There’s been a lot of talk about the sheer crap that Google has been putting a lot of people through, including stripping well-meaning people of all of their PageRank. If you’re not familiar, PageRank was introduced as a way for people who used the Google Toolbar to judge the “worth” (in Google’s eyes) of a website.
However, Google have made it possible for outside organizations to access a site’s PageRank and as such, it has become a tool for sites to judge the “value” of a site for various money making enterprises. Recently, there has been a rash of people getting penalized for committing various “fouls” against some rule or another, especially selling advertising on their websites.
For many folks who blog, they do it because they love it and the fact that we can make money from it is a great thing – I’ve personally made some money blogging and I enjoy doing it quite immensely. However, Google see it almost as their mission in life to screw with everyone who is making a little money on the side (or for folks making their only money online) by pulling this stunt of dropping PageRank on some sites involved.
That brings me to something that has cropped up in the last couple of days – boycotting Google. For those of you who are going to a great length to remove Google from your world, I say good for you for taking a stand and trying to make do without them in your world.
However, I will not boycott Google completely. Yes, I’m definitely taking this as an opportunity to diversify where I do things – for example, using Yahoo and Live for my searching in addition to Google, however, I find that Google has always given me the best results for my searches, so I will still likely use them as a reliable backup to Yahoo and Live.
I’ve already started to use Bloglines for reading feeds on an infrequent basis, and I can easily import my feed list into there from my Google Reader. There are posts that I’ve marked in Google Reader and items I’ve placed into special folders which don’t get exported when you export your feed list from there, so I will still check in there on a regular basis – over time, I may transition all of my feed reading over to Bloglines on a permanent basis.
As far as email is concerned, I like Gmail, especially because I can use Thunderbird to send mail through my Gmail accounts; I can’t do that with my domain account as my ISP block me from using the standard mail port for any accounts other than my ISP account. One thing, admittedly, I haven’t tried, is to send mail from my domain email address using my ISP’s mail server. Let me try that now…
As a matter of fact, I can send email via my ISP’s outgoing mail server for my domain accounts, so I’m not dependent upon Gmail or my personal ISP email account for sending mail from Thunderbird. Sweet! However, my main “personal” account will still be a Gmail for the time being; I always have the option of opening a Yahoo Canada/UK/Australia account so I can have free pop access. By the way, if you ask me, Yahoo’s not offering free pop access on US accounts is one of the biggest scams out there.
So far, I’ve found alternatives for just about every Google application, except for a couple – first is Google Maps. By far, they have the best online map, especially with their drag and drop routing options. Their satellite is also great, and so is Street View. Windows Live Maps and Yahoo Maps have been catching up, and I really love Live’s Birdseye view mode – it’s taken from a plane not flying too high in the sky. Another option that you can use for an online map is Flash Earth – it lets you choose from a variety of maps and satellite pictures from the same window.
The other main Google application that I don’t believe there is an alternative to is Google Earth – it’s a fun tool to play around with, especially when I want to have some perspective on how things are positioned, and I might not find it on a regular online map. I only use it every so often; mostly when I’ve been asked to get a shot of how something looks from the sky. 😉
A couple more Google-owned products that it’s difficult to go away from are FeedBurner – they bought that this year, and as far as I know there aren’t any alternatives out there to it. I did see a post about using WordPress plugins to replicate the service, but I have to admit that I would prefer the feeds to be through FeedBurner because the traffic from the feed fetchers is going to their servers and not the one my site is hosted on.
Another product that is ubiquitous is YouTube – they’re owned by Google as well, and as you all will know are the major clearinghouse for videos on the web. There are alternatives to it, and there are definitely advantages to each site, and the content is different on all the sites. Here’s just a small taste of the sites that I have used a bit –
- Glumbert (Thanks Pearl for the tip on this one–she sent me a link to a Shaun Micallef sketch via StumbleUpon)
There are also other niche sites for videos, but they’re really “gray market” stuff, which really shouldn’t be mentioned in the open; I’ll just say that I get some really nice videos (and no, they’re not pr0n, I’ve seen other sites that let you download free pr0n tho…maybe i should download some 😆 😈 ) from there. If you’re interested in auto racing, Aussie/NZ TV or UK TV, you probably know these sites 😉
Another service that Google provides are the Google Alerts – I don’t know of an alternative to it either; if you do, definitely feel free to leave a comment.
Below is a list of a lot of links. These are some of the best articles that are out there about the recent goings-on by Google:
- More Bad Press for Google
- Report AdSense Paid Links!
- Say Goodbye to Google Today
- Google Goes after the Everyday Blogger
- ZeroRank: More PageRank Carnage
- Why Google’s Link Crackdown is Just Designed to Create Panic
- Nofollow is for Blog Spam…no, Paid Text Links, wait…Paid Ads…Aw heck, Just stop Linking and let Calcanis Decide the Rankings: Part 1 — Part 2 — Part 3 — Part 4 — Part 5
- OK Google…They Surrender
- Selling Text Links without Getting in Trouble
- My De Rigeur Nod to Google
- Dear Google, I Surrender
- Composing the Perfect Letter of Surrender
- Google vs. Innovation
- The Next Microsoft
- The thing about that thing
- Introducing the Google Condom
- Why the Debate about Paid Links was Over before you knew what PageRank was
- If Your PR has not been Demoted, You Are Square. (According to this, I’m a square…for now)
- Is Google Treating all Bloggers Equally…Oh Really?
- How much control does Google have over us?
I’d like to hear your opinion – am I less of a person for not boycotting Google totally? They don’t receive any money from me, and compared to a lot of people, I don’t give them a lot of traffic (as it is I block Adsense ads, and most other ads for that matter). I’m also not a shareholder, so I have no financial stake in them. To them, I’m just another IP and another cookie, and not much else.