I've always been a fan of Google and the tools they supply. I was a Gmail user very early on due to a fortuitousness early invite. I use an Android phone, Google Voice, Chrome, YouTube, Maps, and more. But with the recent closure of one of my favorite and most beloved tools, I no longer feel comfortable keeping myself in the Google sphere of influence. Can I quit Google?
The short answer: No.
It doesn't mean that I cannot better hedge myself against loosing another beloved product. I cannot completely leave, but I can transition off of the tools that have great alternatives, in this I hope to be better protected.
Let's start with the big ones:
This is easy. I've been using DuckDuckGo for a little more than a year and haven't looked back. Actually, I'd encourage everyone to switch for a while and find out all the benefits. Not only do you get great "summary results" at the beginning of the list, but you also get essentially just the important results. But what about the searches you need that you don't use Google for? DuckDuckGo has a bang(!) syntax that makes it very easy. Want to search Amazon?
!a search term You want to Wikipedia?
!w search term Youtube?
!yt search term and so much more.
This will be the hardest one. Gmail has been amazing, start to finish. I credit Paul Buchheit for knowing how to create and build a product, and his legacy endures in this tool. Not completely sure I can dump this. Right now, I'm considering moving my web hosting to Webfaction and using their mail system, also looking into paying for FastMail. Microsoft's Outlook.com is really good for mail, but based on my limited use, I'm not sure if I can commit to it regularly. YahooMail maybe, the new design is nice but I can't try it with the free version to see if I'd like it.
This one is really hard. I don't know of any decent alternative. Yahoo Calendar has been the best in the past, but I'd hope to keep my calendar and email side-by-side in order for best interoperability. Outlook.com is nice, but again long-term use might be difficult. Zoho? This is a rough one, and might be the reason I stick with Google and Gmail here.
Can't really find a complete replacement for Voice, but the main thing I use it for is Voicemail and transcriptions. SendHub looks good, but free version confuses me. It might be the best choice though. YouMail, HulloMail, Phonebooth, or Line2 might have the features I normally use...else I might just move back to my carrier's visual voicemail and call it good.
Uh...do I really need a replacement?
So this is an interesting one. I am a fan of the Chrome experience. I tried for the past 2-3 weeks going with Firefox Nightly/Palemoon to see if I could. It wouldn't be that bad, but I missed a number of really good extensions that didn't have sufficient alternatives. So I'm a bit stuck here. If Opera starts uses Chromium, then arguably it would be compatible with Chromium extensions. So that's an option. Right now, Comodo Dragon looks good with SRWare Iron a close second.
Still hoping for a good alternative here. I really like TheOldReader but it's very slow, updates were roughly every 4 hours. Newsblur is popular, but wasn't a fan. Feedbin sounds excellent but I'm not paying for a service I cannot try for a few weeks. I'm hopeful for--and possibly banking on--the digg reader but that's yet to release. I guess I have until July 1st to figure it all out though.
So as you can see, the answer is probably No. Google's best product, Gmail (coupled with Google Calendar and it's Android integration), is most likely enough to keep me tethered. But as you can see, I think--outside of a good Calendar replacement--if Google discontinued anything, I'd be ok with transitioning to a decent replacement. Did I leave anything off? Do you have suggestions that are better than the options I provide? I'd love to hear some feedback.