OK, so I didn’t completely free myself from Googles’ grip. But I did manage to migrate at least 75%. I could meet a higher number if:
- I could find a replacement web calendar that supports Outlook 2010 synchronization (for a single work calendar)
- I was willing to let old forum posts that have linked pictures die with “image not found” for other readers.
So the bottom line is I am still using Google Calendar (for a single calendar), Google Talk (for a few friends instant messaging), Google Picasa (for old forum posts) and Google Voice (because it happens to be awesome and irreplaceable IMHO).
Here is an overview of where I moved everything:
- Google Mail -> Apple Mail (iCloud)
- Google Calendar -> Apple iCal (iCloud), except for 1 work calendar
- Google Contacts -> Apple Contacts (iCloud), except for those used by Google Talk
- Google Talk -> AIM, except for a few friends
- Google Photos -> Flickr (Yahoo)
- Google Bookmarks -> Delicious
- Google Reader -> subpug
- Google Docs -> Microsoft SkyDrive
- Google Plus -> Facebook
- Google Sites -> Evernote
- Google Voice -> Google Voice
- Google Video (YouTube) -> Vimeo
Since the migration I have been completely happy with Mail and Calendar synchronization and alerting, which is the one thing that was most frustrating before. In Jobs-speak, “it just works”. And it reality it does.
What am I missing? Nothing really. The single sign on aspect of the Google provided services was nice, but the features I gained at the competing services (especially with iCloud, SkyDrive, and Evernote) far out-weigh it. Single sign on becomes a non issue when you use services like LastPass which can securely sign on for you.
Google Photos (Picasa)
Choosing where to migrate photos was another tricky one. I use Shutterfly to share all personal and family shots with family and friends. I used Picasa for event shots (i.e.: car shows, etc) and drop box kind of things (ie: single use web posts) that I wanted to share with the general public via forums, etc. In choosing an alternative, which there are many, I looked at various features such as ease of sharing and copyright retention.
The two that really stand out are Flickr and 500px. I ultimately chose Flickr to replace Picasa. I moved all the event albums to Flickr. For the time being I have kept the drop box things on Picasa, until I can find a better alternative (which may be a second Flickr account). And moving these from Picasa somewhere else will break the links in forums posts. I don’t really want to go back to find and edit them. The only drawback of Flickr are the limits imposed on free accounts.
I know there are are other ways to host and share public photos. The bottom line is finding one that meets your requirements. You could use:
- iCloud Photo Stream
- Or move to another service like Flickr or 500px.
- Or a slew of other online photo sharing services.
For now I’m sort-of content with where things are and I’m only using two Google services (Picasa and Calendar). I may just kill off Picasa as well and if anyone asks for an old posts pictures, I’ll re-share them from somewhere else.
Migration to the new service is pretty simple. Create an account then upload the photos. Hopefully you have them stored locally, otherwise you will first need to download them all from Picasa.
Next up: Google Video (YouTube)