Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
gunny2
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by gunny2 »

illumination wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:43 am
gunny2 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm
illumination wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:27 pm Get a VPN, use an Adblock widget like U block Origin. Use a Browser like Brave or Safari instead of Chrome. I find myself using Bing for search more often.
Bing is owned by Microsoft. Seems to me that's six of one, half-dozen of the other. Anyway, I use the Brave browser, love it.
I know, but the goal was to de-Google, not de-Big Tech.
The goal was privacy concerns, actually. It just seems to me Bing is a lateral move.
jebmke
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by jebmke »

gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 7:22 pm
illumination wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:43 am
gunny2 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm
illumination wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:27 pm Get a VPN, use an Adblock widget like U block Origin. Use a Browser like Brave or Safari instead of Chrome. I find myself using Bing for search more often.
Bing is owned by Microsoft. Seems to me that's six of one, half-dozen of the other. Anyway, I use the Brave browser, love it.
I know, but the goal was to de-Google, not de-Big Tech.
The goal was privacy concerns, actually. It just seems to me Bing is a lateral move.
Plus, MS has the opportunity to stuff things in Windows that are difficult or impossible to pry out.
Don't trust me, look it up. https://www.irs.gov/forms-instructions-and-publications
rich126
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by rich126 »

Beensabu wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:34 pm Your entire life is already tracked.

Unless you toss out your TV and cellphone and start using cash for everything, there's not much you can do about it.
I'm always surprised how some people are so concerned with this stuff. I try to lock down some settings but unless I want to avoid doing anything online it is a hopeless path. Almost anything you do requires setting up accounts, emails, etc. whether it is a car repair place or a medical facility. Sure you can try to avoid it but that usually ends up costing you time and making things very inconvenient.

But, hey, if it is your thing, go for it.
----------------------------- | If you think something is important and it doesn't involve the health of someone, think again. Life goes too fast, enjoy it and be nice.
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vnatale
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by vnatale »

rich126 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:46 pm
Beensabu wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:34 pm Your entire life is already tracked.

Unless you toss out your TV and cellphone and start using cash for everything, there's not much you can do about it.
I'm always surprised how some people are so concerned with this stuff. I try to lock down some settings but unless I want to avoid doing anything online it is a hopeless path. Almost anything you do requires setting up accounts, emails, etc. whether it is a car repair place or a medical facility. Sure you can try to avoid it but that usually ends up costing you time and making things very inconvenient.

But, hey, if it is your thing, go for it.
I've always said that keys and passwords are the absolute biggest time wasters.

Far more is lost through obvious operator error or neglect (e.g., not making proper or frequent enough backups) than will ever be from malicious outside conduct.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
gunny2
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by gunny2 »

On the whole IMO the "Big Brother" paranoia is just that. Sure a lot of companies collect data...but it's a huge swath of statistics and trend analysis. It's rather arrogant IMO to think companies are going "hey everyone, LOOK, Joe Smith at 123 Maple St, Blahville USA is buying this and that and he has apps A B and C installed on his phone and his fav team is the Tigers and......" It's more like "OK we see that 70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed so we should try to target a similar app there" etc
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vnatale
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by vnatale »

gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:13 pm On the whole IMO the "Big Brother" paranoia is just that. Sure a lot of companies collect data...but it's a huge swath of statistics and trend analysis. It's rather arrogant IMO to think companies are going "hey everyone, LOOK, Joe Smith at 123 Maple St, Blahville USA is buying this and that and he has apps A B and C installed on his phone and his fav team is the Tigers and......" It's more like "OK we see that 70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed so we should try to target a similar app there" etc
As an accountant / financial person I know who difficult it is to get things working correctly when we are all focused and working together.

Unless I'm a specific target of the government I don't have fears of someone sifting through all the information on me and everyone else out there and finding something significant.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
johnegonpdx
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by johnegonpdx »

Erase all pictures of Ron!
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vnatale
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by vnatale »

johnegonpdx wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:12 pm Erase all pictures of Ron!
Had to do a Bing search to determine what that was referencing!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STrQuUsNpf0
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
roamingzebra
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by roamingzebra »

vnatale wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:56 pm
gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:13 pm On the whole IMO the "Big Brother" paranoia is just that. Sure a lot of companies collect data...but it's a huge swath of statistics and trend analysis. It's rather arrogant IMO to think companies are going "hey everyone, LOOK, Joe Smith at 123 Maple St, Blahville USA is buying this and that and he has apps A B and C installed on his phone and his fav team is the Tigers and......" It's more like "OK we see that 70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed so we should try to target a similar app there" etc
As an accountant / financial person I know who difficult it is to get things working correctly when we are all focused and working together.

