For many businesses, Google products can play an integral part in the productivity, function and even success of the company. This is because Google has designed their digital ecosystem to infiltrate every aspect of your work and personal life at low-to-no cost.
On the surface, this seems like a no-brainer. Why not have a cost-effective and seamlessly connected tech stack? It’s the complete package.
From Gmail to Google Analytics, it becomes hard to untangle yourself from this intricate web Google has managed to spin. But like a web, you know there’s also a catch.
This leads us to the big question… Why stop?
Google products are convenient and seemingly free. However, in recent years, Google’s name has become synonymous with privacy breaches, data leaks and illegal under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
As their track record shows a glaring disregard for data protection, a growing list of EU member countries like Austria, France, Denmark and Italy have banned Google products, such as Google Analytics, Google Workspace and Google Chromebook.
Google offers free products and services, but not out of altruism. There’s a trade-off. By using Google’s “free” products, your customers’ and your own online activity becomes a commodity that can be sold to advertisers.
When the risks of using Google products are considered, it becomes clear the need to plot a pathway to de-Google your business. If you’re wondering how in the world to uncoil from this web, fortunately, there are plenty of privacy-friendly, secure alternatives to Google products that you can choose.
Disclaimer: Below, we’ve tried our best to provide a comprehensive list of alternatives to Google products for businesses, but because you know your business best, we’d also encourage you to do your own research to ensure the tool will suit your unique needs.
Best Google alternative tools for business
Overall business tools
Google Workspace alternatives
Google Workspace isn’t GDPR compliant by default, so businesses are at risk of fines and reputational damage. More EU countries are reaching the same conclusion that Google products are violating EU law. Data Protection Authorities from Norway and Denmark have deemed Google Workspace illegal in accordance with the GDPR.
Nextcloud is an open-source and self-hosted productivity platform that offers a suite of services to replace the major features found in Google Workspace, such as Google Drive, Calendar, Docs, Forms and Tasks.
You can share files and collaborate without worrying about data being shared with unauthorised individuals or companies. As a self-hosted suite, you’re in full control of where your data is, who has access to it and can comply with the strictest of data protection legislations.
Zoho is a Google Workspace alternative built on the same principles as Google’s productivity suite. It offers a suite of online office tools, including email, calendar and task management, but with an emphasis on privacy protection. Zoho doesn’t rely on advertising revenue to support their business which means your personal data will never be sold or used for targeted ads.
With over 75 million users globally, Zoho offers data encryption at rest and at transit, multi-factor authentication and complies with strict security standards set by HIPAA, the Cloud Security Alliance and the GDPR.
Google only encrypts emails via STARTTLS. In other words, your data isn’t end-to-end encrypted and can be decrypted by them at any time. Gmail also has a history of allowing third-party app developers that work with Gmail to access private and personal Gmail messages for their own market research purposes.
ProtonMail is a secure, open-source email service that provides end-to-end encryption, so only the sender and receiver can access the messages. Proton deliberately doesn’t possess the key needed to decrypt any part of the message, so you know your sensitive business information is always private.
To protect users from digital surveillance, they also provide enhanced tracking protections and don’t rely on ads, so your data isn’t mined for advertising purposes. Not only that, you can also sync ProtonMail with a host of other Google alternative products, such as Proton Calendar and Proton Drive.
Mailfence is a highly secure communications and planning platform that offers a complete email suite, as well as, Documents, a Calendar and Groups. It provides end-to-end encryption and comes with a built-in data loss prevention system that prevents unauthorised access to your sensitive information.
Mailfence is completely ad-free and promises to never commercialise its databases or share data with third parties for targeted ads.
Tutanota is an open-source email service known as one of the first to offer end-to-end encryption. It boasts a user-friendly interface and offers a fast, simple and secure email service that works on web and mobile platforms. Stringent security, in addition to TOTP and U2F for two-factor authentication means you control who has access to your email and messages.
It requires no phone number or personal information to register for a free account. In addition, Tutanota doesn’t earn money through ads, its servers are based in Europe and it is fully GDPR compliant.
Google Calendar alternatives
Calendars can contain a lot of personal information (who you are meeting, location, contact info, etc.), which is well worth keeping private.
