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README.md

Cutting Google out of your life (Updated: May 2020)

I don’t have anything to hide, but I don’t have anything to show you either.

Index

  1. Contributing
  2. Browser extensions
  3. Replacements/alternatives
    1. Disclaimer
    2. Web-based products
    3. Operating systems
    4. Desktop applications
    5. Mobile applications
    6. Hardware
  4. Useful links, tools, and advice
    1. Resources
    2. Books
    3. Blog posts
    4. News articles
  5. The lighter side
  6. Closing remarks

Contributing

If you want to help out with the project, here are some ideas (submit Issues & Pull Requests on the GitHub page):

  • iOS app alternatives! I don’t have an iOS device to find alternatives with. I would highly appreciate any help with this.
  • Clean up/improve the Markdown.
  • Provide more information on services with little info or where help requested! is shown.
  • Suggest new services or provide info for removing existing services.
  • Host a mirror or clone the repo. If you host a mirror, let me know and I can add it to the mirrors list.
  • Anything else relating to any part of this guide, whether it’s Google related or not.

When contributing, please try to follow the rules outlined in CONTRIBUTING.md.

Browser extensions

These Firefox extensions can help prevent connections to Google domains and also improve your privacy/security online.

Replacements/alternatives

Disclaimer

  1. Only privacy/security focused alternatives will be suggested.
  2. Many replacements are based off this Wikipedia article (List of Google products)
  3. Products from companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. will not be recommended unless there is a very good reason to. This includes companies/apps/services they own.
  4. Controversial services will have a disclaimer attached if needed.
  5. 5-eyes, 9-eyes, and 14-eyes services will be listed, and marked as such. This means the company, not the server IP.

Web-based products

Search (Web & Images)

Name Eyes Description
DuckDuckGo 5-eyes One of the best privacy-focused search engines. Domain is hosted in USA which could potentially be problematic for some.
Startpage 9-eyes Another privacy search engine that claims to not track any of your data. They operate servers in both USA and Europe. Note: Startpage was recently acquired. See Issue #12. Thanks @pydo, @ThijsRay, and @DatAres37. Also see this comment in Issue #99 from @danarel on Startpage.
searx.me Open-source (thanks for clarification u/Sheezdudeln) privacy search engine. Domain hosted in Germany.
MetaGer 14-eyes MetaGer is the search engine project from the registered nonprofit organization SUMA E.V. in Germany.
Qwant 9-eyes Major improvements since 2018’s guide. would prefer better info other than an outdated reference
Swisscows A Swiss search engine that offers a unique search experience for the web, images, videos, music, and more. They are currently funding a mail service. Read through their datacenter about page, it’s really interesting.
Mojeek 5-eyes Unlike other privacy search engines which act as a “middle man” between you and Google/Bing/Yahoo, Mojeek has their own crawler and index. The results aren’t as complete as some of the others, but it is still impressive and they are actively building their index to include more results with better accuracy.
Ekoru Privacy focused search engine that also aims to clean up the oceans. Thanks @mynamesleon
Cyberd Decentralized Google. A web 3 alternative for the Google search engine. In Beta testing mode. Uses IPFS and Tendermint consensus for security and economic incentives. Please see their ELI-5 FAQ for more info.
Infinity Search 5-eyes Infinity Search is a privacy metasearch engine that does not log any information about its users. In terms of privacy, it works the same way as DuckDuckGo. It is free to use and is funded by non-tracking advertisements and affiliate links. It is also completely open source.

YouTube

Name Eyes Description
PeerTube Decentralized video hosting network. Still quite small, but is growing and has a dedicated community.
BitChute 5-eyes Also P2P, but not decentralized. Due to it being proprietary, if BitChute goes down then the whole thing goes down (unlike PeerTube). (thanks u/up-sky-7)
DTube Looks very similar to YouTube. Advertised as “first crypt-decentralized video-platform”. Built on Steemit and IPFS.
Bit.tube Appears to be a crypto-powered decentralized video sharing service. (thanks u/rudolf323)
Invidious An open-source front-end alternative to YouTube. Seems to work pretty well from my experience so far, and it hasn’t triggered anything on my adblocker/privacy extensions. Also offers downloads in many formats for videos (including .vtt subtitles).
Hooktube A slightly better way to use actual YouTube. (Use as a “last resort”)
LBRY A decentralized platform for distributing and supporting creators’s work. It aims to be Open, Community driven “digital marketplace”. It can be used in a similar way to YouTube: browsing, subscribing to channels, there is a mechanism to send “tips” to creators. Looks up videos based on a blockchain and is open source and uncensored. It already has some “larger” creators like Minutephysics, Veritasium, Barnacules and Lunduke.
US.TV PeerTube instance hosted by Epik.com.

