Click here for the first part of this post.
Click here for the second part of this post.
Today we’re going to kick things off with best note-taking apps.
Unfortunately, here too we find that Google has pretty much wrapped up things.
Of course, this is not a guide on how to submit to Google dominance.
This guide is about how to hit Google by removing it from one’s online life.
Let’s get to it.
Best Google Keep Alternatives
This is perhaps the only category where Google Keep is not the ultimate king.
In most of the other categories that we have discussed in the previous parts of this guide, Google has had good market dominance with one or two distant competitors.
But in the world of note-jotting apps, Google has to share space with three or four legitimate other options.
To start things off, we again come to the point that Google Keep isn’t necessarily a bad note taking app.
It has lots of features.
Some prefer Google Keep due to the fact that it has speech transcribing features.
Initially, Google Keeps came onto the scene as a replacement for the company’s other note taking application called Google Notebook.
Google, the company, merged Google Notebook directly into Google Docs.
That happened way back in 2012.
As soon as Google Notebook became a part of Google Docs, it lost plenty of its note-taking features.
Users started to feel that it no longer presented itself as a rapid facility for taking notes.
Our research shows that these users basically forced other companies to come up with legitimate alternatives.
And now we are here.
In today’s world, users have the option of going completely Google-Free in almost any category of digital applications and services.
Let’s take a look at some of the best Google Note alternatives when it comes to note-taking applications.
Our list is,
- Standard Notes
- Moleskine Journal
- Awesome Note
All of these note-taking apps come for free.
But the more important point is that all of them offer at least one improvement over Google Keep and its functionalities.
This option mainly for users on the iOS platform.
In other words, developers have designed the Awesome Note package to work best on platforms and devices that make use of the iOS operating system.
This, by the way, includes devices such as Apple Watch.
Users have the option of syncing their notes and other noteworthy things in iCloud.
This, in turn, allows them to make all of that information available on all of their other devices as well.
Awesome Note protects the transfer of files between the user’s device and the iCloud service via encryption.
That is great as far as privacy is concerned.
Things such as having complete access to the app itself and all the content which a user may have stored on his/her device, is completely controlled by Apple iOS platform’s Touch ID.
We have already explained that Touch ID is nothing but Apple’s way of offering users a physical authentication system.
Awesome Note categories the user’s notes into different folders.
Some of these folders are for calendar schedules.
Other folders act as the user’s place for diary entries.
What we mean to say is that, this app is perfect for those who not only want to get rid of Google Keep but also Google Calendar.
Apart from that, Awesome Note has the ability to integrate,
This is one of the handful of apps that we have mentioned in this guide which allows personal users to have access to a free account.
Of course, since Evernote has to make its money from somewhere, it doesn’t offer the same convenience to businesses.
In other words, businesses have to come up with some money in order to use the Evernote service.
Evernote, in our opinion, is the industry leader when it comes to note-taking apps.
It has all the features that one would expect from a note-taking app.
In fact, we believe that there is not a single alternative to Evernote if we want another note-taking app offer everything that Evernote offers.
The other thing readers should take notice of is that Evernote is not just a note-taking app.
It is a system.
The company calls is the Evernote system.
And we know of many note-taking applications which have done nothing but add a different front-end to the original Evernote system.
One other way that Evernote distinguishes itself from Google Note is that it is pretty forthcoming about explaining to users and customers how the company would protect the privacy of their data.
This keenness is truly rare in an online service.
Usually, online services try to keep things private as much as possible to sucker in customers who don’t know any better.
But not Evernote.
Perhaps that is due to the fact that the company feels sufficiently confident in its offering and is not afraid to say things as they are rather than as customers would like.
To further advance its mission to be as transparent as possible, Evernote as also put out a manifesto.
The company has called the manifesto, The Three Laws of Data Protection.
Evernote describes those three laws as,
- The users’ data is their own
- Their data is protected
- Their data is completely portable.
Let’s summarize the philosophy which drives Evernote forward.
First of all, the one thing readers need to get a clear head on is the fact that Evernote, as a company, does purchase the help from third-party services by signing contracts with them.
These third-party companies then provide customer support to Evernote users.
However, Evernote contracts are such that it prevents third-party companies from collecting and storing customer private data.
Evernote also does not allow third-party companies to sell user data.
Needless to say, Evernote, itself, does not engage in the activity of selling user data.
Of course, it does not mean that Evernote does not analyze the user’s activity.
It has to do that.
Because there is no other way for Evernote or any other technology company to provide customers with certain features without analyzing their data first.
We’re not saying that Evernote needs private user data to function.
But we are saying that for some of the functions, there is no other way to go about it.
We’re talking about features such as search results recommendations and, following from that, popular features recommendations.
Evernote, just like Awesome Note, protects data storage and transfer via encryption.
Moreover, pretty much similar to Awesome Note, Evernote also offers users the two-factor authentication feature for its security system.
The first good thing about Joplin that anyone visiting the company’s official website would notice is that it has full compatibility with Evernote.
