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Life Without Google & Chrome

It’s been almost three years since I switched entirely to Firefox and two years since I made DuckDuckGo my default search engine in all my browsers. 

It wasn’t easy and the change happened in phases. 

I started using Google Chrome the day the beta version was released to test it. I soon became an advocate of its use. It wasn’t an easy change. My bank website didn’t work and required me to use Internet Explorer. Similar useful websites didn't work well with the new browser either. However, people started using it because it was the best out there, even better than Firefox … at the time.

However, in recent years with the increase of privacy awareness, and knowing how Google interconnects all products and shares personal data, I decided to look for an alternative. I didn't think I needed a complete replacement but something that could let me switch over if I wanted to.

Even though I know people find it a fair trade to give their data in exchange for the benefits that Google provides with their services (Gmail, Google Maps, Google Analytics), I prefer to keep my private life private.

Firefox

To get to the point of using Firefox for all my personal and work-related activities, it took me something like 4 to 5 years. I’ve tried to switch numerous times because I liked Mozilla's approach to privacy and contributions to open source. However, it wasn’t as good as Google Chrome.

Each month, I spent more and more time with it, but I’d eventually go back to Chrome after something blocked my regular workflow or productivity.

It wasn’t until one day I switched entirely to Linux that I started using it full-time. I still use Chrome to test browser compatibility issues, and sometimes I prefer its JavaScript debugging tools. Otherwise, I’m pretty much always using Firefox for everything I do.

A big game-changer was Multi-Account Containers; this sealed the deal for me. There’s nothing close to Chrome (yet) that can compete with this. Having the ability to log into different accounts in the same browser is very handy for me.

Now, every opportunity I have, I encourage friends and family to download Firefox and use it.

DuckDuckGo

Changing to DuckDuckGo was a more natural change than Firefox. At first, I started to use it by typing duckduckgo.com in the browser to find what I needed, but that didn’t work for me because most of the time I need to find something fast.


What I did, which was a significant change and I suffered for a while, was to change the default search engine in all my browsers.


At first, the look of the results were off to me because I was so used to Google style, but after a couple of months, I didn’t even think about it. I’d type my search term and look over the results to find what I needed.


To this day I still say, “I Googled it,” but in reality, I use DuckDuckGo for all my searches.


I have it on my browsers, even on my phone. I’ve gotten so used to it that when I use someone else’s computer, I open duckduckgo.com instead of Google and I always get strange stares.


Conclusion

I still read articles about people de-googling themselves and how hard the change was, but I think that, like any other habit, it is a change that needs to be made by taking baby steps

Juan Olvera

About the author - Juan Olvera

Front-end Web Developer at adWhite, CSS junkie, JavaScript hipster and Python wannabe