July 13, 2009


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While I'm Thinking About It

Life Without Google, part the first

Suddenly, with Microsoft finally making a play for the web app market with Office 2010, Google's attempt to gain access to all data on your netbook, online or otherwise suddenly looks a bit less scary.

But I'm going ahead with this series of posts anyway, because what really makes me a fan of open source (beyond the fact that it's all free) is the notion that choice is a good thing, and the more options available, the better overall.

So, each day this week, I'm going to give alternatives to three of Google's services. Starting . . .


Blogger. There are a lot of blog publishing systems out there. Unfortunately, most of them require setting up on your own server and/or are designed to do so much more than a simple blog that setting it up gets to be more trouble than it might be worth. On the other hand, there's LiveJournal and WordPress, both of which will host your blog for you, for free. My personal bias is in favor of WordPress, mostly because I've actually set up their non-hosted version.

Google Earth. It's fun flying around and trying to guess when the satellite pictures were last updated. NASA offers the similar World Wind, which is open source but Windows only. On the web, there Wikimapia, which is a bit slow, and OpenStreetMap, which sacrifices satellite photos in favor of speed. None of them provide driving directions from what I can tell, but that's okay because Google's driving instructions have, in my personal experience, been about as accurate as the jokes about MapQuest.

Orkut. Bet you didn't know about this one. It's Google's attempt at a social networking site, and proof that not everything they get their hands on is worth using. MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, do I really have to provide the links here?

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