Built by the tech non-profit — Mozilla — Firefox is “internet for people, not profit.” Firefox blocks online ad trackers, and Mozilla claims that it uses 30% less memory than Chrome. There’s also an easy way to move over your bookmarks, autofilled addresses, passwords, and preferences from Chrome to Firefox, if you’re looking to make the switch.
DuckDuckGo bills itself as the “the search engine that doesn’t track you.” Where Google uses data it collects to create highly-targeted search results, DuckDuckGo collects no data on its users, allowing for an ad-free experience. The downside is that without that data, DuckDuckGo can't personalize its search results for you. The upside is that it means there's no kind of filter bubble; everybody searching for news or information gets the exact same results.
FastMail has hosted email for more than 15 years. Fans like FastMail for its speed and design, across phones and the web. Also, a switch to FastMail means Google's AI won't be reading through your past emails to finish your next sentence for you.
FastMail offers 30 days of mail hosting for free, but then costs between $3 and $9 per month.
Quip — which is now owned by Salesforce — may not be privacy focused, but it does tout better collaboration features than Google Docs, especially in the workplace.
Bret Taylor, a former top Facebook exec and the co-founder of Quip Bret Taylor once said on Quora that the company is just as much about “communication as it is about documents.” The goal isn’t to create a doc and email it off to a colleague. Full collaboration within the document is the idea behind Quip.
For a team of five, Quip costs $30 per month and $12 for each additional person.
Another document app to consider is Notion. It, too, is focused on collaboration.
Airtable is a relatively new, user-friendly spreadsheet product that's taking Silicon Valley by storm. Beyond just your regular old spreadsheets, you can use it as a kind of database, too, putting photos and other information into each cell. Some people even use it as an inventory tracker for a retail store, or a customer relationship managements system for their office.
Airtable has a free version, but moves up in price with more features — notably more storage and increased rows per spreadsheet.
You may miss your PewDiePie, but consider Vimeo's ad-free experience and advanced privacy options. Also, Vimeo lets creators password protect their videos and share them only with their followers, if they'd like to keep their content exclusive.
For creators, Vimeo has a free "basic" option, but starts costing money for increased storage and advanced features.
Google Drive may have enticed you with more free storage (15GB of free space compared to Dropbox's 2GB), but did you know Dropbox was one of a few companies that received the Electronic Frontier Foundation's five-star rating for protecting user information? Dropbox edged out Google (which won a four-star rating) because it stands up to national security letter gag orders, informing customers that authorities have requested their data.
Beyond the free version of Dropbox, it costs users $8.25 per month for 1 TB of storage.
Simply put, the free Telegram app is a more privacy-focused chat tool. Telegram has end-to-end encryption, while Google Hangouts does not. It's good for people with lots of friends, too: Some people prefer it to Hangouts and Facebook Messenger for their group chats.
Of course, if you don't dig Telegram, there's always the similarly privacy-focused (and similarly free) Signal.
OpenStreetMap is an open source project started in 2004 and maintained by a community of volunteers. OpenStreetMap has no mobile app but can be accessed from the web browser. It's also open (and free) for developers to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Unsplash provides access to beautiful stock photography that's free and available for personal or commercial use under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. Google Images offers a filter to ensure photos fall under this license, though it is an advanced search setting that must be selected. Unsplash images are "gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers," according to its site.
In a recent article comparing flight-buying websites — including Google Flights — Business Insider's Olivia Young found Skyscanner to be the best. Why? Young said she found Skyscanner to be, "almost always the cheapest due to its multi-city searches, price trend tracker, and secret 'everywhere' feature."
In a recent article, our own Brandt Ranj said Dark Sky had become his go-to weather app, giving him up-to-the-minute data on precipitation so he knows exactly when to leave his house for work. Ranj noted he trusts Dark Sky's weather predictions so much that it "actually helps dictate what I wear and what I choose to do on any given day."
Dark Sky has a one-time cost of $3.99.