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 Reader may be one of the best RSS feed aggregators out there. RSS is how I get most of my daily news, tech, world, local, or otherwise. In my quest to be Google free, I looked at several alternatives. One very good one is NetVibes, but ultimately I decided it is too busy and too feature rich for my needs.
So I moved all my RSS feeds to subpug, a very lightweight, very clean, login-less, aggregator. Yes, login-less. There is no signup, no login! The feed information is stored in a browser cookie, and you can email a link to yourself so you can view the same feeds in another browser on another machine. subpug maintains the feed lists and what viewed and not viewed so you are in sync across browsers / devices.
subpug also lets you filter some articles out of a feed. For example, you like GeekDad (http://www.wired.com/geekdad), but don’t like the “Dork Tower” articles. subpug allows you to filter them out.
And subpug has the standard fare of sharing options so you can share something you like easily. subpug is little known underdog to say the least.
subpug does have two flaws though.
- It tops out at 100 unread articles. So if you have some busy feeds, you will miss the oldest ones as they fall off the radar. So you’ll need to stay on top of it or drop the busy feeds.
- You cant export your subscriptions should you want to move them to another reader. So when you import your feeds, hang on to the import file!
How to export your Google Reader RSS feed information:
- In Google Reader, go to Settings > Import / Export.
- Click the link “Download your data through Takeout”. Takeout is short for Google Takeout (a data liberation tool).
- You will be asked to sign in to your Google account again.
- Click the “Choose Services” tab.
- Select the Reader service.
- Click the “Create Archive” button.
- Once the download is ready, click the “Download” button.
- You will be asked to sign in to your Google account once again. Do so and a zip file should be downloaded to your desktop (or default download location). It will be name “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
- On your desktop, unzip this file. Each service you exported in Takeout will have a folder.
- Look for the Reader folder and open it.
- Locate “subscriptions.xml”. It is an OPML file. You can use this as an import source at most RSS reader sites.
How to import your RSS feed information into subpug:
- Open your browser and go to subpug.
- Click “Read your subscriptions” in the top right.
- Since you haven’t visited before they should you a quick popup explaining the buttons. Once you review them, click the “OKAY, LETS GO!” button.
- Click the Edit Subscriptions button (far right).
- Click the “Import OPML” button in the “Add a Subscription” section. A file browser will popup. Find the “subscription.xml” file you exported from Google and select it.
- Click Choose. Your subscriptions will be imported.
- Now click the “Normal View” button or “List View” button, whichever you prefer.
That’s it. To return to sub pug and read more at another time, simply open your browser and open http://read.subpug.com. The “Edit Subscriptions” page has a section called “View your subscriptions on another device”. You can put your email address in and click “Send Me The Link” to open your customized subpug feed subscriptions on any other device. You only need to open the link once per device to set the tracking cookie on the devices browser. From there on out, it will know it’s you (unless you delete your cookies!).
Next up: Google Search