There are many pro’s and con’s to Google’s vast offering of free cloud services. If you decide you no longer want Google to house your data, there are alternatives. The only drawback is losing the single signon across the services. To some degree this can be mitigated by using a browser based password manager such as LastPass. This article will describe the alternatives to some of the Google cloud services and how to move your data to the alternative service.
I have been a strong Google advocate for many years and as such I used many Google services. I embarked on migration away from Google for a few reasons. The primary reasons are GMail, GDocs, and persistent sync/notification issues. I used GMail, GCal, GContacts, GPhotos, GBookmarks, GReader, GDocs, GTalk, G+, GSites, GVoice, GVideo (YouTube), and others. It is also noteworthy to mention I use many Apple products including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. A well documented and strained relationship exists between Apple and Google that will only increase as they compete in each others product sandboxes, as shown by the iOS Maps vs Google Maps app ordeal on the iPhone. That being said, the “Apple Way” makes some things simpler and provides some added benefits (for me). Your mileage may vary.
The first thing you need to do is evaluate the alternatives for each Google service in use. Decide which of the alternatives you like the best, then start the migration. You may even end up keeping some services at Google. One important criteria for my choices was the ability to view the target services data easily across all he devices I use. Another criteria was that it should be free.
A quick word about Apple iCloud. You will see I chose this route for several of the web services. iCloud may not be right for you. Some of the iCloud benefits:
- No advertising. Apple is not snooping your data to deliver inline ads.
- Instant notification of email on the iPhone and Mac.
- Ability to use strong native Mail application on Mac and iPhone with greater ease/efficiency.
- Mail, Contacts, and Calendar all stay in sync across devices and in the cloud (if you access it via the web).
- Web version of the apps look and feel like the desktop versions.
- Extremely aasy to setup on all devices.
There are other alternatives such as Microsoft Live, and Yahoo!. It doesn’t matter which you choose, just as long as you are happy with how it works and its aesthetics. If you don’t like advertising, don’t choose one that places ads around your content, etc.
In this series of posts, I will explain how I handled each Google service, starting with Google Mail.