With Proton Calendar all event details – participants, locations, event names, descriptions and notes are end-to-end encrypted. It has a clean and easy-to-use interface, and you get a full set of advanced features to replace Google Calendar, such as the ability to create events and reminders, add multiple calendars and set up repeating events. You can easily sync all your calendars between mobile and desktop apps.
Mailfence Calendar lets you manage, schedule and track your events and meetings. Similar to Google Calendar, you can invite people to events using their Mailfence email IDs, but it doesn’t track your location or email address.
Tutanota Calendar offers built-in encryption, so no one else can decrypt and read your information.
You can keep track of your appointments and meetings in a secure environment that only you have access to. You get features, such as day/week/month view, all-day events, recurring events, upcoming events view and shared calendars. You can also sync it with other apps such as Outlook.
Nextcloud Calendar app
Nextcloud also offers a Calendar app which easily syncs events from different devices with your Nextcloud account. You can integrate it with other Nextcloud apps like Contacts, Talk and Tasks.
Google Drive alternatives
The GDPR emphasises end-to-end encryption as a safeguard against data leaks, but Google Drive isn’t end-to-end encrypted, so Google has access to the data on its servers.
Proton Drive is a secure and private Cloud storage service that provides you with an easy-to-use, customisable and secure file management system.
It uses end-to-end encryption to secure your data and keep it safe from prying eyes. As you have full control over your data, you can decide how long it’s stored and who has access to it. You can also choose how much of your information is shared with other users.
Nextcloud works on your own server, so you can access and share your data wherever you are. It’s a file hosting service that lets you store files, sync them across your devices and collaborate with others on projects.
It also provides encryption for all the files that you store on its servers, so you can rest assured that no one can see your information without your permission.
Syncthing is a free, open-source file synchronisation program that allows you to store and access your files wherever you are. It’s designed to be fast, secure and easy to use, making it a great alternative to Google Drive.
With Syncthing, you can sync files across multiple computers and mobile devices at once. So if you create, delete or modify files on one machine, they will automatically be replicated on other devices. Data is saved directly to a location you choose, so you can securely backup your data without needing a third-party cloud service.
Google Docs alternatives
Google states they can “collect information” from Google-hosted content such as Docs by means of automated scanning.
Not only does this stoke spying fears, it also raises concerns over who holds power over your content. If they look through your docs and decide that you’ve violated their terms of service, you can get locked out of your Google Docs – as was the case when a National Geographic crime reporter had her story “frozen” by Google.
LibreOffice is a free, open-source office suite with all the features you need to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It’s compatible with many different languages and all Microsoft Office file formats.
Unlike Google Docs, LibreOffice doesn’t store your documents on the Cloud. As it runs on your own computer, you maintain complete control and the data is kept as private and as secure as you wish. LibreOffice also has an online version that works with most web browsers and can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
The open-source nature ensures security as the code is constantly improved and scouted for vulnerabilities.
Like Google Docs, Nextcloud Office lets you create new documents and spreadsheets and collaborate with teammates or colleagues. But unlike Google Docs, Nextcloud doesn’t collect any data on who is using its platform, or what they’re doing on it. You can even encrypt the files you store in Nextcloud, so no one else can see them unless you give them access to your account.
Google Keep alternative
Standard Notes is an open-source online notebook app that offers a variety of useful features, such as tasks, to-dos and spreadsheets.
Unlike Google Keep, which has access to your notes, Standard Notes is end-to-end encrypted, which protects all your information and keeps it securely synced across all your devices. Standard Notes supports text, images and audio notes. As open-source software, they value transparency and trust and don’t rely on tracking or intrusive ads.
Google Chrome alternatives
Google Chrome is notorious for stalking users and collecting information for their own gains. Their browser fuels their data gathering infrastructure by being able to collect info about your search history, location, personal data and product interaction data for “personalisation” purposes – essentially to build a profile of you to sell to advertisers.
Firefox is one of the most secure browsers for privacy and is trusted by 220 million users. It easily compares with Chrome in terms of ease of use and performance.