News

Name Eyes Description
Local newspaper Support independent and qualitative journalism in your community.
AllSides Unbiased news source (primarily for US politics). Thanks @jeanofthedead
Feeder F-Droid Use good old-fashioned RSS feeds with Feeder

Groups

Name Eyes Description
  • Use other forum sites relating to specific topics. This is a very broad service.

Translate

Name Eyes Description
DeepL 14-eyes DeepL is an artifical intelligence translation service. Editor note: The site server seems to be hosted in Finland, yet the company lists itself as a company based in Germany in the Data Protection section.

Google Ads/AdMob/AdSense

Name Eyes Description
CodeFund 5-eyes Ethical advertising for technical audience.

Google Alerts

Name Eyes Description
F5Bot 5-eyes Emails you when your selected keywords are mentioned on Reddit, Hacker News, or Lobsters.

G Suite (enterprise cloud)

Name Eyes Description
Zoho Zoho was included in 2018’s thread as well, and they’ve only improved since then. They offer a full enterprise business suite that can easily rival G Suite or MS Office 365. Better description wanted
Nextcloud Nextcloud 18 now has Community Document Server and ONLYOFFICE apps integrated which allows self hosted instances of docs/sheets/slides. Users are able to edit documents in real time. Thanks @k3tan172 and @plutocrat

Blogger/Sites

Name Eyes Description
Joomla Self-hosted and open-source content management system (CMS).
Write.as Self-advertised as privacy-focused.
WordPress self-hosted The open-source version of WordPress. A very popular tool and a recognized name.
concrete5 5-eyes Open-source CMS.
Noblogs 9-eyes A privacy/security focused blogging platform.
Ghost Open-source modern CMS. Boasts “over 19x faster than WordPress”. Thanks @peterge1998

Analytics

Name Eyes Description
Matomo 9/14-eyes (Matomo/parent company) - Open-source analytics platform. (thanks u/Newblik)
Fathom 5-eyes Simple analytics for bloggers & businesses
Plausible 5-eyes Open-source, privacy-focused web analytics.
GoatCounter 14-eyes Simple web statistics. No tracking of personal data. Open-source and may be self-hosted. Free for non-commercial use; paid plans available.
Simple Analytics 9-eyes Great analytics with privacy and simplicity in mind. Paid plans only (with free trials).
Toasted Analytics 5-eyes Simple, privacy friendly analytics with event tracking. Paid only (with free trial)

Photos

Name Eyes Description
Photoprism Self-hosted and open-source Personal Photo Management powered by Go and Google TensorFlow.
ownPhotos Self-hosted and open-source Google Photos alternative.
Piwigo 9-eyes (self-hosted) - Self-hosted and open-source cloud photo manager. You can also sign up for an “as a service” account.
JottaCloud 9-eyes Norway based cloud storage provider with free and paid plans. Thanks @mynamesleon
Cryptee Encrypted photo storage in a simple solution similar to Google Photos.

Calendar

Name Eyes Description
Lightning Calendar (Thunderbird) Developed by Mozilla Foundation and open-source. Integrates into Thunderbird and SeaMonkey.
Tutanota Calendar 14-eyes Developed by Tutanota. Free cross-platform encrypted calendar. Allows importing of other Calendar files. Can’t be synced to other calendar software.
Fruux 14-eyes Open-source calendar using “sabre/dav” (open-source WebDAV, CardDAV, and CalDAV). They mention privacy quite a bit on their site. Very large number of features, and supports nearly every device: Windows, iOS, Linux, Android, BlackBerry, SailFish, and also a webapp for browsers.
Zoho I mentioned Zoho above for G Suite, so here they are again.
EteSync Secure, end-to-end encrypted, and open-source sync for your contacts, calendars and tasks.