Moreover, users have the option of importing all the files that they may have created with Evernote directly into Joplin.
This makes it easy for users to jump from one platform to another.
A lot of technology companies try to stay away from offering users such features for the fear that may become customers of their rivals, but not Evernote.
Anyway, forgetting Evernote for a bit, Joplin makes use of the markdown format to keep its notes.
Moreover, each note that the user makes is actually filed as a portion of an overall notebook.
This notebook acts as a directory and categorization structure.
Joplin, unlike Google Keep, is an open-source note-taking app and/or program.
What does that mean for the end user?
It means that there is nothing standing in the way of users who want to comb through the application’s entire code in order to make sure that the company is not making use of any hidden tracking and recording libraries.
These tracking and recording libraries can become a problem for privacy-conscious users because the application on which these are used may compromise the user’s privacy when they use it (the application).
At the time of writing this guide, the official Joplin application has support for platforms and operating systems such as,
- Mac OS X
Any file and/or files that the user saves via Joplin eventually go straight into the system’s directory of the user’s device.
However, users have the option of selecting to disable this option and instead attaching a cloud file storage account directly to the official Joplin application.
When the user does that, Joplin will simply save all the files there.
For clarity’s sake, readers should understand that Joplin does not supply any service related to cloud storage space.
Hence, the actual security of the files and folders that the user transfers from his/her device to the related cloud service’s server will depend on the security features that the storage provider is using.
There are a lot of brands when it comes to different stationery items and notepads.
This one, Moleskine, comes from Italy.
In other words, it is an Italian brand.
It offers high-quality products.
And appeals a great deal to those consumers who are very design conscious.
Now, Moleskine has started to offer free applications related to note-taking and others.
At the moment, it is only offering these applications and programs for operating systems such as iOS.
These are able to integrate well with the brand’s unique style.
Currently, there is a range of different Moleskine application.
One of them is Journal.
As mentioned at the top as well, the Moleskine Journal app is a high-quality sketchpad and note-taking app from Moleskine.
This Moleskine utility is currently available for all Android smartphone devices via the official Google Play Store.
As it turns out, the official Moleskine Journal app also has full compatibility with Apple pencil.
Hence users who sign up and install Moleskine Journal will have an easier time in drawing directly onto the display screens of their mobile internet-enabled devices.
Apart from the Moleskine Journal app, the company also sells journal types and templates in order to assist users in ordering their notes.
We have already explained that the Moleskine Journal is an extremely stylish notepad app.
It not only offers a lot of artistic value and merit but also status (of sorts).
At the very least, it leaves behind applications and services like Google Keep, in these two departments.
Of course, there is a high probability that the user would simply not care about artistic value and or status.
And hats off to those users from Security Gladiators.
However, even if one throws out those two aspects of a given application, the official Moleskine Journal still has plenty to offer.
Since the brand if from Italy, this means the company behind the app is based in Europe.
And because Moleskine is based in Europe, it has no other choice but to implement the recent GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rule.
This rule is fantastic news for privacy-conscious users as it protects the user’s personal information from technology companies who want to disclose this information to third-party companies.
The other thing readers should know right now is that, the company stays away from claiming any type of ownership of its customers’ data that the customer may or may not store in his/her account.
The company also does not have any access to the user’s content in his/her account.
Because it encrypts all such data.
Another note-taking application that has enough about it to give the likes of Google Keep a good run for their money.
What do we mean by that?
We mean that Standard Notes offers all the standard features that a good note-taking app should offer.
Let’s start off with the fact that Standard Notes offers users integrated encryption.
Right now, the Standard Notes note-taking system is available on all major platforms and operating systems such as,
- Mac OS X
Users have the option of accessing Standard Notes as an online service via the Standard Notes official website.
There is also an official Google Chrome extension using which users can access their notes.
Standard Notes categories notes by type.
In other words, when the user creates a new note, it forces the user to first choose a template.
Using information from the template the user selects, Standard Notes moves forward to take that note and store it in a predefined category.
There are many types of different notes available.
For example, Standard Notes offers,
- Blog posts
- Journal entries
- To-do list items
- Items related to food
It also allows users to sync their lists across all of their other internet-enabled devices.
Just like the other options that we have mentioned above, this one also protects all file transfers via end-to-end encryption.
Moreover, it also covers data transfers and storage with the help of AES encryption.
It also makes use of a 256-bit encryption key.
We have already mentioned the fact that all note-taking apps on this list are free.
And Standard Notes is no exception.
However, apart from the free account, it also offers users a paid account.
The paid account upgrades the base service with certain add-ons.
One of those add-ons is the two-factor authentication system.
The upgraded option also offers users the ability to actually sync their data to a cloud storage and/or email service of their choice.
Best Google Calendar Alternatives
Google launched its Google Calendar service about 12 years ago in 2006.
Back then, it did not look anything like it does today.
In 2012, Google Calendar was a standalone online calendar management service.
