As I mentioned in my earlier post Rodney’s Rules of Digital Order (or “Wait, I was using that!”), I’ve come to the realization that over the past few years I’ve become addicted to the wide range of Google services. My addiction didn’t happen overnight. First, I used Google for search, and that was great. Then, I decided to set up a Gmail account. “Well,” I figured, “since I use Gmail and I DO use Google for all my searches, why don’t I use iGoogle as my start page?” Then along came Google Reader and I was in love. I’d used several standalone RSS readers for a while, but because I was increasingly mobile, I needed a single point from which I could access everything. Then came the Android smartphone. Then came Google Earth and Google Maps. Oh, and how can I neglect to mention Google Chrome? Oh, and Picasa! And Google Groups! And Google Scholar! and… and… and…
But I could switch to a different service for any of these things at any time. I wasn’t hooked! Not me! Not at all!! It’s just that Google has made it so easy, so comfortable, so convenient for me, why would I want to go anywhere else? Then, when they announced the shutdown of Google Reader, it became evident that I really did have a problem, and as I devised Rodney’s Rules of Digital Order, it was crystal clear that something had to be done about my Google addiction…
Now, I’m doing something about the problem. My first move was to switch to a new RSS reader and after doing some research (and being finally convinced by Alan Buckingham at ghacks.net) I’ve decided to go with The Old Reader for the time being. It’s basically a newfangled old-fashioned Google Reader with a minor twist. Plus, I like the general attitude of the site, which helps a lot. I’d played around with NetVibes and Feedly but I wasn’t totally satisfied with the navigation and interface and The Old Reader definitely meets my needs (for now).
Next, I’m going to ditch Google Chrome and go back to Firefox as my primary browser for Mac, PC, and Android and use Puffin on the iPad (go ahead and pay for the darn thing. It’s worth it!) I had officially jumped ship from Firefox to Chrome in October of 2012, but if I’m going to break my Google addiction, I’ve got to leave Chrome behind.
I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a few web searches lately, and now it looks like I’ll need to make that transition too… (That’s gonna be a hard one to do)
As I look at this, I realize that it’s going to take some time and some serious effort to complete this dramatic shift from the way I’ve been doing things, but it’s something that I need to do. Does that mean I won’t use Google at all? No. It simply means that I won’t be relying on Google to provide the answers to all my problems and will employ many different sources to craft unique solutions to fit my own needs… and isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Isn’t that flexibility one of the things that make me love the web so much?
Google made me lazy. I’m taking back control of my Internet.