Unless I'm a specific target of the government I don't have fears of someone sifting through all the information on me and everyone else out there and finding something significant.
I always use the "A--------n" issue as an example of how local laws have changed and formerly innocent people could become criminals facing imprisonment and are now trying to hide their tracks.

And as everyone predicted, insurance companies are now using personal information to charge higher rates.

Beyond examples like those, it's a fact that the world is creeping more towards authoritarianism and control over information is a powerful tool.

But a lot of us simply don't like the creepiness and intrusiveness of it all. Especially those of us who are more on the introverted side. I suppose extreme extroverts get a kick out of oversharing and probably even hope corporations and governments are watching. :mrgreen:
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illumination
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by illumination »

gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 7:22 pm
illumination wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:43 am
gunny2 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm
illumination wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:27 pm Get a VPN, use an Adblock widget like U block Origin. Use a Browser like Brave or Safari instead of Chrome. I find myself using Bing for search more often.
Bing is owned by Microsoft. Seems to me that's six of one, half-dozen of the other. Anyway, I use the Brave browser, love it.
I know, but the goal was to de-Google, not de-Big Tech.
The goal was privacy concerns, actually. It just seems to me Bing is a lateral move.
Again, all of these other options also collect data that undermine privacy. They have to have some way to monetize their business. And it's usually targeted ads.

You're fooling yourself if you think there is some company that doesn't "collect data" and build a profile.

DuckDuckGo actually sells data to Microsoft.

https://duckduckgo.com/duckduckgo-help- ... te-search/

I also use Brave, but it has its own issues as well when it comes to "privacy". It's sort of a "we collect your data, but only for us"

https://www.zdnet.com/article/privacy-b ... fits-from/

https://stackdiary.com/brave-selling-co ... -training/
https://www.techradar.com/news/brave-sa ... ur-privacy
Whakamole
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Whakamole »

gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:13 pm On the whole IMO the "Big Brother" paranoia is just that. Sure a lot of companies collect data...but it's a huge swath of statistics and trend analysis. It's rather arrogant IMO to think companies are going "hey everyone, LOOK, Joe Smith at 123 Maple St, Blahville USA is buying this and that and he has apps A B and C installed on his phone and his fav team is the Tigers and......" It's more like "OK we see that 70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed so we should try to target a similar app there" etc
The raw data being logged is closer to "Joe Smith at 123 Maple St..." You can't figure out "70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed" without knowing where specific users live and which apps they have installed.
gunny2
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by gunny2 »

illumination wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 9:42 am Again, all of these other options also collect data that undermine privacy. They have to have some way to monetize their business. And it's usually targeted ads.

You're fooling yourself if you think there is some company that doesn't "collect data" and build a profile.

DuckDuckGo actually sells data to Microsoft.

https://duckduckgo.com/duckduckgo-help- ... te-search/
From your link: "When you view search results (including ads), your searches cannot be tied back to you, either by us or our partners."

So, no profile. Just general swaths of data.
gunny2
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by gunny2 »

Whakamole wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:47 am
gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:13 pm On the whole IMO the "Big Brother" paranoia is just that. Sure a lot of companies collect data...but it's a huge swath of statistics and trend analysis. It's rather arrogant IMO to think companies are going "hey everyone, LOOK, Joe Smith at 123 Maple St, Blahville USA is buying this and that and he has apps A B and C installed on his phone and his fav team is the Tigers and......" It's more like "OK we see that 70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed so we should try to target a similar app there" etc
The raw data being logged is closer to "Joe Smith at 123 Maple St..." You can't figure out "70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed" without knowing where specific users live and which apps they have installed.
Sorry, not true. You can collect data telling you how many users live in area and just know it was a user, not Joe Smith. Private companies do it all the time. They can see how many hits their web site gets without knowing exactly who each hit was.
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illumination
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by illumination »

gunny2 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 11:10 am
illumination wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 9:42 am Again, all of these other options also collect data that undermine privacy. They have to have some way to monetize their business. And it's usually targeted ads.

You're fooling yourself if you think there is some company that doesn't "collect data" and build a profile.

DuckDuckGo actually sells data to Microsoft.

https://duckduckgo.com/duckduckgo-help- ... te-search/
From your link: "When you view search results (including ads), your searches cannot be tied back to you, either by us or our partners."

So, no profile. Just general swaths of data.
And they've been criticized for being deceitful about how all of this works.

I really wouldn't trust any company that promises privacy.