Now, the company offers a variety of ways to access Google Calendar.
Users have the option of accessing Google Calendar over their internet via their web browser with an internet connection.
Moreover, online consumers can also access Google Calendar via the official Google Play Store by downloading Google Calendar for Android.
It is also available for the iOS operating system.
Now, the problem with this calendar app is pretty much the same problem that one comes across all Google products.
That problem is privacy.
More specifically though, Google Calendar has strong connections with Google’s email service called Gmail.
Of course, on the face of it, Google isn’t an evil corporation.
As per the company statements, it only wants to help users find what they want to find with the minimal amount of effort.
In its bid to do so, the company has several links between Google Calendar and Gmail.
The company’s systems search through the user’s email messages and then identify all the important events and appointments.
Google systems find the information they think the user needs and then arrange that information.
After that, they automatically add the appointments and other events to the user’s calendar.
Some find that behavior creepy.
And perhaps for good reason.
Why do we say that?
We say that because of Google’s reputation.
Throughout this guide, we have mentioned this fact many times that Google, without most of its services, collects too much data.
In fact, independent investigators have actually caught the company rifling directly through the messages and other content of their customers’ emails.
That is not good no matter which part of the world you come from.
The other thing that Google’s behavior somewhat proves that it isn’t always necessary that a given automation system which gathers information on its users in order to identify the user’s appointments does so solely for the benefit of the user.
These data gathering processes are the reason why so many people want to move away from Google Calendar and onto something else that will not eat up their data so ruthlessly.
So what are our options?
Well, we have gone out in the wild and have identified some of the best online calendar apps available in the market today.
Our list of best Google Calendar alternatives looks something like this,
- Moleskine Actions
Let’s take a look at each of these services to find out if they are really worth it for the user who wants a Google Calendar alternative without spending a single dollar.
Before we actually take a look at our options, we would like to mention right here and right now that though the apps we mention have free versions, for the most part, they also have paid versions for those users who want something extra.
Something that Google calendar could never offer them.
This is one Calendar app which starts its name with a small letter instead of a capital one.
That says nothing about the quality of service on offer here.
aCalendar comes from TAPIRapps.
It is one of the handful of calendar applications that come with privacy features.
When users have installed this application, they can clearly see a classic-looking calendar layout on the main screen of the app.
If the user tries to click on a given date, the app moves ahead to produce a reasonably detailed screen which essentially acts like the user’s diary for the day.
Moreover, once the user has gotten the hang of things and has scheduled various events, he/she is free to share all the details of his/her events and/or meetings with other people.
The official aCalendar app enables users to share information such as,
with other users via methods such as QR and NCR barcodes.
The official aCalendar app tries to further assist users by automatically including different markers for various different public holidays and also school vacations.
There are also some other facilities in the official aCalendar app such as a contact database.
Using the contact database the user can avail functions which allow him/her to link to different events that he/she has scheduled in the original calendar application.
As mentioned before as well, TAPIRapps tries to distinguish itself from other calendar management apps by not collecting, storing and/or selling any kind of personal information.
Etar is a bit lesser known in the calendar app market.
Nevertheless, it is a fully functional calendar system which has the ability to integrate privacy and security features of all sorts.
As far as the utility’s code is concerned, it is pretty much open source.
Hence, users who have the time and the skills to read through the source code can do is in order to ensure that Etar is not making use of any sneaky and malicious monitoring routines within the app.
Now, the main problem with using Etar as your main calendar app is that, currently it is only available for one platform.
That platform is the Android platform.
Users have the option of performing a tap right through the Etar calendar in order to see weeks and months.
After the user has done that, he/she is free to drill down a bit more to view the daily schedule.
From here, the user can also observe tasks which actually carry over a period of several months, weeks and/or days.
The one thing that users don’t need to worry about when it comes to using Etar is that, it doesn’t show users any ads.
It doesn’t make use of trackers.
And it does not harvest user data with its official calendar application.
Of course, the Etar calendar does exploit various facilities that the official Android calendar offers.
In this way, Etar is able to act as an add-on rather than anything else, to the native and official Android application.
As far as effective calendar systems go, Fruxx is probably the most attractive choice.
It also happens to come for free.
The official Fruxx app supports platforms and operating systems such as,
- Mac OS X
Users also have the opportunity of accessing the Fruxx service via its web portal.
The company also provides users with the opportunity to synchronize all the information available and stored in Fruxx systems across all of his/her internet-enabled devices directly over the wider world of the internet.
Users can also share their calendars with each member of a given team.
Apart from that, they are free to send a secure and private link to any of the team’s individual if they want that individual to access his/her related and specific task card.
All of these features mean one thing:
Fruxx is not just a dedicated calendar app.
It is more.
Instead of being just a calendar application, it is actually a project management tool.
Of course, that should not take us away from the fact that even now the core offering and service of the company involve the Etar calendar.
In other words, strictly speaking, Etar is still pretty much a standard calendar application.