On top of that it offers enhanced privacy protections, so you get a browser that doesn’t stalk you and isn’t riddled with ads.
Duckduckgo is a privacy-respecting search engine used by approximately 80 million people. It doesn’t store tracking cookies or personal identifiers (like IP addresses), so your search history is saved in a non-identifiable manner. In other words, your searches are completely anonymous.
Kagi is an ad-free and tracking-free search alternative to Google that focuses on privacy, superior results and speed. Their focus isn’t to be a “Google killer” but to offer better quality results.
Google Tasks alternatives
Wekan is a free, open-source and privacy-friendly kanban board that allows you to create, organise and manage your tasks as well as personal or collaborative projects.
Rather than relying on Google to store your data on their servers, self-hosted Wekan gives you full control over your own data, so you can safeguard your projects.
It has a clean interface that’s easy to use and supports most features like customisable labels, filtered views, a real-time user interface and card comments. Wekan doesn’t require an email address or any other personal information from its users for them to use the service.
Nextcloud Tasks is an app that lets you add and delete tasks, edit their title, description, start and due dates and mark them as important. Tasks can be shared between users and synced to your local client: Thunderbird, Evolution, KDE Kontact and iCal.
Google Meet alternatives
Jitsi is open-source software for secure, flexible and free video conferencing that’s a safer, more private alternative to Google Meet. It offers transport encryption of the connections at all times and is also end-to-end encrypted between two parties.
With over 20 million monthly active users, Jitsi can be used via a public instance (meet.jitsi.si) or run over your own server. No account is needed to access it and no sensitive account data is stored.
Marketing, website, data tools
Google Data Studio alternative
Metabase is an open-source, business intelligence tool that lets you create data visualisations, dashboards, reports and charts for your business. With a strong data protection framework, Metabase is used by data teams in SMEs, government organisations and NGOs to visualise and report on data.
Compared to Google Data Studio, Metabase has a more profound BI engine with capabilities that include – budgeting and forecasting, data analysis, KPIs, performance metrics, visual analytics, strategic planning, etc. The Cloud solution complies with strict data privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA.
Google Analytics alternatives
Due to GDPR violations, Google Analytics (GA) is being made illegal in an increasing number of countries, such as Italy, Austria and France. By using GA, users risk incurring steep fines for GDPR non-compliance.
The issues don’t end at GDPR either. GA’s unsavoury use of third-party cookies to track user behaviour across websites can undermine customer trust once they find out their info is being collected and sold to advertisers.
Matomo is a powerful, open-source and privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternative that adheres to the strictest of privacy laws. With 100% data ownership, you get the power to protect user privacy. Matomo doesn’t use third-party cookies and you can customise it for cookieless tracking.
Not only do you get a suite of analytics features to rival Google Analytics, but it also combats Google Analytics’ limitations of data sampling and data limits by giving you 100% accurate data and no data limitations. Best of all, migration is easy with the Google Analytics data importer plugin which brings over all your historical data from GA.
With Matomo, you get GDPR compliance peace of mind and the most accurate view of website usage to make the right decisions.
Fathom is a lightweight GA alternative that puts privacy first. It’s able to bypass ad blockers to give you accurate data and also offers faster load times than GA. Fathom protects privacy by not relying on third-party cookies and doesn’t collect or store personal data.
Great for users who need a simple web analytics solution to monitor website performance and traffic.
Google Forms alternatives
Nextcloud Forms is an app that lets you create and share forms with as many people as you need. You can choose from different question types, such as multiple choice, checkboxes, dropdowns and short answers.
LimeSurvey is a powerful, open-source, online survey tool that allows you to create and publish customer surveys and questionnaires.
You can easily create multiple choice questions, free response questions, checkboxes and rating scales in minutes. It offers a host of features unavailable in Google Forms, such as email marketing, data analysis and offline response collection.
With its self-hosted option you store all data on your own server, so you don’t have to worry about it being shared with any third parties. With LimeSurvey Cloud, data can be stored on servers in Germany to ensure full GDPR compliance.
