Time to ditch Google for good?

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When I thought about removing Google Search from my computing experience years ago, it seemed like a nightmare. How can I be sure that the alternatives I choose will provide the same results that Google will search for? That they will be as reliable?

It took a while until I started using Google search alternatives. I did not tear off the bandage in one smooth motion. I first replaced Google Search with DuckDuckGo on the iPhone. A little later, I did the same on a Mac. First, I will use Google Search and DuckDuckGo in parallel.

Then came AI products like ChatGPT and Perplexity, and they made it even easier to rid yourself of Google search.

Little did I know that my Google search freedom would pay off so quickly. Google upgraded Google Search after I/O 2024 which not many people are excited about. AI reviews are now part of the default Google search experience. There are ways to go back to the traditional search experience. And then there's the “nuclear” solution: eliminating Google Search from your browsing habits.

I'm here to tell you that whatever path you choose will work best for you, even if it seems scary to remove Google Search from your normal web browsing behavior.

Google search has no real problem with presenting AI results. But it should be our choice. Google made it mandatory after I/O, and it pissed off a lot of people.

Instead of ditching Google Search, there are ways to solve the AI ​​review problem that Google has created. First, you can use Google's own fix. We've shown you how to use Google Search with a new web filter that only shows text-based links in search results.

AI review in Google Search is not for everyone. Image source: Google Inc.

Another solution is using a Chrome extension to block Google AI review in search. The irony is strong with this, since Chrome is a Google product whose primary function is to ensure that Google Search has a prominent place on your computers.

If Google Search is one of the apps you rely on to get work done but you hate the AI ​​results, here are some fixes you can implement right now. There is no guarantee that they will work forever, but they will solve your problems for now. Hopefully, Google will listen to all the negative feedback and fix the problem they created.

Alternatives to Google Search

But I will tell you that the internet is still usable if you decide to ditch Google Search. You'll still find what you're looking for whether you use AI products or not. My go-to search engine is DuckDuckGo, but you can use Bing and other alternatives. DuckDuckGo also works with Bing, and my ChatGPT searches are also powered by Bing.

In addition to ChatGPT, I use Perplexity to search the web when discussing topics with AI that require this specific experience.

So, my Googling consists of a combination of AI and traditional search, depending on what I need. The important detail here is that I am in charge of using AI.

I will also say that I use a lot of other Google products. Looks like I'm stealing them. Technically, the Google apps are free to use, but since I don't use Google Search much, I'm not fully “paying” for them, as I do with Google's ad-based monetization. Not familiar with the big system. .

Perplexity widget on Android phone. Image source: Perplexity AI

Finally, I'll note that I'm not completely off Google Search. For example, I use Google Maps to find places and businesses, and this is the Google Search experience.

Also, I can use Google Search in incognito mode if I feel like I can't find something that I would normally do. Another alternative would be to crash Microsoft's servers and remove Bing, DuckDuckGo, ChatGPT Search, and everything else that might be running there.

That is, I'm not completely off Google Search. But its presence is reduced to such an extent that AI review is not a problem. On that note, I'll also say that I haven't seen an AI review in Europe yet. So, I'm already somewhat immune to them. But they will spread everywhere before the end of the year.

Also, AI review will find ads, which can further complicate one's relationship with Google search.

What I'm getting at is that whatever happens with Google's AI in Search will have minimal impact on my web search experience since I've left Google Search. And I don't miss it at all.

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