"Cybersecurity and privacy researcher Zach Edwards discovered a glaring hole in the privacy protections of DuckDuckGo's purportedly privacy-focused browser: By examining the browser's data flows on Facebook-owned website Workplace.com, Edwards found that the site's Microsoft-placed tracking scripts continued to communicate back to Microsoft-owned domains like Bing and LinkedIn. DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg responded to Edwards on Twitter, admitting that "our search syndication agreement prevents us from stopping Microsoft-owned scripts from loading"—essentially admitting that a partnership deal DuckDuckGo struck with Microsoft includes creating a carveout that lets Microsoft track users of its browsers."

https://www.wired.com/story/duckduckgo- ... -whatsapp/
gunny2
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by gunny2 »

"Track users of its browsers" is vague and doesn't necessarily change anything I've said.
Whakamole
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Whakamole »

gunny2 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 11:13 am
Whakamole wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:47 am
gunny2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:13 pm On the whole IMO the "Big Brother" paranoia is just that. Sure a lot of companies collect data...but it's a huge swath of statistics and trend analysis. It's rather arrogant IMO to think companies are going "hey everyone, LOOK, Joe Smith at 123 Maple St, Blahville USA is buying this and that and he has apps A B and C installed on his phone and his fav team is the Tigers and......" It's more like "OK we see that 70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed so we should try to target a similar app there" etc
The raw data being logged is closer to "Joe Smith at 123 Maple St..." You can't figure out "70% of the people in this region have app ABC installed" without knowing where specific users live and which apps they have installed.
Sorry, not true. You can collect data telling you how many users live in area and just know it was a user, not Joe Smith. Private companies do it all the time. They can see how many hits their web site gets without knowing exactly who each hit was.
You have to know which user it was, whether that's associating it directly with a name or with an "anonymous" ID - though those anonymous IDs can be broken with enough information on a user: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2023/11/d ... ymous-data
roamingzebra
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by roamingzebra »

Whakamole wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 12:35 pm You have to know which user it was, whether that's associating it directly with a name or with an "anonymous" ID - though those anonymous IDs can be broken with enough information on a user: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2023/11/d ... ymous-data
I was going to mention the big three de-anonimization factors, but your article did it for me:
...any attempt at de-identification requires removal not only of your identifiable information, but also of information that can identify you when considered in combination with other information known about you. Here's an example:

First, think about the number of people that share your specific ZIP or postal code.
Next, think about how many of those people also share your birthday.
Now, think about how many people share your exact birthday, ZIP code, and gender.

According to one landmark study, these three characteristics are enough to uniquely identify 87% of the U.S. population. A different study showed that 63% of the U.S. population can be uniquely identified from these three facts.
Dottie57
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Dottie57 »

Safari browser has a Privacy mode. Cuts down on some track8ng.
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Rob Relyea
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Rob Relyea »

Reminds me of the fact that Bogleheads.org defaults to google search in several scenarios. Would prefer they remove that default…

viewtopic.php?t=389845
Second Round
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Second Round »

I'm a bit dismayed when some people say "your privacy is gone, just admit it and give up / don't worry." It reminds me of an infamous quote from Bobby Knight given in an interview to Connie Chung.
Trenchard
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Trenchard »

I am transitioning to Proton Mail. I just logged on to this forum to change my email address accordingly and got the following error message: "The email address you entered is not allowed to be used." I have switched over to a Proton address at about 30 companies and agencies; and this is the first time I've seen something like this.

Update: I figured out how to wire up Proton Mail as the email handler for one of my websites, whose domain name I own. I used this domain name as the basis for an email address to use here; and it worked.

Update #2: It looks like Proton doesn't actually work; so I'm still in the market for an email provider that supports lots of aliases on a domain name I own (and that doesn't spy on everything). A lot of people on a Proton user forum are also asking for this; so maybe they'll redo it and get it right.
Last edited by Trenchard on Fri Apr 12, 2024 9:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
Mike83
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Mike83 »

Suggestions:

-- SpamSieve mail filtering is very effective in isolating spam according to your own preferences and mail flow. It can be installed on multiple computers, phones, and pads. It can filter multiple email account on each. Vendor is C-Command Software (c-command.com)

-- easyDNS is a Canadian based email hosting service that is very privacy protective, and you can create your own mail domain with multiple members, for example a family. Vendor is easyDNS.com.

-- if you would like to take a big step forward in having your personal information (name, phone, address, email etc) removed from most web marketing firms, try a service like Incogni that will do this for you on an ongoing basis and report back results. Vendor is Incogni.com

Switching tip:
-- set up a new account at a place like easyDNS and set up junk filtering using SpamSieve.
-- forward your existing gmail to the new account
-- as renewals pop up, change them to your new address
-- after a year, drop your gmail account
4nursebee
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by 4nursebee »

MCST wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:13 pm I am pretty well in the Apple ecosystem with iMac, laptop, and iPhone. I still use Google for search and Gmail for email, but I am looking to switch to something else for privacy reasons. I was pretty alarmed when I went into some of the Google privacy settings and saw just how much they tracked me online. I'd prefer to just cut the Google cord entirely.

