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De-Google Android?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by hak, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. hak

    hak Lurker
    Thread Starter

    There are many threads that describe hot to delete apps which might not appeal to the owner, but I'd like to know if there are any apps which should NOT be removed, lest the phone become a paper weight. Does anybody know which apps are core and absolutely required, and which ones can be deleted? In particular I'm interested in removing anything that has to do with Google, i.e. GMail, Maps, Contacts (?) Thanks in advance!

  2. fireshaper

    fireshaper Well-Known Member

    As far as I know you cannot remove apps that are built-in to the phone but I may be incorrect.

    As an aside - Why would you buy a phone based on everything Google if you don't want to use anything from Google?
  3. hak

    hak Lurker
    Thread Starter

    fireshaper, thanks for your reply. I am aware of the fact that this is not possible out-of-the-box, though by rooting the phone I assume that one could remove just about anything, no? The only question that remains is, what can I delete and what should I leave untouched. And regarding your other question, let's just say I'm paranoid ;)

    To narrow it down a bit, I'd like to get rid of Facebook, Twitter, GoogleMaps and GMail. My guess is that, were I to root my phone and remove these, the phone would still work. However, confirmation would be nice. What about the Contacts app? The way I understand it, it requires a GMail account to do its thing, is that correct? If so, can I ditch it? Are there alternative apps on the market?
  4. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Android Expert

    A Google account is really fundamental to Android (for instance, you can't access the Market without one, which cripples the system tremendously). If you're uncomfortable with "the whole Google thing" (ref: some of my very first threads on this forum) then consider whether you're not better off without Android.

    Facebook, Twitter, Maps, and others should be perfectly safe to remove, but it wouldn't surprise me if Bad Stuff Happens if you remove the ones pertinent to your contacts (GMail, phone book, etc.).

    Some home replacements (PandaHome, to name one that's free) allow you to hide selected apps from the application drawer; maybe that's good enough for you?
  5. thaJack

    thaJack Member

    I can't remember right off hand, but it's just a key combination.. the same one as you use to "de-Apple" the iPhone.
  6. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Android Expert

    I doubt this statement.
  7. kennyidaho

    kennyidaho Android Enthusiast

    I am sorry I just don't get it. You bought or obtained a phone some how that is basically all Google. Now you are saying you don't like Google, don't even want to use a Gmail account for some of the basic underpinnings of the device - WTF? I could understand if you where interested in trying it just for the sake of trying it (read: I am a developer who likes to tinker and I think it would be a fun challenge to see if I could switch it all to Live/Bing); however if that was the case you wouldn't be asking us.

    Seriously my head spins every time I see some poor sap get all butt hurt because they found out that YAHOO is not 100,000% supported on a Google phone. Now, man, seriously your post just made my head asplode all over the white carpet. Jesus man my wife is going to be pissed at you.
  8. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Android Expert

    Please be civil. He's not alone with that view; the fact is that the current state of 'smart' phones is quite a sorry one (as is the state of data privacy in general). Just because Android is the 'best' option out there does not mean it hasn't got any drawbacks. I wouldn't be here either if my old pda-phone hadn't been deemed obsolete, although I find it superior.

    BTW, your avatar photo is really gorgeous!
  9. Jim W

    Jim W Well-Known Member

    Whoosh. :p

    I am assuming it was sarcasm............but then again with some of the posts I have been seeing lately, including this thread, maybe I am wrong. haha
  10. hak

    hak Lurker
    Thread Starter

    KlaymenDK, thanks for your insight. Glad to hear there are others out there with qualms regarding Google...I'll ponder the 'solution' hiding the apps that shouldn't be installed.

    And kennyidaho, sorry about your rug. As I wrote, I don't yet have an Android phone, I am merely thinking about getting one and had a few questions. Please try to understand that not everybody wants to expose himself completely on the internet. As KlaymenDK righly mentioned, the smart phone market is fairly limited. Windows mobile is out of the question, Apple is just as bad, so I was looking into Android. Now I'll probably go have a look at the N900, Maemo is as close to Linux (read open) as it'll probably get...
  11. gnur

    gnur Newbie

    That is halfway true, you can tap the corners of the screen when in setup to cancel setup and have a phone without a Google account active.

    (buttons bar)

    I believe you have to tap the corners of the app in that order.

    And to answer the question, you can de-google your G1 and Magic pretty easy if you install cyanogens roms. They are stripped of anything closed source from google.
  12. hempwallace

    hempwallace Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm just going to add to your confusion then. I have a Hero but I don't trust Google either.

