Friday, May 07, 2021

I'm Finally Leaving Google Chrome Behind

Why I moved to Firefox, and won’t be looking back.

Google’s privacy policies continue to be a point of worry. The endless tracking and collection has become increasingly damaging as the online world progresses, and I have decided it is finally time to move to Mozilla’s Firefox over Google’s Chrome.

Growing up, I entrenched myself in any and all things Tech. As I chartered the vast technological ocean, one giant ship was responsible for a lot of waves. Google. My young, nerdy self became enamored with Google’s “Tech God” aura.

Chrome in 2009

I was easily convinced to move to Google Chrome in 2009. Fast forward to 2020, and it is clear that Google has pivoted from being a “Tech God” to simply being the largest Advertising Business in the capitalist world, who also develops tech to keep you in their ecosystem. They’ve begun abandoning more projects than they start, and it is clear to see they are not fully interested in advancing technology for the benefit of the consumer.

In 2016, we watched live as personal data collection was weaponized, and real people were manipulated into manufactured bias based on data collected about them. To plate it up on a smaller scale, data collected from my internet activities were making it harder and harder for me to separate work and home life. Ads at home, for products I would consider at work. News articles sent to me at all hours of the day based on Windows upgrades. (A topic I haven’t really wanted to think about while at home lately. RIP Windows 7…). These personalized ads and services were making increasingly clear just how much data was being collected about me, and how much of an effect that was starting to have on me.

Why Firefox?

There are many different browser alternatives. From Opera, Tor, Brave, even Microsoft Edge. I’ve used a few of them, each with their own advantages. However, at the end of the day I could only commit my daily use to one company. The only company I could trust fully for this was Mozilla, and their Firefox browser.

Mozilla is a non-profit organization that has always advocated for a “Better” Internet. With privacy at the forefront of their developmental strategy, I trust Firefox to be a secure browser for me.

Now that I fully put my trust in them, time to migrate.

The Migration

A snowy, bitter Monday morning was going to be a turning point in my tech use. I installed Firefox, and began setting it up for my daily use. Getting signed in to all of my accounts and websites was a breeze because of BitWarden.

This is the password manager I began using in 2019, and it has served me incredibly well since. With each login possible within seconds with the Firefox extension, I wasn’t left scrambling when suddenly using a different browser.

Once I was happy with my desktop experience on Firefox, it was time to make the change on my Android phone as well. I opted to use a Firefox account to help sync my Firefox experience between my desktop and my phone. The only priority I had with syncing across devices was accessing my bookmarks. However, after setting it up the number 1 feature I use is sending a tab between devices.

When diagnosing IT problems at work, I can quickly scour forums, and tech support pages. When I find one that may be home to the answer, I send it to my phone and I am off to fix the issue wherever it may exist.

With Chrome officially replaced on my desktop and my phone, it was time to take it another step.

The Search Engine

As much as the Google Chrome browser is responsible for tracking, it all got started in the Google Search Engine. While I am not actively googling anything incriminating, I would like the comfort of searching a hardware component, without the entire internet trying to funnel me into purchasing that product. Or searching for a solution to a problem on older software, only to be sold a newer software.

Therefore, the hunt for a new search engine began. And it didn’t take long to find one I was comfortable with. DuckDuckGo.

So far, DuckDuckGo has been reliable, fast, and familiar to navigate. As well, between Firefox’s default blocking, and the additional blocking brought in from DuckDuckGo’s extension, I was immune to most internet tracking.


The Daily Use Experience

We can dive deep into the technical differences, interface differences, and other differences between Chrome and Firefox, but at the end of the day it all boils down to my daily use. With no surprise, I was totally used to using Firefox within a day. My work day, home browsing, and InTakeCreate work all flows as it always has, but now I have the comfort of knowing MUCH more of my data is contained, and not being snagged by the overreaching hands of corporations and advertisers.

It's That Easy

I finally left Google Chrome, and Google Search behind and I will not be looking back. My internet browsing is safer, unbiased and more secure.

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