[nSLUG] Facebook, Google - Why avoid and what else to use?

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Fri Apr 19 04:06:47 ADT 2019

Oliver Doepner wrote:

> I use Google for web search, gmail, maps, calendar, photos, contacts
> and news aggregation.

I use Google search all the time.  I have a work-around that prevents
the search results that I click on from being routed back through
Google's server before being forwarded to the real destination.  I
think I've clicked on the ads (that accompany search results) maybe 3
times -- those I allow to go back to Google.

Google Maps has proven very useful a half dozen times although it's
tedious to use over dialup. (Oh, and they have an error on my own road
that ceased being correct well over 50 years ago.  They obviously
based it on pre- or circa-WWII topographic maps.)

Never tempted to use any other of their services.

In another venue (comp.misc) I recently wrote:

    This is actually a deeper matter that it at first glance appears
    to be.  What things bear secondary or covert costs, what things
    offend your dignity, what things constitute (or just imply) your
    collaboration in something unsavory (or even evil) -- that you
    could get along without?  Can you just not have/use/do those
    things despite the costs, losses or risks attendant on foregoing

That was about using smart phones but it applies to Google, Facebook
and other mega-corp free services as well.

> Some people on this group seem to have strong reasons to avoid or
> even denounce these companies and their services.

There's an article, longish and perhaps MEGO-genic if you're not keen on
the subject at:


In general, I don't like to have relationships with big corporations.
Yes, I have electricity and a (land-line) phone (although I didn't for
a decade) and a contract for welding gases but I mostly avoid other
involvements with corporations.  I think I may be obliged by age to
get a cell phone just because I can no longer walk home anywhere I
happen to find myself stranded and there are no pay phones.  When I do
so, I'll go for a smart phone despite the degree to which they offend
me because of the added capability of tethering.

I really don't like the idea of being tracked and data-based.  My
work-around for Google search results gives me a (possibly specious)
sense of successful resistance there.  FB is not, AFAICT, subject to
that resistance and I don't need yet another venue where I need to
devote hours to trying (probably unsuccessfully, in the case of FB) to
disable unwanted aspects.

> I use Facebook for communicating with many people in a way that is
> more flexible than reply-all emailing or distribution list email
> conversations. I limit FB use to about 1h a day, as I find some of
> the interactions with not-so-close "friends" or even strangers
> easily confrontational and too time-consuming.
> Can you explain why and what the alternatives are, for the above uses?

Alternatives? Nope.  See the comp.misc squib, above.  If you feel good
about FB and Google cloud/SAS services and they don't offend your
personal dignity, carry on.  But then, I'm probably something of a
troglodyte so I might have difficulty recognizing as essential
something you'd feel you couldn't do without.


The Google search work-around was a great exercise in Perl coding,
regular expressions, HTTP protocol and Apache cgi-bin.

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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