’re sending in messages.

There’s a restricted free model and a extra strong paid model, and you should use the service on your web site’s area.


Sign is an unbiased non-profit that goals to create a completely safe, encrypted cross-platform messaging app. It’s acquired state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption. Sign guarantees no advertisements and no trackers, ever.

Add that on high of its value, free, and you can begin to see why Sign is the go-to messaging app for the privacy-minded. You will get Sign on all the pieces from Home windows to macOS to Linux in addition to iOS and Android.

The way to watch movies with out YouTube

YouTube is one other device Google makes use of to construct a digital advert profile for its customers. Nearly as good as it might be to maneuver to an alternate, none of the most well-liked choices actually match the standard of what YouTube has to supply.

That’s why these options both work hand-in-hand with YouTube itself or have options that present one thing YouTube doesn’t.


Designed for sooner load instances and fewer impression in your browser, you should use Hooktube to look and browse movies similar to you’d on YouTube itself with out ever visiting the Google-owned web site.

You’ll be able to watch YouTube hyperlinks that different folks ship you by merely altering “youtube.com” within the URL to “hooktube.com.”

We’d suggest visiting the positioning this manner more often than not. Hooktube’s  Keep away from the “Trending movies” part  – it may well generally promote questionable content material like conspiracy theories and faux information as a result of content material choice relies on shares slightly than curation.


Vimeo is a longtime competitor to YouTube, and regardless of by no means surpassing it, it nonetheless holds its personal.  It boasts 280 million viewers monthly, together with a a lot lighter server load that makes importing movies simpler. When you have long-form movies or self-made films you wish to share, it’s an ideal place to host them.

Vimeo permits for higher-quality movies than YouTube does, too. Unbiased filmmakers even use the platform to host films for on-line distribution.

The way to navigate with out Google Maps

Google Maps is so large that many third-party mapping apps truly pull map information from it. That mentioned, if you happen to’re utilizing an alternate that doesn’t share your information with Google, they aren’t going to see your motion and exercise.

What you employ as an alternative relies on which working system you employ.

Apple Maps

When Apple and Google Maps break up up, it was a serious controversy. Apple Maps comes customary on each iOS system and it now has extra strong options than ever.

Apple Maps emphasizes person privateness by not monitoring your searches past your system. DuckDuckGo truly makes use of Apple Maps for its personal mapping program. You’ll have entry to Apple Maps by default if you happen to’re utilizing an iPhone or Mac, however Android and PC customers can entry Apple Maps by way of DuckDuckGo.


A light-weight and highly effective mapping consumer, HERE WeGo customers give it excessive marks for its dedication to privateness and velocity.

This software presents variations for almost each platform, together with iOS, Android, PC and Mac. HERE WeGo masses instructions and maps a bit faster than Google’s choice however received’t run fairly as quick as Apple Maps on Mac techniques.

Google might dominate the online, nevertheless it’s far out of your solely choice. You’ll be able to change to a few of these options and relaxation straightforward, figuring out all of your web and privateness wants are coated.

Want a hand with a pesky printer, sluggish web or on-line enterprise?  Publish your tech questions for concrete solutions you’ll be able to belief from me and different tech execs. Go to my Q&A Discussion board and get tech assist now.

Study all the most recent know-how on the Kim Komando Present, the nation’s largest weekend radio discuss present. Kim takes calls and dispenses recommendation on at this time’s digital life-style, from smartphones and tablets to on-line privateness and information hacks. For her day by day suggestions, free newsletters and extra, go to her web site at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed on this column are the creator’s and don’t essentially mirror these of USA TODAY.

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