An Android smartphone without Google, it is attainable: what do users assume?

Since residing with a Google-free smartphone, Pierre has skilled one Sense of Cleanliness: “Like nobody else is trying over my shoulder. » An app developer, he is properly conscious of how deeply the American firm’s providers are often implanted in smartphones outfitted with Android, the central software program – or working system (OS) – that is completely outfitted to promote low-cost smartphones.

But not such a grip A fatality: a number of teams of lovers have created variations of Android refined from Google, resembling Graphene, Lineage or Calyx. As properly as a very simply accessible French different: /e/ and Iodé. the world This “de-Googled” interviewed a dozen users of Android WHO, Like Pierre, really feel that their smartphone behaves virtually like a traditional cell, whereas typically requiring minor efforts.

Many began this journey out of boredom: advertisements adopted them from website to website and their GPS areas had been memorized by Google, giving them a daily abstract. Harvey, an administrative worker in development, would not admire it.” “Know Capitalism.” Where is he and what does he do? “To earn cash “He is not the one one to mourn Google’s appreciable prosperity” Behind our private data », Point out that Google crushes competitors and hurts variety.

different Plunged after a scandal: Edward Snowden’s revelation of mass surveillance, Pegasus adware replace, leak of non-public information from Facebook exploited by Cambridge Analytica… Some worry the leak of their medical information, particularly in insurance coverage firms “I’m not even speaking concerning the dangers in a rustic with an authoritarian regime.”Adds Emily, a pc scientist, who warns that “ might be ours

Also Read Cambridge Analytica: 87 million Facebook accounts affected

Daily malfunctions

But the transition to those “de-Googlized” Androids was not painless, because the set up of the software program typically proved to be sophisticated and nerve-racking. Despite the helpful assist accessible on the Internet, particularly the social community Telegram, a number of witnesses have additionally failed. And for individuals who want to save lots of themselves the trick by straight shopping for a smartphone outfitted with Murena or IoD, it was nonetheless essential to spend a number of hours changing Gaffam’s purposes.

Minor setbacks In observe, GPS errors are essentially the most frequent. Sophie’s Telephone, an affiliation in control of a mission, went out by itself in areas poorly coated by phone antennas. Matthew, a lawyer within the public service, abruptly loses the group of his information. Receptionist Ilario’s banking apps will not be working. Like Julian’s wide-angle digital camera, knowledgeable graduate pupil, in addition to paying in his apps – even he had to make use of an previous smartphone for that. Many have discovered options, however Anne-Sophie, an English instructor, would not have a telephone Shuts down usually without warning.

Read extra: We examined… “/e/”, “de-googled” Android cell working system

Despite these disappointments, most had been content material to maneuver away from Google without dropping any important providers, together with users whose laptop stage was not very excessive. “I used to be afraid to not perceive, however it works like lightning” Encourages Harvey. Geeks level out the benefits of these free variations of Android: sooner updates, unique purposes like Newpipe – an ad-free model of YouTube – in addition to higher stability, because of the replace. Updates are mild and extra expansive over time

Google backs out the window

But Google, in truth, has not utterly disappeared from their smartphones. Many fail to accept F-Droid, the free software retailer, which solely presents a restricted choice. They additionally use the Aurora Store or App Lounge, whose curiosity is to offer entry to all the catalog of Google purposes. And this profit is offered: while you obtain an software from one of many two, the data is despatched to the American firm. However, these are poor and partially nameless, in response to /e/’s founder, Gaël Duval. Matthew sees this compromise fairly properly:

“LHe outlets like F-droid, I examine them to natural comfort shops: we all know we do not personal Kinder and Nutella anymore. Aurora permits me to seek out what I’m lacking: banking apps, SNCF, Google Maps… The alternative between these shops permits me to seek out the correct steadiness between free and non-free. »

At the center of de-Googled Android is one other spy, MicroG, which goals to interchange Google Services, a set of invisible cogs required to run many apps. MicroG was designed to leak the least quantity of details about its users and make them as nameless as attainable. But right here once more, filtering is not good. “I attempted to do without MicroG for 2 weeks, it was insufferablePierre testifies. Notifications weren’t going, localization wasn’t working, apps weren’t beginning… I gave up, I’m not the exhausting approach. »

Additionally, most respondents make little use of superior anonymity options resembling blocking trackers, hiding IP addresses, or hiding areas, as these options stop many apps from working correctly. So the data response to Google is rising, without any of our witnesses, with the ability to precisely assess their scope or the extent of their disdain.

“It’s embarrassing and worrying that implementing a 100% different resolution is so sophisticated,” Sorry Emily. ” I’m wondering if individuals aren’t romanticizing the advantages of de-Googled Android.”, for his half marvels at Gregory, a tech journalist who regrets that Google retains memorizing his GPS areas. However, the overwhelming majority of surveyed users are fairly comfy with this restrict. “Yes, there are conflictsMatthew admits. But being 100% free on line means reducing off contact with others. I wish to observe a librarianship of small steps. »

It stays to be seen whether or not Google will proceed to tolerate Aurora and MicroG, that are important for a lot of users, if /e/ and Iodé ultimately develop in reputation. ” Google this 12 months shut down Vanced, an app that streams ad-free YouTube movies Comment Julien, for which it is not excluded that the American large will in the future resolve to ban these two valuable bricks. When requested about this, no response was acquired from the corporate.

Read the assessment: We examined… Fairphone 4, a repairable smartphone with a five-year guarantee

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