How to cut the Google cord

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Even longtime users of Gmail, Google Drive, and Google search will see switching to competing services a painless and ultimately rewarding process.

(Credit: CNET)

When it started, I had no goal of quitting Google.

As I described in the post from last June, my generic Gmail address had become more trouble pc was worth, so I switched to a new Webmail service. Now the Gmail address is receive-only.

Likewise, in July I tested two free services than enable you to encrypt files stored on Google Drive, which doesn't support encryption. Later that same month reports surfaced that Google was testing encryption for its cloud-storage service.

Rather than wait for encryption to reach for Google Drive, I moved my files to some free Dropbox account, which automagically encrypts all of the files it stores within the cloud.

The decision to adopt Bing as my primary search service followed an easy experiment: I duplicated one workday's worth of Google searches on Bing and compared the usefulness of every service's results. In no time I found myself preferring Bing's links.

Except for a little maintenance, many experts have more than a month since I signed in to the Gmail and Google Drive accounts I previously relied on daily. I've conducted hours of Web research since I switched my browsers' default search to Bing and find Bing's results at the very least as accurate and helpful as Google's searches.

If Google services meet your needs, there's no reason to improve. After all, it's not accident the company's worth a gazillion dollars. But if you're wondering whether a competing service might have more to provide, making the switch from Gmail, Google Drive, or Google search isn't difficult. It's got absolutely nothing to do with politics, economics, or philosophy. Honest.

Forward your Gmail in your new primary address
I've been using the Gmail address because the service is at private beta. It now serves solely being a repository for old sent and received mail, as well as the important files attached with those archived messages.

All my new messages, including those sent to the Gmail address, are received by my Outlook.com address, and the majority of replies and new messages are sent from that account. Yes, instead of contributing to the Google hegemony, I'm contributing to the Microsoft hegemony. Pick your poison.

To put in a Gmail address or another mail account for a Outlook.com inbox, sign in the Outlook.com address and select the apparatus icon inside the top-right corner of the main window. Choose "More mail settings" and select "Your email accounts" under "Managing your."

Scroll to "Add an email account" and then click either "Add a send-only account" or "Add a send-and-receive account." Enter your name, the Gmail address, and also the Gmail password. Click Next to start the Outlook.com-to-Gmail connection.

Outlook.com "Add an e-mail account" options

Forward your Gmail account's messages in your Outlook.com inbox via Outlook.com's "Add a contact account" settings.

(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)

By default, Outlook.com produces a new folder for your account determined by its name. You can direct the account's incoming mail with an existing folder or build a new folder while using default name or a name of your respective choosing. When you're done, click Save.

Outlook.com mail-import settings.

Stick using the folder name Outlook.com assigns to the imported mail, have a new name, or add the mail with an existing Outlook.com folder.

(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)

In the confirmation message, Outlook.com warns it can take a day or longer to import all the account's messages, but new messages will likely be forwarded to the Gmail folder in Outlook.com, and you'll send mail in Outlook.com as if it were sent from the forwarded address.

(To configure the mail server settings manually, click "Advanced options" on the "Add an account" page to show fields for adding incoming and outgoing server addresses and for choosing other available choices.)

When you reply to a Gmail message out of your Outlook.com account, your default Outlook.com address will appear within the From: field. To customize the From: address, choose the down arrow next to the address within the top-left corner from the message and select your preferred From: address.

Without having to send any "I have a fresh e-mail address" notices, people I contact via e-mail are beginning to use the brand new address. In many cases, their e-mail service automatically adds the address to their contact list. Over time, less and less of my mail travels through Google servers.

Transfer Google Drive files to encrypted cloud storage
To move your files from your Google Drive account to a encrypted Dropbox account, begin with signing up to get a free Dropbox account. Sign in the Drop box account and drag the files in the Google Drive folder in Windows Explorer/File Explorer or Mac's Finder in the Dropbox file list.

Once you've transferred your stored files to Dropbox, automobile sign in the Google Drive account frequently. To ensure the account isn't deactivated for deficiency of use, use Google's Inactive Account Manager to ensure you're notified prior to the account is erased. Matt Elliott explains the procedure in "How to setup Google's Inactive Account Manager."

Reset your browser's default search results to Bing
The easiest method to switch from Google search to Bing or any other search service in Firefox is always to select it inside the drop-down search box beside Firefox's address bar. Firefox will remember your selection and then use it for your subsequent searches.

To broaden your Firefox search options, choose Manage Search Engines on the search box's drop-down menu then click "Get more search engines" to open up the Search Tools page for the Firefox Add-ons site. If you see one that suits you, just click the program's Add to Firefox button.

You can change your default search service by typing "about:config" inside Firefox address bar, press Enter, and click on through the warning. In the search box at the top with the screen, type "browser.search.defaultenginename" and press Enter. Double-go through the entry, type Bing (or your google search of choice), and press Enter.

Bing could be the default search service in Internet Explorer 10. To select another search service, click the apparatus icon inside the top-right corner, choose "Manage add-ons," and select Search Providers under Add-on Types in the left pane. Select "Find more search providers" at the bottom in the window, choose one from the search services listed, and click on Add to Internet Explorer after which the Add button.

Internet Explorer 10 add-ons: search providers

Add looking provider to Internet Explorer 10 via options within the browser's "Manage add-ons" settings.

(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)

To set the newly added service as your default IE search provider, select it inside the Search Providers list and then click the "Set as default" button.

It's no surprise that Google's Chrome browser uses the company search engine automagically. You can adjust the default with the idea to Bing or Yahoo by picking out the settings button within the top-right corner and selecting Settings.

In addition to Bing and Yahoo, you can include another search provider to Chrome by clicking "Manage search engines" and selecting one from the "Other search engines" list. The option to "Make default" appears once you hover over each selection.

Google Chrome "Manage search options"

Change your default search engine in Google's Chrome browser through "Manage search options" button in Settings.

(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)

The Chrome support site explains how to utilize the browser's address bar, so it calls the "omnibox," to craft custom searches, including specific sites, bookmarks, your browsing history, and related items. The site also describes the best way to enable the browser's Instant feature that searches because you type.


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