Docs/Sheets/Slides (cloud)

Name Eyes Description
CryptPad 9-eyes Open-source “zero knowledge” collaborative cloud editor. They offer Rich Text, Code, Presentation, Sheet (beta), Poll, Kanban, Whiteboard, and CryptDrive. 100% Client side encryption. Tons of useful features.
Etherpad Self-hosted collaborative editor. Does not use the browser. Not the greatest interface, but it’s open-source and you have full control over who can see your data.
Cryptee Open-source and privacy focused photo and document storage/editing. Based in Estonia, so your files are outside the reach of any 14-eyes country. They don’t even require an email address to sign up.
LibreOffice Online 14-eyes Self-hosted instance of LibreOffice that you can run in your browser. Thanks @flubberding
ONLYOFFICE Open-source private cloud replacement for Google Docs’suite and Office 360. Also available as a self contained rich application.
Arcane Office A decentralized office suite with high-security and zero-knowledge on your data. With Arcane Office, you have maximum control on your personal stuff. Full-featured online document and spreadsheet editor. Secure storage to save your photos. All free for personal use. Thanks @taraletti

Docs/Sheets/Slides (offline)

Name Eyes Description
LibreOffice Open-source offline document suites.
Apache OpenOffice Open-source offline document suites.
LyX It’s an open-source (and offline) document processor using TeX/LaTeX. It’s different than Docs or Word but amazing, once you get used to it. Thanks @Glitchy-Tozier

Domains

Name Eyes Description
Njalla 14-eyes Privacy-focused domain registration. Competitive pricing and a large list of available domain extensions. They also offer VPS hosting. Built by people who built The Pirate Bay among others. (thanks u/brais33 and u/HumbleBasis6)
Porkbun 5-eyes Domain registration with free WHOIS privacy.

Drive

Name Eyes Description
ownCloud Open-source and self-hosted. Provide your own storage.
Nextcloud Also self-hosted. Spin-off of ownCloud. Also offers Calendar and Contacts (thanks @chribre)
Syncthing 9-eyes An interesting take on cloud storage: decentralized. Peer-to-peer between only your devices. Software is open-source and available on GitHub.
Sia Fully decentralized cloud storage.
Tresorit Primarily meant for businesses, but offers a free version for individuals as well. (thanks u/xNick26)
Sync End-to-end encrypted Google Drive/Dropbox replacement.
JottaCloud 9-eyes Norway based cloud storage provider with free and paid plans. Thanks @mynamesleon
Armored 9-eyes Nextcloud instance hosted by Epik.com. Paid plans with 30-day trial. Servers in a “secure bunker” in Norway. Supports other Nextcloud features such as Nextcloud Talk.
seafile Open-source and self-hosted file sync&share solution.
Cozy Cloud 9-eyes French based cloud storage provider with free and paid plans. Can also be self-hosted. Open-Source. And it also offers a collaborative notes editor.

Hangouts (text/video messaging)

Name Eyes Description
Signal 5-eyes Whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden recommends Signal.
Tox Tox is unique as it uses P2P technology to ensure the network never goes down, as long as there are users to keep it alive. They specifically say on the website “Tox has no central servers that can be raided, shut down, or forced to turn over data”.
Wire 5-eyes Uses end-to-end encryption. Looks to be more of a corporate service with tiered plans.
Riot F-Droid 5-eyes Open-source privacy-focused chat service with end-to-end encryption. They offer webapps, desktop apps, iOS, and Android (Play Store and F-Droid). Uses the “Matrix” protocol for decentralized communication. It is 100% free and open-source with no paid plans.
Threema Swiss-based GDPR-compliant instant messenger. Has apps for both iOS and Android. Unlike Signal, no phone number is required (nor is an email) to sign up. End-to-end encrypted. Thanks to @nathanvogel
Keybase 5-eyes encrypted chat like Signal with features like Slack. Does not require a phone number to sign up. Also has file storage. Note: Keybase was acquired by Zoom, Inc. in May 2020 (Keybase blog, Zoom blog). Thanks @notpushkin & @multimob.
Jitsi 5-eyes Jitsi is an open-source secure video conferencing platform. No account is needed to use it, simply enter a Room Name to join or host a meeting. The host is able to kick rogue users from the call. Works directly in your browser, with apps available for iOS and Android. It is not necessary to self-host, but self-hosting is an option for those who wish to. Very low latency and easy to set up. A free public server is available at (https://meet.jit.si) (5-eyes server)
  • See this article for why I didn’t include WhatsApp and why you should NOT use it (if someone has a better Outline link, that would be much appreciated).
  • I have also removed Telegram. See Issue #29 from @arsv.