    The problem is that there's not a lot of choice out there for smartphone operating systems:

    Android -- don't trust Google's data collection and storage policies.

    Apple -- I don't really have a lot against Apple other than I just cannot stand iTunes and I don't want to have to use it to interface with my phone. Also, it's only available on ATT which severely limits it's usefulness.

    WinMobile -- I want something that works and Microsoft is another company that doesn't exactly inspire my trust. Also, they haven't updated it in a long, long while and it may be dead as far as future development.

    Pre -- What, there's like 25 apps? And the phone feels like a cheap toy.

    Symbian -- I haven't seen that any carriers in my market offer smartphones with this OS.

    Blackberry -- I just came from 5 years of Blackberry. I don't think anything really changed in that five years. It's an archaic OS, still living in a text based world and it's just not suited for internet use. I was ready to try something else.

    OK, so I went with an Android OS but that doesn't mean that I trust Google with all of my personal info. I'll use google when I have to but I will do what I can to get around using anything Google whenever I see a way to do so.

    I have a gmail account so I can access the market but I couldn't even tell you my address without looking it up. So far, I don't use it for email and have not given it out to anyone. I may try setting it up and connecting to a couple of my email acoounts but I would be selective as to which one's I would connect to it.

    I will occasionally use the google search but in general I try to use others instead.

    I've never used google docs or any other web-based software.

    I don't think google's gotten into this (yet) but I'm amazed that people actually use web-based tax preparation software. Talk about blind trust.

    I do like google earth and of all of google's products, that't the one that I use most often. I don't think they're going to collect too much useful info about me from that. :)

    I will always look to use apps that sync with my computer rather than something in the "cloud" whether it's google or someone else that controls the "cloud".
  13. pavirotten

    pavirotten Android Enthusiast

    Google is the new CIA. It knows everything about you. It monitors your e-mail. It reads your documents. It knows what you buy. It provides you with the news it wants your to read. It translates what it wants you to read. It maintains your calendar and photos.

    When, and not if, Google manages to form its own national security force, the world will be in trouble. We will no longer live in the United States of America, but in the United States of Google. Yahoo, Bing, AOL, and Excite will all be outlawed and exiled to some third world nation.

    Fear the cloud!

  14. Nexoid

    Nexoid Member

    You need to root your device, Then install a ROM with everything "Google" you don't want.. Not in it.

    Although very unlikly you will even be able to use the phone. Doing such a thing would pose real possibilty for Bricking the Device.

    Google = Android = Don't delete Google ;)
  15. kennyidaho

    kennyidaho Android Enthusiast

    So you guys don't trust Google? Then who do you trust?

    You browse the web at home and your ISP (who most of them have already proven at this point that your personal data is just another commodity for them to sell anyways) has access to everything you see and do. Sure you could use encryption and they might not see it immediately but they sure as hell could store it until that encryption is easily broken. Browse the web or do business with your phones data connection and it's the same story. Let's not start talking about those hops between your computer and the server your connecting to that are not controlled by your ISP.

    Someone talked about tax preparation? Really if you're worried about that then you need to make sure to do your taxes by hand this year and personally take it to the IRS yourself - while you are there maybe you should babysit it the whole way as it gets passed from one person to the next person. Even your professional tax attorneys and accountants have been using software on a PC to handle your important information for years even long before online tax preparation was even thought of. You trust them though? How do you know there computer is not riddled with viruses, sypware and malware? Did you personally inspect it for them? Talk about blind trust.

    If your paranoid and don't want to expose yourself on the net then get the hell off. In fact cancel your cellphone account and destroy the phone. Destroy every computer in your house, cut up your credit cards and all your checks and only use cash from now on. If you are going to be paranoid about "1" thing then you really shouldn't ignore all the other threats; at that point all you are doing is making yourself feel good.
  16. ayshjeff

    ayshjeff Newbie

    I trust Google but I don't want all the bundled stuff. I like to get rid of Corporate Directory and Calendar. Do I need to root my Milestone as well? I am new to rooting and any advice is welcome.
  17. Eugene

    Eugene Android Expert

    That doesn't sound so bad taken out of context, if any one of those were gone the internet would be improved.
  18. TheBrit

    TheBrit Android Expert

    Then I would have to say to you - donot get an Android phone - it's not for you.

    The Google cloud is FUNDAMENTAL to Android. It benefits me enormously as I can update my calendar on any pc with an interent connection and the changes appear on my phone a few seconds afterwards.
  19. shawn1224

    shawn1224 Ex CEO-DNPSEA foundation

    ha ha so true. I'm an EA and I prepare my clients taxes using Tax Wise software. Trust me, they have all your information right down to your banking account depending on how you want your refund deposited.