I tried using Duck Duck Go a few years ago and it was terrible. I'd nearly always end up on Google to find what I wanted. Has it gotten better, or are there other alternatives?

Email is going to be the hardest. I've had my Gmail account for well over a decade. I also have a free iCloud account, but I hardly use it. The spam folder seems to get filled up with hundreds of emails a day. I also don't like that the email address is my full name.

I thought about doing my own domain, but I am worried about what happens if my credit card number changes and it is on auto-renew. Do I lose access to my email?

I also looked at Posteo. It's a German company that costs 1 EUR/month and seems to be highly rated. No ads, no email scanning, and works across almost any platform.

I don't need anything like Protonmail. I don't care about crazy encryption, I just don't want a company building an ad profile using my emails or tracking me across the internet. Google says it doesn't scan your emails, but it certainly tracks you anytime you are logged in.

Finally, for your actual email address, do you use your name or a variant thereof? It seems like first name/last name @ xyz.com would just invite phishing attacks.

I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by SmileyFace »

4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 8:20 am I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
Apple would rather others do the work to develop browsers and other various Apps and simply sit back and collect the up to 30% fees from everyone doing the development and support that they allow onto the platform (this is part of the current multistate DOJ set of antitrust charges against Apple).
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by 4nursebee »

SmileyFace wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 12:52 pm
4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 8:20 am I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
Apple would rather others do the work to develop browsers and other various Apps and simply sit back and collect the up to 30% fees from everyone doing the development and support that they allow onto the platform (this is part of the current multistate DOJ set of antitrust charges against Apple).
Huh?

My read of the op post was about browsers and email. Not apps
What is Safari?
What is iCloud mail?
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SmileyFace
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by SmileyFace »

4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 1:27 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 12:52 pm
4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 8:20 am I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
Apple would rather others do the work to develop browsers and other various Apps and simply sit back and collect the up to 30% fees from everyone doing the development and support that they allow onto the platform (this is part of the current multistate DOJ set of antitrust charges against Apple).
Huh?

My read of the op post was about browsers and email. Not apps
What is Safari?
What is iCloud mail?
Sorry - you didn't mention Safari nor iCloud mail originally and OP was talking about Google. I assumed you were talking about the myriad of App choices out there to accomplish what the OP wants. My mistake. In any case - with OP looking to switch to some other providers for privacy reasons - using Safari or iCloud mail probably are not the right answers (as someone else pointed out - Apple doesn't have the best history of NOT collecting data either). And Safari, I believe, still defaults to the Google search engine.
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by jayhawk »

Email using fastmail, Browser using brave, cloud storage sync.com, search engine duckduckgo.com, operating system Debian Linux
JBTX
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by JBTX »

Can somebody specifically articulate the bad things that are going to happen to me because of gmail?
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by Second Round »

JBTX wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 7:30 pm Can somebody specifically articulate the bad things that are going to happen to me because of gmail?
I don't think anyone has claimed that bad things would happen to you because of Gmail. This thread is about answering the OP's question.
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by anagram »

SmileyFace wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 12:52 pm
4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 8:20 am I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
Apple would rather others do the work to develop browsers and other various Apps and simply sit back and collect the up to 30% fees from everyone doing the development and support that they allow onto the platform (this is part of the current multistate DOJ set of antitrust charges against Apple).
Ummmm no. Safari, iCloud mail, Private Relay, Hide My Email and Advanced Data Protection. All Apple developed technologies and systems. Way ahead of what others are doing.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by SmileyFace »

anagram wrote: Wed Apr 10, 2024 7:45 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 12:52 pm
4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 8:20 am I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
Apple would rather others do the work to develop browsers and other various Apps and simply sit back and collect the up to 30% fees from everyone doing the development and support that they allow onto the platform (this is part of the current multistate DOJ set of antitrust charges against Apple).
Ummmm no. Safari, iCloud mail, Private Relay, Hide My Email and Advanced Data Protection. All Apple developed technologies and systems. Way ahead of what others are doing.
I guess you missed my second message above.
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anagram
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Re: Tips for De-Googling my digital life?

Post by anagram »

SmileyFace wrote: Wed Apr 10, 2024 7:57 pm
anagram wrote: Wed Apr 10, 2024 7:45 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 12:52 pm
4nursebee wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2024 8:20 am I really thought apple offered browsers and email addresses?
Apple would rather others do the work to develop browsers and other various Apps and simply sit back and collect the up to 30% fees from everyone doing the development and support that they allow onto the platform (this is part of the current multistate DOJ set of antitrust charges against Apple).
Ummmm no. Safari, iCloud mail, Private Relay, Hide My Email and Advanced Data Protection. All Apple developed technologies and systems. Way ahead of what others are doing.
I guess you missed my second message above.
That came logically after I replied to your first message.
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