Gmail

Name Eyes Description
Protonmail One of the top privacy-focused email providers. Servers are in Switzerland in an underground guarded bunker that they claim can “survive a nuclear attack”.
Zoho Mail Zoho comes back yet again with a mail solution.
Tutanota 14-eyes Open-source. Also one of the top privacy-focused email providers. Located in Germany.
Posteo 14-eyes Completely anonymous mail provider located in Germany.
mailbox.org 14-eyes Paid email provider, also located in Germany.
Disroot 9-eyes Decentralized email service.
StartMail 9-eyes Operated by the same people who run StartPage.
SimpleLogin Open-source, self-hosted, and privacy focused email forwarding service.
Migadu Paid email provider, located in Switzerland. Focus on privacy.
FastMail 5-eyes Paid email provider, located in Australia and US.
Runbox 9-eyes Privacy focusued email provider. Thanks @petertorelli
nextCloud Now also provides an email service (self-hosted). Thanks @je-vv
Anonymize.com Email Paid secure email service provided by Epik.com.
Thexyz 5-eyes Thexyz is a Canadian company offering privacy-conscious business email. Premium webmail costs USD $2.95 per month. Thanks @FreddyMarsden
  • This is just for the Gmail service, not a client

Keep

Name Eyes Description
Joplin Open-source notes/todo app. Available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Also offers a terminal version. It can import Evernote .enex files if you use that. It can also sync with Nextcloud (mentioned above).
Standard Notes Encrypted note storage with loads of features. Offers a web app as well as downloads for most operating systems. Has a paid plan, but the free tier has many useful features as well.
Zoho Notebook A notebook from Zoho. Also available on Android.
Turtl Encrypted collaborative notebook with possibility of running your own server.
QOwnNotes Open-source file editor with Markdown support. (thanks u/maqp2)
EteSync Secure, end-to-end encrypted, and open-source sync for your contacts, calendars and tasks.
GitJournal Your Markdown notes stores in any Git Repo. Available for both Android (Play Store) and iOS.

Play Music, Movies, & TV

Name Eyes Description
Jellyfin Open-source alternative to the Play media services. You do need to provide your own content, however. In active development with frequent updates (to the source, that is).
Funkwhale Self-hosted, decentralized music service. Provide your own audio. (thanks u/DashEquals)
Airsonic Self-hosted open-source media streamer. Has features for transcoding audio on-the-fly for “virtually any audio format”. You can also set bandwidth limits if you need to. Looks very powerful.
Music Player Daemon A “flexible, powerful, server-side application for playing music”.
Popcorn Time Open source software for desktop and mobile that let you easily stream movie/TV torrents. Be careful if your country or ISP has policies against torrenting, a VPN is recommended. Thanks @je-vv
Nuclear Music Player Streaming music player that finds music from free sources automatically.
  • I can no longer recommend Emby as they are no longer open-source.
  • Thanks to u/eA8KESARaW6iqCpHsbE4 for suggesting Jellyfin and pointing out that Emby isn’t open-source.

Fonts

Name Eyes Description
Open Font Library 5-eyes Lots of Serif and Sans-Serif fonts that can be directly embedded into a website.
google webfonts helper 5-eyes Hassle-free way for webmasters to self-host open-source Fonts from “Google Fonts”
Brick 9-eyes Open source fonts that work in a very similar way to Google fonts. Most of the fonts render nicer than Google Fonts. Thanks @FreddyMarsden

Classroom

Name Eyes Description
Moodle Self-hosted Classroom software for schools. Very powerful. Thanks @jankapunkt
ILIAS Another self-hosted open source classroom software. Thanks again to @jankapunkt
Canvas Paid service by Instructure. Also available as a self-hosted, open source option. To ensure privacy, use the self-hosted option.

Maps/Street View

Name Eyes Description
OpenStreetMap 9-eyes Collaborative project to create a free, editable map of the world (from Wikipedia). Completely crowdsourced. Very strong alternative to Maps.
Qwant Maps Maps from the makers of Qwant search engine. Thanks @mynamesleon
Benmaps Another maps alternative based on OpenStreetMap. Thanks @dimqua
Mapillary 14-eyes Crowdsourced street-level imagery built on top of OpenStreetMap. Open source. Includes map data generated with object recognition software. Coverage is lacking in many cities but can always be improved upon.

