I regularly get emails from readers who are trying to find replacements for various Google services. And though I understand this desire, the truth is that certain Google products and services simply don’t have viable alternatives. So while I did successfully migrate from Gmail to Microsoft's Outlook.com, I still use some Google offerings regularly. They’re just indispensable.
While I split my PC-based browsing time between Internet Explorer and Chrome, and prefer IE for certain things, including its support for multi-tab pinned web sites, I use Google Chrome regularly as well. Chrome supports incredible sync capabilities tied to a Google account, and because this account uses 2-step verification, it’s secure. (If you’ve not enabled this feature, do so.)
I use Google Chrome for all of my work-related article posting and comments moderation. And the fact that site logins, bookmarks (which I only use through the bookmarks bar), and browser extensions are all synced immediately from PC-to-PC is just huge. I just love Chrome.
Even if I didn’t write about technology for a living, I’d still use Google Reader. This amazing cloud-based RSS reader provides me with my morning burst of tech information courtesy of the many technology web sites and blogs to which I’m subscribed, and keeps me up to date throughout the day.
And Google Reader works everywhere: I use the standard web app, but there are third party native apps on every mobile platform imaginable. And while some of the Windows Phone apps are particularly good, even the Google Reader mobile site is top notch. That’s what I use.
As with Reader, Google News is key because I write about technology news, and I pin both the Google News Technology page and Google Reader to a single IE shortcut on my taskbar. Google News aggregates content from multiple services, but it also lets you create shortcuts to topics you care about the most. In my case that includes Microsoft topics—Microsoft, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox, and so on—and related topics such as Amazon.com, Google, and Apple.
Google’s mobile version of News is less attractive than it could be on Windows Phone, but it gets the job done.
I assume I don’t have to explain why YouTube is so useful generally. But in recent days it’s occurred to me that I can safely upload my personal videos to the service and then make them available only to family members. This is a kind of a huge and stealthy YouTube feature, and I’ll be working on that over the holiday season. Regardless, YouTube is universally available on all devices and platforms, and there’s nothing quite like it.
Is there any shame in using Google stuff? I don’t think so, and as with all things in life you should simply be pragmatic. In these cases for me, and perhaps others for you, Google does make some pretty amazing products and services.