Users have the option of marking events.
Even those that stretch across weeks and/or days.
What type of events are those?
You know them.
These are events such as,
- Training courses
There is also a very important second element of the official Fruxx calendar app.
The company calls it the task list.
Now, each of the shown tasks has a specific card.
Users can have a look at this card and then see the details of the related task.
Not only that, but users can also have a look at other information such as the progress of the task as well as the timeline.
Perhaps this is also a good time to mention that Fruxx does come with a contact database just like Etar.
It is one of its final features that we would like to mention as far as this guide is concerned.
Readers should also know that as far as their privacy goes, Fruxx is actually NOT as secure as some of the other calendar management apps that we have mentioned so far.
Why do we say that?
We say that because this calendar application is not open source.
That is always a telltale sign that the company behind a given application either has some problems going on or is doing something that it does not want customers to know about.
Of course, there are hundreds of good applications that are not open source, so readers should keep that in mind as well.
The other thing we would like readers to consider is the terms of service document.
Fruxx has one.
And it says that the company has no problems in collecting personal and private information on its customers.
The company’s terms of service document mean that the company can even collect calendar content.
This might become a huge problem for the more privacy-conscious of our readers here on Security Gladiators.
Otherwise, this is a legit option.
The Italian stationers are back again.
This time Moleskine wants online consumers to try out another free application.
Our research shows that this application has a good portion of style and a bit of taste embedded right into its modern design.
The application we are talking about here goes by the name of Moleskine Actions.
Before reading ahead, readers should know that currently, this calendar application is only available on the operating system that we call iOS.
We like to refer to Moleskine Actions more of a scheduling system rather than just ca calendar.
Because it manages to emulate the exact layout of this brand’s printed diaries which had a classic theme to them.
Using the Moleskine Actions calendar application is simple enough.
All that the user has to do is to write any and all forthcoming events in Moleskine Action and then they can schedule those events to appear in a regular manner in one’s diary.
That is it.
The official Moleskine Actions application has the ability to integrate with other online Moleskine services for the iOS platform such as Timepage.
If users want to combine the two services then that’s okay.
The other benefit of combing Timepage and Action is that, the combined product becomes a comprehensive replacement for the privacy-shattering Google Calendar.
Again, another scheduling system which works on iOS devices.
It allows users to create, edit, and write handwritten notes on their iOS device.
That is great.
The app has the design for that as well.
Additionally, the Penultimate calendar app/tool makes use of the Evernote platform.
Hence, users can fully integrate Penultimate with the previously-mentioned Evernote in order to have themselves more notetaking features.
As far as the price goes, the base Penultimate service comes at a sweet sweet price of nothing.
Apart from that, there are a total of two subscription packages and/or options.
It is certainly possible to sync data across one’s Internet-enabled devices, but the user needs to have an official Evernote account.
The Evernote system also provides protection to all the files and other data while in transit.
That is great as well.
Now, we mentioned in the beginning that the Penultimate system enables users to not only create events but also write notes in freehand.
Because of this feature, it also provides users with another method to integrate drawing into their notes and events.
Of course, the writing system would require a dedicated hardware component.
That hardware component, according to our research, comes in the form of Jot Script Evernote Edition Stylus.
Using the Penultimate system, users can actually incorporate color in their notes.
Additionally, the Penultimate note-taking system offers users a multiple number of default backgrounds and templates.
Of course, users have the option of importing their own templates in order to create forms for office use and/or personalized digital stationery.
Best Google Photos Alternatives
This is the big one as far as Security Gladiator’s staff is concerned.
Because everybody is busy taking photos and uploading it to some cloud storage.
Hence, this option means something for a lot of folks we surmise.
What many readers may not know is that Google Photos initially was devised to become a part of the company’s Google Plus offering.
Then in 2015, the company decided to separate the two services.
And hence Google Photos became an independent online service.
Aren’t we all glad it did?
Not ALL of us anyway.
With that said, one can’t deny the good things that come with Google Photos.
First of all, Google Photos is free.
And not only that, it provides online consumers with an unlimited amount of storage for their videos and photos.
This feature alone is enough for users to give up their privacy and their anonymity and take as many pictures as their heart desires.
Is that a good exchange?
Of course not.
People who value who they are and don’t want a corporation to know where they went and what they did, should seriously think about whether they want it to know that stuff about them.
In any case, let’s take a look at the details of Google Photos before we present some good Google Photos alternatives.
First, Google Photos allows users to store photos which are up to 16 megapixels and no higher in detail.
As for videos, it only allows users to upload videos which are 1080p and no more.
The very convenient part about the whole situation is that Google Photos is available to anyone and everyone via nothing but a web browser.
Of course, there are also official apps.
And Google wants users to make use of those apps on their Android and iOS platforms.
Now, remember when we said that at the top that everyone now wanted to take photos and then upload it to a cloud storage?
Just that we’re on the same page, we never said that online consumers were only using Google Photos for that purpose.