Transit

Name Eyes Description
Transportr An open-source Transit app on Android that takes information from several providers (e.g Deutsche Bahn in Germany) and enables you to use them in the app. Visualises the routes on an online OpenStreetMap map. Works in most of Western-Europe, as well as the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the UAE and Ghana. Beware: most information-providers only have beta or alpha support, it may be a good idea to keep a second app as a fallback option
Name Eyes Description

Operating systems

Android/Fuchsia

Name Eyes Description
Ubuntu Touch Ubuntu, but for phones.
LineageOS 5-eyes Open-source and based on Android, but without the crap.
SailfishOS Help requested!
GrapheneOS Previously known as CopperheadOS. It has now evolved into GrapheneOS
postmarketOS Open-source mobile Linux OS. Can install different user interfaces such as Plasma Mobile. Thanks @okias
Replicant 5-eyes Free Android distribution. Puts the emphasis on “freedom and privacy/security”.
  • You’ll either need a rooted device with an unlocked bootloader, or a specific device depending on which OS you like.
  • Please see Issue #55 for details on /e/.

Chrome OS

Name Eyes Description
Qubes OS “A reasonably secure operating system”, at least according to their website. Edward Snowden recommends it.
Subgraph OS A desktop computing and communications platform that is designed to be resistant to network-borne exploit and malware attacks.
Tails For the uber-paranoid. Runs live and the entire OS is routed through Tor right from boot. Built on Debian.
Knoppix Another Live OS, runs from CD/DVD/USB. Can also be installed if desired.
Parrot OS Debian-based and privacy focused. Fully sandboxed. (thanks u/Safe_Airport)
PureOS 5-eyes The OS of Purism Laptops (mentioned in the Hardware section). Very clean UI. Editor note: I could not get this working on a UEFI Dell laptop. The group behind PureOS does not provide any UEFI support.
Any other form of Linux Ubuntu; Debian; Mint; Fedora; Arch or Manjaro (Manjaro is objectively much easier to get running than Arch); Trisquel; Gentoo; Alpine (thanks u/privacyfreak555); etc etc etc

Wear OS

Name Eyes Description
AsteroidOS 14-eyes The cleanest (and only) open-source alternative for Wear OS. Make sure you buy a watch that supports it!

Android Auto

Name Eyes Description

Android TV

Name Eyes Description
Kodi It’s incredibly powerful and backed by one of the strongest communities around. Tons of plugins to do nearly anything you want. Software installs on nearly any platform.
OSMC Free, open source media center OS. Kodi is pre-installed. Thanks to @g4rret and @lgiard for clarifying the difference between Kodi and OSMC!

Desktop apps

Chrome

Name Eyes Description
Ungoogled Chromium Chromium (which Chrome and countless other browsers are built on top of) is one of the cleanest and light-weight browsers available. This version cuts out all the Google crap.
Firefox Built by Mozilla, “The Privacy Company”. Huge extension library; great for privacy.
Waterfox 5-eyes Based on Firefox, but 64-bit only with an emphasis on speed and privacy. Has a “classic” version built off older Firefox for legacy extension support and also an “alpha” version built off Quantum. It doesn’t collect any telemetry and also removes Pocket from the alpha release. Project is run by Alex Kontos and is constantly in active development. Looks very clean and fast. Android versions are in the works too. UPDATE: @Nudin pointed out in Issue #85 that Waterfox is now apart of System1.
Vivaldi Privacy-focused browser. Appears to be very customizable and feature-rich.
Tor Browser Firefox-based browser routed through the onion network. Automatically has a few privacy extensions installed (such as HTTPS Everywhere). Be careful using it in public though, as it can look like a pretty suspicious piece of software. Available for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android.

Earth

Name Eyes Description
KDE Marble Strong alternative for G Earth. Currently only on Linux, but is being ported to other platforms. Thanks to @PopeRigby

Android Studio (not specifically for Android development, just in general)

Name Eyes Description
VSCodium VSCodium is Visual Studio Code but without all the Microsoft telemetry and branding.
Vim Open-source text editor. Thanks @moon-chilled
Emacs Another open-source text editor. Thanks @moon-chilled

Mobile apps

Play Store

Name Eyes Description
F-Droid Catalogue of FOSS apps for Android. Easy to install and keeps track of updates. Also has a browser version if you don’t want to install the app.
Aptoide Marketplace for Android apps. Publishers/developers manage their own stores rather than a centralized market such as Google Play Store.
Yalp Store Yalp downloads Play Store apps as APK files. Helpful if you want to stay away from the Play Store, but require an app that is only available there.
APKMirror An online library of user-uploaded APK files. Helpful if you need a specific older version of an app or don’t want to download it through Google Play.
Aurora Store Aurora Store is simply a fork of the Yalp Store no longer a fork of Yalp, but is now its own project (see their readme). Update: Removed note on using microG as Aurora Store does not use it. Thanks @RefexHD & @notpushkin
Fossdroid Uses the same library as F-Droid, but with a modern UI similar to that of the Play Store and the ability to view apps by popularity.
G-Droid Also uses the F-Droid repo but with a different UI.
APKGrabber Fork of APKUpdater. Both are great tools for avoiding app stores (on Android).
Aurora Droid Yet another F-Droid client, potentially has a few bugs (thanks u/OfficialJohnGL4)
  • When searching for replacements, check the alternative stores (such as F-Droid) before checking the Play Store.

