No longer shackled to Google

No longer shackled to Google
Photo by Stephen Bergin / Unsplash


Last week I asked whether Fastmail was a good alternative to Google Workspace and while the sole response was a 'Yes', I did my research on it before signing up.

Padraig Fahy 🌈 (
Is #Fastmail a good alternative for #Google Workspace? Any major pros/cons with it?

I set up a free trial account with Fastmail and got to importing my emails from Google Workspace.

Maybe it was just fate, but when I went into the Google Admin Console, there was a banner with a message stating that "The price of Google Workspace Business Starter subscription will be increasing on or after 14 Feb 2024."

It was going from €5.20 per user per month (excl VAT) to €6.90 per user per month (excl VAT). Including VAT of 23% that would be €6.40 and €8.49 respectively.

Fastmail works slightly differently, for the equivalent plan, which is their Standard plan, per month it would be $5. Then they add on the tax (23%) and bill you in USD, which equals $6.15. In Euro, that would be €5.61. That is cheaper than Google's old price, including VAT!

I ended up buying Fastmail for the year at $50 which is $4.17 per month. Including tax, that is $61.50 and $5.13 and converting that to Euro: €56.18 and €4.68.

Even if you are paying monthly, that is still a good deal.

"But what about Google Drive, Google Photos, etc?"

Most of that stuff is on my non-Workspace Gmail account that I am (slowly) moving over to my own Nextcloud instance. But I'll probably keep that as backup (for now)

I stopped using Google Analytics back in March 2022 and replaced with self-hosted Matomo

"What about YouTube?"

A while back, I switched to using Piped, an alternative, privacy-focused front-end for YouTube. I don't have it self-hosted and probably won't as there seems to be a bit of a set-up with it.

Surely, you are still using Google Chrome? You liked Vivaldi and Arc, right?

Nope. Not any more. I switched to Firefox about 6 months ago and haven't looked back. I loved Vivaldi and Arc, but I have felt that there was something off with all of them a while back and decided to switch.

Not only that, but I'll keep Vivaldi installed on my computers whenever I need to test something in a different browser.

Okay, but you are using Google for searching.

Nah, I have switched to DuckDuckGo. I know it's had some bad press with hiding search results over the last while, but it's not enough to consider me ditching it.

There are Google products that I will probably continue using with my free Gmail accounts. Mainly Google Maps. It's probably the strongest maps app that I have used. I really love the idea of using OpenStreetMap, but Street View is a killer feature that I love using. (And I love playing GeoGuessr)

The last year for my using online tools and services has been a whirlwind, and in a good way has me not shackled to Google. While it's great for people who live in the ecosystem, it simply isn't for me.

Will I be telling people to stop using Google services? No. Absolutely not.
You may have one reason or another for using that service, and if you don't care about the privacy concerns or advertisements, then that is cool too. Times have changed online, and I needed to change too.