In other words, Google Photos is not as popular as some of the other Google offerings such as Gmail and Google search engine.
Now, what does Google Photos not being an extremely popular service have to do with our guide?
Well, the fact that Google Photos is not a market dominator in their category means that the actual market for online photo storage and galleries is wide open.
Google, for some reason, has not managed to complete crush it and convert it into a Killzone as well.
So with no Google product to displace, here is a list of Google Photos alternatives that we think every online consumer should try at least once.
- Adobe Bridge
Before we start to take a look at each of these options in detail, we want the readers to know that all of these best Google Photos alternatives offer users a great set of features which will help them to not only organize their photos but also their videos.
They also offer sharing features to make it easy for the whole extended family/friends to see and enjoy.
Adobe is a giant corporation with revenues above 7 billion USD per year.
But bear with us for a few moments.
The first thing we want readers to understand is that Adobe, as a photo management system, actually does not aim to provide its services to individuals.
Of course, it wants as many people to use its services as possible.
But, generally speaking, Adobe products are aimed at various-sized companies.
Instead of a private individual, that’s what Adobe concentrates on.
The purpose of most Adobe products is also simple enough.
And that goes something along the lines of the company having this desire to assist various kinds of graphic designers to easy assemble presentations which they can then convert and generate into PDF documents.
The new Adobe Bridge system wants to help you, first, organize and then standardize your images.
It wants to do that so that people are able to have the exact same color scale and resolution.
Users who have enough know-how can get the Adobe Bridge system to successfully generate various types of titles and thumbnails for them.
This makes it very easy for a lot of users to store their pictures in their galleries online.
For users who want to not only store their pictures online but also want to display them (so that their friends and other online consumers can see them) then they will need to sign up for the company’s product that goes by the name of Adobe Portfolio.
For all intents and purposes, Adobe Bridge (as a photo collection system) is a desktop application.
Users can download and install it for free.
Currently, Adobe supports operating systems such as,
- Mac OS X
So no Linux.
And no iOS.
As for features, the Adobe Bridge desktop application offers users plenty of features include transfer management of photos and videos when the user is trying to download them from his/her camera as well as digital watermarking,
We think our first Google Photos alternative should work pretty well for all kinds of online consumers.
Cluster represents those photo management services that work completely online.
In other words, all that online consumers have to do in order to use Cluster is to connect their device to the internet and use a web browser to log into their official website.
For online consumers who are on mobile devices, Cluster offers dedicated and customized apps for the iOS and Android operating systems.
In other words, users do not have to install anything in order to access Cluster, the photo management service.
The service is free.
It makes an attempt to provide users with a service for their gallery as well as their social media functions.
Online consumers using Cluster can organize their photos into different albums.
After doing that, they have the option of inviting other people to view their online album as well.
In fact, Cluster also provides them with a way to add to their album.
The other thing readers need to note here is that Cluster has this photo stream feature.
This Cluster photostream contains all of the user’s photos from all of his/her albums and all of the albums to which the user has been invited to as a contributor.
Similar to Instagram and Facebook, this photo management service (Cluster) enables visitors to the user’s album to not only view the user’s photos but also comment on them.
The Cluster photo management service also enables users to not only upload photos but also control who actually has access to the user’s photos.
One other reasonable aspect about Cluster is that the company only stores that personal information which the user has knowingly given to the company.
This is the same information that the user has to provide to Cluster while registering to the service.
Cluster, as a photo management service, also records the user’s visits to the official website.
Its logs such information against the user’s account and also the user’s IP address.
Moreover, the company has also admitted in the past that it does share that information which it has gathered on its members.
However, it does not only on an aggregated format basis.
In other words, Cluster does not share or sell user information which someone can use to trace a particular individual.
That is definitely a relief considering how much monitoring Google and Facebook do on their users.
What is Ever?
Surprise, it is a photo sharing application and/or system.
It is free.
And users can access Ever (the photo sharing system) directly through an offline desktop application.
The desktop application is currently available for operating systems such as,
- Mac OS X
However, the company also provides dedicated apps for mobile devices that make use of operating systems such as iOS and Android.
It is interesting to note that Ever seems bent on depicting the company as an online photo backup (free) service.
That would be okay except for the fact that it also includes many photo management functions.
Moreover, it also enables online consumers to share their photos to whom they wish in a pretty similar manner to how users would do it when using the various social media websites.
As mentioned at the top as well.
The basic service is free.
Additionally, it does not put a limit on the number of photos or the amount of storage users can consume as cloud storage for their photos.
Now, we know that we’re listing the best Google Photos alternatives.
But that should not stop us or anyone from saying that Google Photos has some really useful features.
Think of the way Google Photos manages and recognizes the different types of photos that the user uploads to the service.
Google Photos is able to pick out whether the photos the user has uploaded is of people only or travel.
Google Photos can also categorize them accordingly.
Why are we discussing that?
We’re discussing that because Ever has that feature as well.