Google Tag Manager alternative
Matomo Tag Manager
Matomo Tag Manager lets you easily manage all your tracking and marketing tags in one place, and offers less complexity and more flexibility in contrast to Google Tag Manager. With Matomo you also get the added peace of mind that comes with 100% data ownership and privacy protection, so you’ll never be left wondering what’s happening to your data.
Google reCAPTCHA alternatives
When you embed reCAPTCHA on your website, you are unavoidably sending data about your users to US servers, and if you can’t let your users know how this data is processed, you’re violating GDPR.
hCaptcha is a bot detection service that helps websites filter out and protect themselves from spambots. Instead of recording and analysing browsing history, it relies on instant evaluation to carry out its services. This eliminates the need for data collection or retention and ensures no user data can be leaked or used for advertising purposes.
hCaptcha complies with global privacy laws, such as the GDPR, Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other worldwide data privacy laws.
hCaptcha is one of the only major captcha services not owned by an advertising service.
Math Captcha is designed to protect your website from harmful bots by presenting simple mathematical equations for human users to successfully solve.
It’s a less time-consuming alternative and doesn’t require extra software as it can be custom-coded into your forms or web pages. This means you’re ensuring the best protection for your website without needing to rely on an external party.
Google Optimize alternatives
Matomo A/B Testing
Matomo’s A/B Testing feature is available within the Matomo platform. This powerful feature allows you to complete experiments on your website for increased visitor conversation rates and improved UX. Like Google Optimize, you can run tests and try different variations of your website’s pages to see how they’re performing against your business’s goals.
The difference is that with Matomo’s A/B Testing feature your data stays in your hands, rather than in the hands of advertisers.
Google Fonts alternative
Instead of relying on Google Fonts, you have the option to self-host your site’s fonts and refer to them in your page’s code. You can find many free open fonts that can be legally downloaded, hosted, and used on your site without needing to pay for them. Look for “GPL”, “OFL” or “Public Domain” fonts.
Another option is to use system fonts that are already available on your computer. These don’t leave the user’s device or use their internet connection, which ensures privacy isn’t violated.
Chrome DevTools alternative
Firefox developer tools
PageSpeed Insights/Core Web Vitals alternative
Matomo’s SEO Web Vitals and Page Performance Reports
Matomo’s SEO Web Vitals feature and Page Performance Reports are designed to help you improve your website’s performance, so you can rank higher in search results and optimise your visitor experience.
The feature and reports are built in Matomo which means it doesn’t store any personal or sensitive data. You also get all the added benefits, like 100% data ownership, GDPR compliance and privacy protection.
Google Cloud Platform alternative
AWS is a Cloud storage platform that offers comprehensive security features, making it a safe and secure environment for your data.
With AWS, you get the same tools and services as Google Cloud Platform to take care of all your data needs, such as storage and processing, but with the added benefit of full GDPR compliance, increased security and privacy.
The core infrastructure complies with the strictest security requirements for global banks, the military and other data-sensitive organisations.
Supabase is a Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform that provides software and services for building mobile or web apps. It provides storage, database and authentication services.
Unlike Firebase, Supabase doesn’t store any user data in its database, as all data is stored locally on the device that it’s used on. This ensures your information remains private and secure at all times. Additionally, Supabase offers enhanced security features, such as two-factor authentication and encrypted storage of user data.
Google Authenticator alternatives
OTP Auth (iOS only)
OTP Auth is a simple two-factor authentication app available for iOS devices. It enhances security by providing one-time passwords required to log into your accounts after you’ve enabled two-factor authentication. You can also protect app logins with Face ID, Touch ID or with a password.
Aegis is a free, secure and open-source authenticator app for Android that focuses on security and backups. It creates two-step verification tokens to work alongside your password. Additional features include: encrypting your one-time password vaults, offering biometric unlock and supporting secure vault exports to new devices or backup locations.
Authy offers 2-step verification tokens on both Android and iOS devices. On top of encrypted cloud backups, Authy uses PIN protection, passwords and TouchID to protect access to your 2FA tokens.
Google Password Manager alternatives
Bitwarden is an open-source password manager that locks your private data with end-to-end encryption.
It supports secure, cross-platform accessibility as your Bitwarden vault can be used across any browser, mobile or desktop application. Both Cloud and self-host options are available.