Chrome (Android)

Name Eyes Description
Fennec F-Droid F-Droid A privacy-focused version of Firefox Android available on F-Droid. It’s focused on removing any proprietary bits found in official Mozilla’s builds. (thanks u/SupremeLisper)
Bromite Privacy-focused/open-source build of Chromium with built-in ad blocking. (thanks u/SupremeLisper)

Calculator

Name Eyes Description
Simple Calculator F-Droid Also part of the SMT project. Available on F-Droid.
Calculator N+ or NCalc+ Open-source feature-rich calculator. App itself is no longer in development, but the developer does encourage pull requests. I’ve used it frequently and it works great. Not on F-Droid, but a 3rd party play store can probably find it; or the APK’s are available as releases on GitHub. You can also compile from source.

Calendar

Name Eyes Description
Fruux (mobile app) Same service from above provides an Android app.
Etar F-Droid Open-source material design Calendar that integrates with the Android Calendar API. If you have a CalDAV/CardDAV server, I recommend using DAVx5 to sync with it. Available from F-Droid. Also look at ICSx5, another WebDav/CalDav client that can integrate with calendar apps. Also available from F-Droid. Thanks @je-vv for ICSx5.

Camera

Name Eyes Description
Open Camera Open source camera for Android. Thanks @je-vv

Clock

Name Eyes Description
Clock + F-Droid Open-source Alarm clock, timer, and stop watch.
Simple Alarm Clock Exactly as it’s name says; simple alarm clock yet adds many improvements over other apps. No dock mode or world clock.
Insane Alarm! Developer states that he had “spent a night out with the boys and drank a bit too much but needed to be up in the morning”. So, he made the loudest alarm clock possible based off an emergency alarm from when he was in the military. This app doesn’t mess around, use it wisely.

Contacts

Name Eyes Description
Fruux (mobile app) Fruux also provides a contacts app.
Simple Contacts F-Droid Open-source. Part of the Simple Mobile Tools project.
Open Contacts F-Droid Open source contacts. (thanks u/consentio)

Android Messages (specifically SMS/MMS, not IM)

Name Eyes Description
QKSMS F-Droid Open-source. Very clean and feature rich SMS app. Available on F-Droid.
Silence.im F-Droid Open-source and utilizes Signal’s encryption protocol. Seamlessly works with SMS. End-to-end encryption with other Silence users. Available on F-Droid.

Gboard (Google Keyboard)

Name Eyes Description
AnySoftKeyboard F-Droid Open-source keyboard. Available on F-Droid.
Hacker’s Keyboard Also open-source. Very useful for developers or sysadmins on the go.
kboard Open-source. Has features for phrases, “lenny faces”, macros and more.
Simple Keyboard F-Droid Open-source keyboard.
Indic Keyboard Open-source keyboard that supports many languages that other keyboards sometimes don’t support. Not on F-Droid, but can be built from source or possibly through a Play Store alternative.
OpenBoard New 100% FOSS keyboard, based on AOSP. Similar to “Simple Keyboard”. Thanks @Glitchy-Tozier

Drive

Name Eyes Description
ownCloud Android F-Droid ownCloud Android client. Available on F-Droid.
Nextcloud Android F-Droid Nextcloud Android client. Available on F-Droid.
Syncthing Android F-Droid Wrapper of Syncthing for Android. Available on F-Droid. Also consider Syncthing-Fork which uses a native Android UI rather than the default web UI.