It is not a replica.
But works in a similar way to Google Photos.
The Ever photo management service also offers users a search facility.
This search facility enables users to view their photos by date and/or theme.
They don’t have to restrict themselves to just albums anymore.
Ever also makes use of the digital magazine format.
This feature which lies within the Ever service, allows users to assemble their collection of photos into albums.
And not just any albums.
We’re talking about albums which look like real physical image albums.
The company calls this feature Ever Books.
Okay, now that we’re done with the good news, do you want to hear the bad news?
Well, the bad news is that the Ever Books feature does not come for free.
The company expects the online consumer to pay up some money to use this exclusive and premium feature.
Online consumers who want to purchase the paid version of Ever photo management system should know that the company calls its premium subscription package, Ever Plus.
But Ever Plus doesn’t just give users the Ever Books features.
It comes with many other bonus features.
Some might like to call them enhancements.
In any case, these “enhancements” include the ability to not only store photos but also order the prints of one’s photos in one’s Ever account.
The Ever Plus service makes sure that protects all storage and transfer operations via encryption.
Moreover, for Ever Plus users, the company actually keeps several copies of the content that they have uploaded to the service.
And it stores all that content on different storage servers.
This setup essentially protects user data from getting lost in the case the company experiences a hardware failure.
Some of you might be wondering why we have mentioned anything about video/videos when talking about Ever.
Well, it is because it does not offer any functions for any type of video storage.
And that’s that.
The first two things everyone should know about Piwigo is that, it is open source and it is free.
Most consider it as an online photo platform rather than anything else.
Users can utilize all Piwigo services via their web browser by simply going to the company’s official website.
Users also have the option of hosting themselves.
As mentioned now, in order to actually access the Piwigo service one has to use a web browser on his/her computer device that has an internet connection.
There is one other way as well.
Users can download the official and dedicated Piwigo app for the iOS platform.
Readers should keep in mind that the official Piwigo app is a mobile app which can connect to the user device’s camera.
That way, users get the opportunity to upload their freshly-generated photos to the official Piwigo photo servers.
This setup helps users to prevent their scarce and expensive device memory from overloading with photos.
Piwigo allows users to set up an official and free user account for themselves, or for a user group or even for an entire company.
It also enables users to share their photos and stuff via invitation.
On the other hand, users are totally free to keep their stuff private and not share them.
The other thing readers should understand here is that only those “other” people would have the opportunity to see a given user’s photos via the Piwigo platform who have received an invitation from the uploader of the photos.
The official Piwigo service comes pre-packed with a number of templates for general layouts which enable users to actually present their photos in their own unique and exciting ways.
There are some layouts which consist of text fields.
What does this do?
This enables any user with enough time and will to use that template in order to assemble his/her own online-only magazine.
Piwigo takes it upon itself to automatically generate the required metadata for all the photos that the user uploads to the company’s servers.
The company protects file storage and transfers with the help of user authentication and encryption.
Users who sign up with Shoebox get to enjoy an unlimited amount of photo storage.
The service is free.
Now, even though the actual Shoebox service does not require the user to download anything (in other words, it is a complete online service), users can access the service via a special user interface instead of accessing it through their web browser.
Moreover, even though users can access the service online, the company also provides an app for those who are in the habit of installing things before they use them.
Currently, the app is actually available for platforms such as,
- Mac OS X
Apart from the free version, the company also offers users a paid version of its online Shoebox service.
In Shoebox, users have an online service that allows them to store videos.
However, the service does not manage them as well as some of the other services on this list and of course, Google Photos.
Additionally, Shoebox puts fairly heavy limits on videos that users can upload to its platform.
One limit that should bother everyone is the 3 minutes limit.
In other words, the maximum duration of the videos that Shoebox allows users to upload is 3 minutes.
Moreover, the total storage that the company allows a single user to make use of cannot exceed 15 minutes of continuous video.
As for security, Shoebox protects storage and file transfer via encryption.
And it too offers multi-server data backups to the user.
The company also allows users to upload their photos and then invite their friends and family to have a look at them.
One other interesting bit is that the company stays away from making any claims of the ownership of the content and the data that the company’s customers and/or members upload to their own Shoebox accounts.
Best Google Plus Alternatives
The social media market had already seen the likes of Orkut, Twitter, and Facebook when Google finally decided to launch its Google Plus offering.
To put it another way, Google got late.
And hence, never really managed to have any effect on the dominance achieved by Facebook in the social media realm.
Of course, this isn’t an excuse that Google can really make.
Because it is the biggest technology company in the world and has tons of money to burn.
Moreover, even later entrants to the social media platform field than Google Plus such as Pinterest and Instagram managed to have more success than Google Plus.
In fact, both Pinterest and Instagram carved out niche markets for themselves while Google Plus just lied there stagnant hoping that people would just abandon Facebook for it just because it has the name Google slapped on it.
Now, we are perfectly aware of the fact that a lot of our readers probably do not use Google Plus in any case.