KeePassXC is an open-source, cross-platform password manager for desktops that stores personal data, such as usernames, passwords, attachments, URLs and notes in an offline, encrypted file that can be stored anywhere – private or Cloud.
Business devices and OS
A study carried out by a team of researchers in the UK has found that Android users are powerless to stop a never ending stream of data collection by their devices. Android continues sending data to Google at a rate of 340 times a day, even with your phone on idle with Chrome in the background.
As the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Android OS is also more vulnerable to malware attacks which jeopardise the personal data of device owners.
These smartphones are paired with carefully selected apps that serve crucial components of your personal and professional life, while providing a privacy-enhanced environment. You get access to an ad-free search engine, an email platform, online secure storage, document management, calendar and many other online tools without worrying about your personal data being sent to Google.
Compared to Android, Apple performs better in handling threats to security by inspecting every app on its app store to reduce malware riddled apps. Apple also provides consistent security across devices with fully supported updates to patch vulnerabilities and has a closed system making it less vulnerable to hackers. As the iOS operating system powers fewer mobile devices than Android, hackers don’t target it as often.
Apple also recently changed its iOS software on iPhones to give users more control over their privacy by asking users for permissions before letting advertisers track them.
Google Chromebook alternatives
Data mining concerns persist over Google’s ability to collect data from Chromebooks for advertising purposes. Chromebook is also cloud-based with little internal storage. So rather than being safely stored on an internal hard drive, all your emails, pictures and documents are stored on Google’s servers.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad offers all of the features you’d get in a Chromebook laptop, but with more privacy. It comes with some top-of-the-line security measures built right in. You can encrypt your hard drive, so no one else can access your files without permission.
The Pinebook Pro is built on a Linux platform and comes with no built-in back doors to give hackers access to your information. It also comes with an option for a “secure mode” that disables some features to ensure that no one else can access your files without your permission.
Chrome OS alternative
GalliumOS is a desktop operating system you can get for most Chromebook or Chrome OS-powered systems. It’s designed to be lightweight, fast and secure, while also prioritising privacy and security.
How to de-Google your business’s tech stack
Now, how to even start? Firstly, take a deep breath. This is a big task and won’t be done overnight. To help you get started we recommend the below steps.
- Make a plan. Collect a list of all the Google products you need to ditch. Once completed, check the list above to find the alternative that works for you and your business.
- Prepare and involve your team. A lot of your team members will most likely be using Google products. So be sure to share your plan and communicate the process to ensure everything goes smoothly.
- Consider alternative integrations. One of the biggest benefits of Google products are their ability to integrate with most tools. So you’ll want to consider the integrations you currently have set up with Google products. For example, do you have Calendly integrated with your Google Calendar? If so, you might need to find a new tool to integrate with a Google calendar alternative.
- Determine the method of migration. Some tools may offer automatic migration – for instance, with Matomo you can migrate your Google Analytics data with our Google Analytics data importer plugin. By importing all your data from one tool to the other, you can ensure your business carries on as usual. Ultimately, safeguarding your data and ensuring there’s continuity in your reporting and workflows.
- Get started! We’d recommend starting with tools that are easy to migrate to (e.g., tools that aren’t customer facing as these will be a good test run with less impact on your customers). Or, find tools that allow you to automate the migration – ProtonMail is another great example of this with their Easy Switch app.
The Google digital ecosystem is large, robust and entices people into becoming commodities. Considering all we know about their questionable data collection practices, there couldn’t be a better time to start “de-Googling” your business.
It’s also worth recalling what we gain from choosing any one of the alternatives:
- Mitigating risks by finding tools that are fully compliant with strict privacy laws like GDPR.
- Gaining credibility and earning customer trust by choosing products designed with privacy in mind.
- Increased security from open-source tools as the code is thoroughly examined and reviewed by dedicated experts in the community.
- Not having to fear your customers’ information being abused.
And if de-Googling still seems too overwhelming, what about starting with a few quick-wins? Think, a quick switch from Chrome to Firefox or Gmail to ProtonMail. Start small and build up.
After all, the best way to escape Google’s web is to cut those threads, one product at a time.