Gmail

Name Eyes Description
Protonmail Can be downloaded from the Play Store, but may work with one of the store replacements above (such as Yalp).
Tutanota F-Droid 14-eyes Client available from F-Droid.
Zoho Mail Also on the Play Store but other stores may work too.
Disroot F-Droid Available from F-Droid.
Posteo 14-eyes Any open-source mail client such as: K-9 Mail and FairEmail. Both are available on F-Droid.
Mailbox.org 14-eyes Mailbox.org provides IMAP settings for Android/iOS and an iOS profile. Thanks @avasts Issue #45

Keep (or any stock note-taking app)

Name Eyes Description
Notepad F-Droid Open-source. Supports Markdown and HTML. Very clean and feature-rich. Offline only.
Joplin Scroll down on the GitHub page until you reach the Android download links. No F-Droid repo, but you can download the APK directly instead of using the Play Store.
Standard Notes Encrypted note storage with loads of features.
Omni Notes F-Droid Very feature rich, open-source, material design notes app. Very active development. Available on F-Droid.
Carnet F-Droid I had some trouble finding info on this one. Looks like it has pretty seamless/painless ownCloud and NextCloud integration. Also available on F-Droid.
Markor F-Droid Open-source notes/to-do app for Android. Supports Markdown editing. Available on F-Droid. App is 100% offline, as stated on the GitHub README.
Orgzly F-Droid Open-source. Notes are stored in the plain-text Org mode format. Supports searching, metadata, and manual sync with Dropbox or local directory, which can be synced using e.g. Syncthing.

Maps/Waze

Name Eyes Description
Maps F-Droid Open-source navigation app based on MAPS.ME. Searching for addresses doesn’t always work and finding businesses can be a slight hassle, but overall one of the better apps I’ve used.
OsmAnd OpenStreetMap for Android. (thanks u/masao77). As OsmAnd is primarily crowdsourced, many regions may not be totally accurate. If you would like to help improve OpenStreetMap and OsmAnd, check out StreetComplete. It is available from F-Droid.
Transportr Primarily European, this is an open-source public transport app. Thanks to @lgiard
Offi or Oeffi Another recommendation from @lgiard, this app is also for public transport.

News

Name Eyes Description
Flym F-Droid Open-source Material Design RSS reader.

Photos

Name Eyes Description
Piwigo Android You need to have Piwigo set up first.

Pay

Name Eyes Description
  • Realistically, there most likely is not a privacy friendly alternative to Google Pay. Get a wallet with RFID protection and keep your cards with you.

YouTube

Name Eyes Description
NewPipe F-Droid Powerful open-source YouTube alternative. Supports audio only; background playback; picture-in-picture; no ads.
FreeTube Open-source YouTube client that uses the Invidio.us API to serve content. Not on F-Droid, but you can download the APK from GitHub. (thanks u/wesaphzt)
YouTube Vanced Please read the XDA post before deciding to use this.

Authenticator

Name Eyes Description
andOTP F-Droid Open-source 2FA app.
FreeOTP+ F-Droid FreeOTP is no longer in development so this fork should be used instead as it is currently in development.
Aegis F-Droid Open-source 2FA for Android. Available on F-Droid.
Authenticator iOS - Open-source 2FA for iOS. (thanks u/SomeoneWannaBe)
Tofu iOS - Open-source 2FA for iOS.

Play Music/Play Movies & TV

Name Eyes Description
Audinaut F-Droid An open-source Airsonic client for Android.
MALP F-Droid An open-source Android client for MPD. Available on F-Droid.

Hangouts

Name Eyes Description
Keybase 5-eyes encrypted chat like Signal with features like Slack. Does not require a phone number to sign up. Also has file storage. Note: Keybase was acquired by Zoom, Inc. in May 2020 (Keybase blog, Zoom blog). Thanks @notpushkin & @multimob.
Conversations 14-eyes An open-source Android Jabber/XMPP client. It’s a paid app on Google Play, but you can also build it from source for free if you want to.
Riot 5-eyes Android app - The open-source Android client for Riot.
Jitsi Meet (F-Droid) F-Droid Jitsi is an open-source secure video conferencing platform. No account is needed to use it, simply enter a Room Name to join or host a meeting. The host is able to kick rogue users from the call. Works directly in your browser, with apps available for iOS and Android. It is not necessary to self-host, but self-hosting is an option for those who wish to. Very low latency and easy to set up. A free public server is available at (https://meet.jit.si) (5-eyes server)

Assistant

Name Eyes Description
Mycroft Android Android client for Mycroft. Must be built in IDE; no pre-built binaries are available.
Ara Open-source virtual assistant for Android. Can replace Google Assistant (home button functionality) on most devices. Either uses the authors server by default, or you can run your own server. Thanks @FultonBrowne (author of Ara)

