Thoughts on using Google in 2019?

+1 for proton mail. I avoid Google as much as possible.


I’ll just leave this here…


I work in healthcare, where maintaining privacy is not only an ethical priority, it’s also a matter of law. The healthcare IT folks are a very knowledgable bunch, and are in the envious position of trying to balance maintenance of strict privacy standards with data with physician/employee/admin addiction to devices an easy workflows. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit of stress involved.

Google is forbidden in our institution. Sort of. Google makes a nice product, and their web services are second to none. Their approach to security (I.e. the ability to protect against unauthorized access of data) is just as good or better than any other company. But their approach to privacy is, at best, cavalier. It has to be for them to succeed. Transmission of data is encrypted. Data cannot be encrypted on their servers (unless they, too, have the key), because they need to be able to see/read it. That doesn’t sit well with healthcare institutions.

The good news is, other companies have valuable services to offer- DuckDuckGo is an excellent search engine, and even Apple has made significant strides to match Google-like services. The bottom line is, it’s Google’s job to aggregate, manipulate, and sell your data. The cliche is worn but true- YOU are the product. So our IT folks understand this, but they also understand that people want to use Google services. Their approach is, ‘if nobody ever mentions Google, then we’re good’. When folks want to use Google, our IT staff will require that their devices are locked down with MDM’s, and restrictions are placed on certain services because they don’t trust the user. This is the general policy for all devices, but restriction of services are more stringent with Google products. NONE of the members of administration are allowed to use Google services or android devices. It’s almost like they’re acting as a healthcare TSA. Granted, data is king these days, and plenty of companies have been and will continue collecting data, but not to the scale that Google does. And I certainly don’t buy into the adage that ‘I’m already being monitored, I may as well just play along’. That’s like saying ‘I have to die of something, I may as well smoke that 2 packs a day’. I can still protect myself.

Personally, I don’t use Google. I don’t like their business model, and I don’t trust them. They’ve lied about their business and promises of privacy multiple times, and they continue to do so. Chromesync is everywhere, like our schools and likely with any GSuite product. And yes, Google says that they don’t sell your information gathered from GSuite. But at this point, I’m not sure they can maintain separation of the data gathered via GSuite from all of the other data they collect- their methods and processes are much too intertwined to pull it off. They’re past the point of no return.

I don’t like their approach to doing business. Their evilness was on parade with Android when the iPhone came out. That doesn’t sit well with me. They’re not quite as evil as FB (I haven’t had a FB account for ~5 years- IMO, it’s a waste of time and a privacy nightmare). And now, in the home, they want to monitor your every move. Not for me.

I like Apple’s approach to privacy. Although not perfect, maintaining privacy is definitely a high priority in everything they do. In the end, I believe they will benefit the most. Apple has decided to eschew the easy route, and this has forced them to think and work harder to achieve their goal. The end-product will be much better than anything on the market today, I hope!