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Postby timl » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:42 am

Hi, wondering what are people's thoughts on Google? I have always been a bit of a fan (ie. acknowledge the bad which was outweighed by the good). Funnily enough I was never too fussed about the privacy issue but the tax avoidance business is beginning to tip the balance,

I can quite easily live without Starbucks, Apple, Amazon but Google is proving more difficult. Still, I am looking for alternatives.
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Postby roseway » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:35 am

If you're just talking about the search engine, then there are several more privacy-oriented options. My personal favourite is Startpage which is a front end for Google that strips out any personal identifying information from the search request.

But of course Google has a large range of services, so you'd need to look at them one by one to find alternatives.
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Google is getting creepy

Postby Oh well! » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:14 am

Thoughts on Google . . . Well, I'm starting to find Google pretty creepy. It's not just the tax avoidance, it's the arrogant attitude to it too: However, viable and worthy alternatives are difficult to find. The obvious choice for a similar range of services is Microsoft, but it avoids tax too (apparently about £159 million of tax per year in the UK) aside from any other objections one might have. Yahoo!, I believe, uses Microsoft's services for search, too. And I tried Duck Duck Go, but that just defaulted to Google for image searches. Ask! might be better on an ethical front (I don't know), but I've never found it satisfactory as my default search engine.

On another front, I recently got an Android media player. Nice sound quality but otherwise: Yuck! A travesty of Linux. Locked down, loads of Adware, crippled free versions of stuff, crapware (i.e. software that's crap, just in case that wasn't clear!), little open source software. In fact, there's more open source software for Windows than Android it seems.

And then there's Google's degree of monopolisation and (as economists call it) horizontal and vertical integration, i.e. how deeply and widely their tentacles reach through digital lifestyles. They'd have you use Google products on your phone, laptop, for emailing, typing documents, sharing pictures, chatting with friends online, watching videos, reading and on it goes.

Sure it's capitalism, but the models in which capitalism works well for the consumer generally involve more competition, less market domination. Google provides an excellent example of what Michel Foucault called 'soft power', i.e. the subtle use of information and 'helping' to exercise control. Or perhaps it's the ultimate money-making panopticon.

There! Got that off my chest. Rant over.
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Re: Google

Postby chriswadams » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:37 am

It doesn't surprise me at all that Google is dodging their taxes. Rich people & corporations don't get to be rich by paying taxes; they get to be rich by AVOIDING taxes.

(For those of you in the UK, there has been a mad rush here in the US to raise taxes on 'the rich', and there has even been a group called 'Patriotic Millionaires' who want taxes to be increased. Well, of course; those 'Patriotic Millionaires' know full well that the increased taxes won't fall on THEM, but on the rest of us.)

As far as search engines go, I have been using DuckDuckGo for a while, and so far I really like it. roseway, have you used DDG, and if so, how did it compare to Startpage?

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Postby roseway » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:26 pm

I used DDG for a while some time back, but it didn't seem to return so many useful results as StartPage (which is only Google with privacy additions).
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Postby pastychomper » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:29 am

I've been taking bad news about Google with a pinch of salt since I became aware that Farcebook, Microsoft and friends are running an anti-Google smear campaign (Google^H^H^H^H^H^Hany decent search engine can point you to details.)

I still keep my eyes open and don't imagine Google are squeaky clean, but at least some of their services work well and don't try to lock me in, which is a big plus.

I am avoiding the Chrome browser, though - we've had good, fully open browsers for years, and I don't want to go back.
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Postby nelz » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:52 am

pastychomper wrote:I am avoiding the Chrome browser, though - we've had good, fully open browsers for years, and I don't want to go back.

That's why I use Chromium.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby flashman_andy » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:07 pm

Don't worry, you will soon be able to sit and sup your coffee in starbucks, while window shopping at your new google store across the street from you.

I am waiting for the new google vs apple trailers... Hi I'm a search Engine and I'm just a mac....
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