It is highly likely that our readers would either have an Instagram or a Facebook account.
But since we have dedicated ourselves to those who value privacy, security, and anonymity, we simply cannot ignore those who may totally shun social media forever.
So it should not come as a surprise to anyone when we say that if an online consumer is concerned about privacy, then the option of shunning social media altogether is perhaps the best move they can ever make.
It is the cheapest and best strategy to protect one’s privacy and online anonymity.
Various independent researchers have time and time again shown how all the big hitters belonging to the social media platform market have used people’s data in less than ideal ways.
To put it in simpler terms, researchers have exposed these platforms as data miners.
The only thing great about Facebook and Instagram along with every other such type of platform is that, people working for these companies managed to lure the unwary and uneducated general public to not only provide them with all their private data but also give them the data of their friends and family.
Of course, we don’t blame the users.
Because Facebook and Instagram both pay software engineers a ton of money to build an all-encompassing and well-presented marketing survey apparatus.
Now, just because most security researchers consider the likes of Facebook and Instagram evil, it doesn’t mean that one would see other “entrepreneurs” staying away from providing any competition.
And there is a lot of competition.
In fact, our research shows that there are some really interesting social media platforms which are actually minnows as far as their size is concerned.
All of these platforms are accessible through the web.
Most of these small social media platforms actually try to cater to nice user groups.
In fact, we believe that some users may finally find in our picks an online social media platform that they have always wanted to use (at least from the outside, because in the tech world one never knows what company would turn out what way in the future).
So here is our list of best Google Plus alternatives.
Readers should take note here that each of the best Google Plus alternatives that we will mention here will offer them a special twist on the old social media platform formula.
This can have many benefits, some of which we have already talked about.
However, because of the specialist nature of these social media platforms, they will automatically not appeal to the general online public.
The operators and owners of these social media tools already know that.
And hence, they don’t expect their platforms to rival Facebook anytime under a thousand years.
This type of approach offers users a lot of benefits.
For one, since there is no ambition to keep eating up the market till none remains, these specialist social media platforms don’t have any need of monitoring user activity and harvesting their data in order to make money and dominate the online world.
It also means that users who are sick of Facebook and Google Plus but still want to enjoy a bit of social media-like platform every now and then, should find enough content via our best Google Plus alternatives without necessarily giving up their privacy.
Unlike the giant of the social media today, Diaspora makes the company’s position on user privacy as clear as possible.
The users of the platform own their data and no one else.
Needless to say, that is at the very least refreshing.
Such platforms would definitely raise more voices for a change in current systems such as that of Facebook and others.
As mentioned before as well, social media websites such as Facebook bury the devilish details in their long and difficult Terms of Service documents.
If one does spend a bit of time reading the actual documents, one would find out that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, claim ownership of anything and everything that the user posts via their online systems.
Diaspora has a different architecture altogether.
It spreads its service neatly across a large network of online servers.
These servers are present in all corners of the world.
Reading this, some may get the idea that a user may find himself/herself restricted since such a setup would limit his/her contacts to only those “random” online users who have registered on that same online server.
Diaspora tries to overcome that problem by linking together all the distributed servers.
In other words, it is perfectly possible for Diaspora members to actually make contact with other Diaspora members regardless of their location or their home server.
It is also true that when a service spreads its users across the entire globe and allocates a certain number to various different servers, it grants the service (and hence, the user’s experience) a performance boost.
Moreover, such a system also creates a decent security firebreak.
In any case, some research has shown that the majority of online users on social media sites tend to start communications with only those people who are either in or close to their own area.
They also have friends from places which are far away from their own location, but these friends are few in number.
Diaspora people understand that.
And hence make sure that they are able to make those communications that users have with their local friends (or people living nearby) faster and more efficient when compared to communications with people from other countries.
Under normal circumstances, if a hacker or a group of hackers manages to hack directly into the underlying and critical areas of the operating system of any membership server, such a break would allow hackers to gain complete access to each and every user’s private data.
That is not the case with Diaspora.
As mentioned before, it has a different architecture.
The setup of its systems means that even if the hacker manages to compromise all its security measures and backup safety steps also fail, the actual number of Diaspora members whose data the hacker could steal is drastically low.
Diaspora allows users to post to their Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook accounts directly from Diaspora.
Diaspora, like Facebook, is free to use.
Moreover, it even allows users to host the Diaspora platform on their own server.
The creators and developers of Mastodon designed this platform as a kind of self-hosted modern social media platform.
Hence, this is the ideal solution for users who have this desire to set up their very own community.
Examples could include setting up a site for a business and/or for a club.
Mastodon allows any member of the public to actually set up his/her own server.
Any user can also make an application to join another server that someone else (a private individual) has set up.
We would also like to inform the user that individual Mastodon communities have the option of interconnecting with each other.
Hence, users who are not signing up their company or their own community and/or group, could simply install the official hosting software on their computer machines and then use that application to connect directly to other Mastodon individual members who are on the same system.