Play Services Framework

Name Eyes Description
microG A re-implementation of Google’s proprietary Android user space apps and libraries. It allows to use more precise navigation (which is proprietary in standard Android ROMs) and optionally receive push messages (requires connection to Google’s servers, but also supports routing this connection through Tor). Thanks @notpushkin

Android home screen launchers

Name Eyes Description
Shade Launcher Open-source Android launcher styled after the Google Pixel launcher. No F-Droid, but you can download the APK from GitHub.
ZimLX F-Droid Open-source launcher. Active development with lots of nice features.
Lawnchair F-Droid Another open-source launcher, also built to look similar to Google’s launcher (it is built off AOSP Launcher3). Available from F-Droid and also APKMirror. (thanks u/droidonomy)

Other

Name Eyes Description
Blokada F-Droid From the website: “If you want to efficiently block ads, trackers, malware, save on your data plan, speed up your device and protect your privacy with just one application, then Blokada is for you. It is free, secure and open source.” Uses internal VPN on Android to block ads.
TrackerControl F-Droid From the GitHub README: Allows users to monitor and control the widespread, ongoing, hidden data collection in mobile apps about user behaviour (“tracking”). To detect tracking, TrackerControl checks all network traffic against the Disconnect blocklist, used and trusted by the Mozilla Firefox browser. Thanks @E5dZEUpc3BKaJrHnQVZd5zE

Hardware

Nexus/Pixel

Name Eyes Description
This list Shows compatibility for rooting Android devices.
Purism Librem 5 5-eyes From the company that makes Purism laptops. Runs PureOS. Thanks @brandonnodnarb

Chromebook

Name Eyes Description
TUXEDO 14-eyes Privacy-focused laptop maker out of Germany. Tech specs are very competent and can easily compete with other modern systems. Fully Linux compatible. They also offer desktops. (thanks u/itsec_ho)
Purism Laptops 5-eyes Privacy-focused laptop running PureOS. Good designs and decent hardware.
Pinebook Pro Mid-range Linux/FreeBSD alternative to Chromebook.

Chromecast

Name Eyes Description
Microsoft Wireless HDMI adapter 5-eyes The only reason I’m recommending this Microsoft product is because there is no possible way for it to extract any data and ship it off to Microsoft. If anyone is able to find proof that it can, I will remove it.

Google Home

Name Eyes Description
Mycroft 5-eyes Open-source virtual personal assistant. Can be run on a Raspberry Pi. (thanks u/Kentto7)
Home Assistant Open-source home automation. (thanks u/bilange)

FitBit

Name Eyes Description

Useful links, tools, and advice

Resources

Everything you need to become a Privacy Wizard.

Books

Blog posts

News articles

The lighter side

  • Movies & TV:
    • Snowden (2016) - Based on the true story of Edward Snowden, the CIA/NSA/etc whistleblower. Directed by Oliver Stone.
    • Deep Web (2015) - Documentary (narrated by Keanu Reeves) about Ross Ulbricht aka. Dread Pirate Roberts and the infamous “Silk Road” dark market. Directed by Alex Winter.
    • The Great Hack (2019) - Documentary about the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Thanks @woutfeys
    • Mr. Robot - Hacker-drama starring Rami Malek. Producers hired actual hackers as consultants to ensure the show is as accurate as possible; real-world tools used in the show.
    • Silicon Valley - Satirical tech comedy about a compression startup struggling to take off in Silicon Valley, California.
  • Podcasts:
    • Darknet Diaries (by Jack Rhysider) - Highlights real-life hackers and their stories. Covers privacy topics a fair bit.
    • The WAN Show (Linus Tech Tips) - Not specifically privacy, but they cover all sorts of tech news.
    • The Privacy, Security, & OSINT Show - “This weekly podcast presents ideas to help you become digitally invisible, stay secure from cyber threats, and make you a better online investigator.”
    • Security Now! - “TechTV’s Leo Laporte and I spend somewhat shy of two hours each week to discuss important issues of personal computer security.” (Thanks u/Abaddon182)
  • Other:
    • xkcd - They have comics for everything.
    • System32 Comics Instagram and Reddit - Comedic computer comics.

Closing remarks

It’s a shame that Google, with their immense resources, power, and influence, don’t see the benefits of helping people secure themselves online. Instead, they force people like us to scour the web for alternatives and convince our friends and family to do the same, while they sell off our data to the highest bidder.

Hopefully this guide can serve as a starting point for those new to privacy, or be a good refresher for the experts.

Good luck and stay safe!