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Why not store all your digital eggs in a Google Basket

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Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Google builds many products, all accessible through one account. In fact, with a few exceptions (YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps), you can’t actually use most of the company’s core services without creating an account in the first place.

Needless to say, having all these services under one roof is very convenient. However, I’ve never felt 100% comfortable doing it all with one Google account. Let me tell you why and what I’m doing about it.

The Problem of Keeping All Your Eggs in Google’s Basket

Edgar Cervantes / Artificial Human Authority

I know it’s an irrational fear, but I’ve always had potential concerns about what could happen to my Google account. I realized very early on that a large part of my digital life would be lost if I lost access to my Google account, whether it was hacked or Google closed it for some reason.

If you lose access to your Google Account, a large part of your digital life will be lost.

This means you won’t have backups of your Gmail inbox, Play Store purchases, YouTube profile, Google Chrome browsing data, Drive files, YouTube Music, and Google Photos. So if you were using all of Mountain View’s huge offerings, you’d have to start your digital presence from virtually scratch.

Google is no stranger to unwarranted bans and shutdowns

Edgar Cervantes / Artificial Human Authority

However, these concerns are not entirely unfounded, as Google’s algorithm-based approach to enforcement means that mistakes are not uncommon, and people can get their accounts banned for no reason.

As one Redditor discovered in 2018, there are cases where Google takes a heavy-handed approach to banning when it seems problematic. The user returned the device to Google, but the company charged his account anyway. When they disputed the transaction and decided to issue a chargeback to their bank (apparently after contacting the company several times), Google banned them.

Stories of Google account holders being unfairly or mistakenly banned are endless.

We’ve also seen some egregious examples of Google banning accounts that aren’t directly related to terms of service violations. For example, the company reportedly banned his game developer Ali Nadalizadeh’s personal account on mobile, as well as his account on business related to his game studio Raya Games on mobile. This false ban comes months after the former Raya Games developer had his personal account first banned. Nadalizadeh said his request to contest the ban was denied, but Google accidentally reinstated the banned account after the story went viral on his Reddit.

Similarly, Google unfairly banned a user for emote spam while streaming YouTuber Markipliers in November 2019, which the host explicitly encouraged. And these bans applied to the entire Google account, not the user’s YouTube profile.

What is prohibited by Google for one service also applies to all services.

This is the downside of tying all these Google services into one account. If Google bans you for one service, it applies to the rest.

Given the cat-and-mouse nature of digital security, hacking is another ever-present concern.

Another event late last year also reinforced my feeling that we needed more options. The original email account I had with him for over 15 years (through a local service in South Africa for the long haul) was inexplicably closed at the end of the year. It turns out that several other people reported that their accounts no longer existed, so I wasn’t the only one.

Another email service closed my account of 15 years. What if Google did the same?

Thankfully, I’ve been steadily moving away from this account over the years, but it wasn’t a global email service to begin with. Nonetheless, my general idea was what if the same thing happened to my own Google account. I’ve seen enough Google services shut down at this point, so I know nothing is impossible.

Google Has Done It Before: These Failed Google Products Could Have Been Great

So what do I do instead?

I still use many Google services, but have been open to alternatives as long as I’ve been using my smartphone. Ultimately, it’s important to have a viable challenger to Google because it creates competition in this space and forces everyone to do better. His OneDrive and Outlook from Microsoft are very useful in this regard, but he frequently uses Ecosia for his web search needs on mobile.

Find what works for you: Google One vs. Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Apple iCloud

My primary desktop browser is actually Opera as well. Yes, Edge is a better alternative these days, but Opera is a holdover from the days when I had a budget laptop, and Google Chrome definitely consumes even more RAM than it does now. was doing. I still use Chrome on my phone, but I spend more time using the excellent Kiwi Browser as it supports Chrome extensions.

There is no shortage of alternatives to Google’s services, such as Microsoft One Drive, Ecosia Search, Kiwi Browser, and more.

You might think I should quit Google altogether, but I’m not ready to go down deGoogled’s path yet. I enjoy using the company’s services and am mostly aware of the privacy trade-offs. Also, having one account for all Google services is very convenient.

Are there alternatives to Google services?

242 votes

Yes, I don’t use Google services at all

6%

Yes there are some alternatives

67%

No, I’m all in on Google

27%

what else can i do?

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Beyond simply using alternative services to put more digital eggs in your basket, there are a few other things you can do to protect your Google account.

For starters, you can take sensible precautions like using two-factor authentication for your various accounts. This adds extra protection to the account, requiring a malicious person to use her mobile phone to access her Google account.

For security, set up two-factor authentication and avoid using Google’s built-in password manager.

The next step is to avoid using Google’s built-in password manager. All of your account credentials are stored with Google, so technically anyone with access to your account can also log in to many other services. Also, if you lose access to your Google account and can’t remember your credentials, you’ll be locked out of all non-Google services. Third-party managers such as LastPass and his 1Password are a wise precaution, as they rely entirely on another account and master his password.

Our pick: The best password manager apps for Android

Another tip is to set up automatic email forwarding from your Gmail inbox to another email provider. You can also separate work and personal data as much as possible. You can do this by using separate Google accounts for work and personal use, and setting up personal and work profiles in Chrome. This keeps work and home browsing data and credentials separate from each other. This helps a lot if one account is compromised.

Separate personal and work accounts, forward email, and back up data. Be careful not to lose a lot of money by losing your Google account.

You should also consider regularly backing up your data locally or to another service. For example, you should back up your Google Photos and Google Drive content to another cloud storage service or an external hard drive. If you have YouTube and YouTube Music content, you can do the same with those services. Google Data Export gives you a downloadable version of all your data.

Either way, the chances of your Google account being closed or compromised are slim, but never zero. Personally, it doesn’t hurt to have a fallback option if this happens. It doesn’t hurt that my mitigation has the occasional advantage of discovering more services and apps that I might prefer over Google’s own.

Continue: Technically the worst decision is a personal G Suite account

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1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.androidauthority.com/google-digital-presence-3184112/

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