It's been on my radar for a while now, but I started the process of decoupling myself from Google and setting up a new email account. I like my autonomy, and have decided that taking actions to retain it is not just a good idea, but the American thing to do. What this means for you is really nothing. Over time I will start transitioning entirely to the new setup, which should go seamlessly so long as my inner crayon eater doesn't get in the way. In any event, it feels good.
Now for some, this may seem like a silly thing to worry about. I mean, look at the functionality of the Gmail platform. Like, it has calendars, and all sorts of stuff that just auto syncs and makes life, like super duper easy!
Yeah... That's kinda the point. Google collects data and uses that data to build a profile of you that they then can use to predict your actions, and influence your decisions. I've known this for a while, now, which is one reason I use a VPN. I know it's small potatoes, and likely being undermined by my gmail activities, but it's a layer, and that's something. It'll be something even better once I fully transition to privacy-centric means of communications. I already avoid using Google to look for stuff, and my location is regularly turned off (like that matters- I bet Google collects that info anyway).
By the end of the year, I fully intend to be 90% Google free (I'll have exactly two minimal accounts for a few things, namely my tiny YouTube channel). Already I have transitioned my social media almost completely to MeWe from Facebook. I realize that it's a lateral move, and doesn't 100% solve the problem, but in my estimation, each lost Facebook and Google customer is a pebble in the avalanche that could be. At the bare minimum, I'm getting more knowledgeable and cognizant of what I'm doing online, and what I can do to protect myself and my information. Running a blog and podcast probably doesn't help a lot- but, you know... I want to make an impact in some fashion to safeguard the liberties I enjoyed and want my great great great grandkids to enjoy.
The reason I put this all out there is two fold. First, we really need to de-Google ourselves. Sure, it's handy, but that handiness comes at a cost. Privacy is important, and the ability of Google to mine our personal information- chiefly our viewing and purchasing habits- for the sake of influencing our decisions, is a threat to our liberties and freedoms. The debate about free will starts to get muddied when a super powerful AI run by billionaires can influence your decisions to get you to do things they want- even if that is buying a product and especially if that is voting a certain way. Free will only occurs when you are free from influence that you don't realize is there. Knowing something is influencing you may not make a huge dent, but it can be a powerful tool to enact your own will for your own reasons.
Second, collective action works. The more people who leave Google's clutches (or Facebooks, or <insert billion dollar conglomerate here>), the more we can effect the restructuring of how society functions. Part of this is choosing different services that value our privacy and autonomy. Part of this is using the very algorithms they use against us against them. This is why I'm only going 90%. I want to keep my YouTube channel active until it gets shut down (then I'll go 100% off Google). We need to be active in both spaces, cognizant of what is going on, with the purpose of being a voice on those services. I still have my Facebook- which I use to post podcast episodes and blog posts and keep track of people I value who aren't on other sites I'd prefer- but I tend toward alt-media. Minds.com, Mewe.com, Bitchute.com, and Rumble.com are my preferred. When Parlor was a thing, I was there.
All this to say, De-Google yourself. Know that they want to influence your decisions, and that they have goals of their own that don't align with yours. They don't care about you for any reason beyond your ability to be swayed to make them money. The same can be said for just about EVERY site out there. Very few are run for free, with free access, for nothing more than providing entertainment or information. Even here, I want to monetize so I can maybe, someday, work entirely from home. The difference is I won't build an AI driven algorithm to trick you into coming back. I won't sit there and put oodles of adverts on my blog for you to have to deal with. I won't charge a subscription for the regular blog or the podcast. If you pay for anything, it'll be stuff that's above and beyond what is already here. There is some of that being built in the background and I will get it out soon.
Anyway, stick around and see what comes along. There are books in the works, a rules set for a game based in the universe of the books, and eventual Battle Specter TV stuff. I got ideas, and five minutes or so a day to give it. It'll take time- but alt media creation is worth it.
Battle Specter, out.