With the help of such a method, a user is sure to join that system which pretty much should look like a P2P or peer-to-peer online network.
Since there is a lack of organization which is centrally trying to manage the whole Mastodon system, the company does not have anything or anyone who is accumulating all the rights to the user data that Mastodon users have posted on the Mastodon platform.
As mentioned at the top as well, the entire server software for Mastodon is open source.
Hence, users who want to can perfectly check all of the code to see if Mastodon has inserted any mechanisms to collect data.
Just like Mastodon, Minds too is a social media platform that is decentralized.
This makes Minds pretty much similar to both the options that we have mentioned above in this very list.
With that said, it is also true that Minds has the advantage over the two previously-mentioned social media platforms in the sense that it implements cryptocurrency directly into its systems.
This gives Minds, the edge.
In simpler terms, users who spend time on Minds get to earn a crypto token.
Of course, they have to contribute to the overall system.
The user contributions can come in the form of operational services.
These activities include,
- Content contribution
- Server hosting
Just like Mastodon, the Minds social media platform is open source.
Hence, anyone can copy the code and install it on a given host without seeking anyone’s permission.
The open source philosophy is something that makes it virtually impossible for an organization, including Minds and the people working for it, to collect and then harvest user data in order to sell it to third party companies or use it for marketing means.
This is something that Facebook and Google do all the time.
And they do so without feeling any remorse for it.
The one problem with Minds is that users only have the option of using those crypto tokens within the systems of Minds.
Minds protects data transfers via end-to-end encryption.
People with a skeptic’s eye might have an idea that Minds is simply making money off of its users and then doubling it by asking them to spend on its own platform and on top of that is asking the user to “contribute” something to the platform.
But that is something that you, the reader, has to decide on his/her own.
One other distributed platform that we would like to mention on this list is Movim.
And this is something we have observed in all privacy-minded social media platforms.
They all employ the distributed architecture with great regularity.
All of this should give enough indications to the likes of Facebook and Google that this distributed architecture is perhaps the best way forward for them as well as all other social media platforms.
Movin is free.
And it is open source.
This enables any concerned online consumer to just copy and view the code and then set up the entire software on his/her own hosted server.
As a company, Movim tries to make it clear in no uncertain terms that the company simply has no interest in selling or collecting any user data.
As it turns out, the term Movim isn’t a name.
It is, in fact, an abbreviation.
In other words, Movim stands for My Open Virtual Identity Manager.
Movim has the XMPP chat protocol as its underlying technology.
The online community refers to this technology as Jabber.
The great thing about Jabber is that a given user can make use of any and all XMPP client for the purposes of connecting to the whole Movim community.
For users who don’t have access to a given XMPP client, the company makes efforts to provide them with an interface which connects them to the system.
Fundamentally speaking, Movin is nothing but an expansion of the XMPP chat facility.
Of course, it adds bonus social media functions and features on top of that chat facility.
As mentioned before, any user as the option of setting up a Movim host.
And similar to all other social media platforms on this list, the organizers of the central system have access to nothing in terms of the personal data that belongs to its users.
If there is one non-mainstream social media platform that is fast picking up the pace and getting popular than it is Seemit.
Just like Movim, this social media platform also makes use of the cryptocurrency model.
The company takes a pool of crypto credits and makes them available to users every single day.
Of course, the company only shares those credits with users who have contributed to the platform that given day.
Users who contribute the most, get the most in return and hence a larger slice of the overall pie.
Let’s make something clear.
Users don’t need to write entire articles for the Steemit platform nor work as a technician for the company to gain crypto tokens.
There are some sections of the Steemit website which awards users points for doing nothing but just visiting content and/or voting on certain content.
Our research shows that Steemit is starting to become a writer’s platform.
Because Steemit aims to supply visitors with current and new articles.
It also wants to provide visitors with technical advice on different issues.
The platform wants to inform and help the online cryptocurrency community.
Most of the times, writers have to promote all of their content on their own when it comes to social media marketing.
Moving forward from that, the Steemit model makes even more sense since it truncates the current working practice.
The platform hosts a given writer’s content.
It also provides the writer with a channel.
Using that channel, the writer can build up an audience.
Steemit does not take ownership of the content that its contributors develop.
Their work, is their work.
And the same goes for their personal data as well.
Steemit does not collect or sell any data that belongs to the members of its community.
This is it.
In this series, we hope there is nothing more to say.
Of course, there is one little thing that anyone and everyone can do right now to protect their privacy and anonymity without necessarily having to leave Google.
That thing is VPN.
More precisely, those who are concerned about their privacy should sign up for a VPN service.
Click here to find out how does a VPN work.
Click here to find out which is the best VPN service currently.
Our recommendation currently is IPVanish.
It is the best VPN service when it comes to bang-for-your-buck.
Click here to read our IPVanish review.
And click here to purchase IPVanish subscription from the official website (so you don’t get ripped off) right now.