    If you're that damn paranoid, Google is the least of your worries.

    You might want to look in to cavemanning it or something of that nature.
  20. GalaxyMeh

    GalaxyMeh Member

    If you're online, you'll have to give up *some* privacy; but if you're online from a cell phone, your location is being tracked all the time just so the cell phone system can route calls to you. Now this is a compromise you have to make with your telco provider, but not with Google. Google has no business knowing your location; and the problem is that Google knows too much:

    * your phone number and IMEI, from your Android phone

    * your Google account (unless you use a dummy one just to get on the Market, and don't use your real e-mail)

    * your credit card information, if you buy any app

    * your social security number if you use AdSense

    It doesn't matter if Google is good or evil; so much aggregated precious data in one place is a disaster waiting to happen, and when hackers manage to get that data, you'll be toast.

    What you can do if you're trying to minimize the implications, in increasing order of paranoia:

    1. Don't buy a Nexus One from Google yourself. Remember that phones have internationally-unique IMEI numbers.

    2. Use a separate Google account just for the phone (you can sign up when you factory reset the phone).

    3. Surf using a VPN tunnel.

    4. Don't buy any apps from the market with your credit card.

    5. Be aware that apps may routinely leak your IMEI or other personal data, intentionally or not. Locale leaks your IMEI, for example.

    6. Don't use AdSense, or if you want to monetize your web page, use one of the AdSense alternatives that don't require your SSN.

    7. Realize that any other Android user who adds your name and phone number in their Contacts,will leak that information to Google. HTC Hero has a nice feature here: you can designate a contact as type "Phone", which means it will not synch with Google. In the same vein, name your contacts by some nickname, not their real names.

    8. Use a phone in someone else's name - this actually suggests an interesting "darknet" idea - a pool of trusted users who buy identical voice/data plans, then mix them so that person A is using person C's account, person C is using person B's, and person B is using person A's. Ideally, they'd throw the SIMs in a pool and pick them at random, so they won't know who got which SIM.

    Even if you do this, however, if you hang out with the same people you used to hang out with before (when you had a normal phone), their logs will show a missing phone that used to be around, and a new one after you start using your Android with a new phone number. This type of analysis is actually done, and a number of criminals have been caught that way - watch Steve Rambam's series of talks "Privacy is Dead - Get over it".


    1. Is it possible to legally get an app without getting it from Google's Android Market? E.g. by paying the developer directly.

    2. How can you make sure Google doesn't get your phone's phone number or IMEI? This is why I think the OP wants to de-Google their phone and have only open-source software on it.
  21. kennyidaho

    kennyidaho Android Enthusiast

    1. Yes there is an option to allow you to install packages from external sources. How many developers currently support or will support it I don't know.

    2. I am not sure on that one.

    Also on some of your other things:

    4: How else will you buy them from the market?

    6: I believe legitimate corporations are required to disclose your earnings to the IRS once you make over some certain threshold of earnings. That is why they want your SS#.

    8: That is single the stupidest thing I have ever heard. So now you are responsible for my bill and I of course "scouts promise" to pay you or the pool. That is until I run off to another country.

    Anyone else notice that most stolen credit card numbers get stolen from the credit card companies or the third party processing centers? Lot's of people do all this extensive work trying to keep their bank account and personal info between them and their bank - but in the end it's the bank that gives it all up.

    Personally I just perfer to be intelligently aware of risks and operate with a sense of caution. Throw up all the barriers you wish - but they are all false sense of security. Most identity theft cases wouldn't have been prevented with any of the solutions you provided. Some simple social engineering tricks could basically make all your pain in the ass steps worthless.
  22. GalaxyMeh

    GalaxyMeh Member

    You don't buy from the market. Most commercial GPS navigation programs, for example, can be bought separately. I've only been using free apps so far.

    Most likely. Ono the other hand, as far as I recall, eBay never asked for my SSN.


    Perhaps you skipped "trusted users" in my description above. I've only experimented with the system in a 2-person scenario, however.

    Does that mean we should throw away security measures? No. It's a tradeoff between comfort and security, as usual, bla-bla-bla.
  23. hudsroid

    hudsroid Newbie

    Couldn't have said it better!!!
  24. HUD199

    HUD199 Lurker

    Transitioning from Blackberry Z30 to Blackberry Key 2. I use paid Fastmail app for contacts, calendar and mail. Browser is WaterFox, a minimized version of Firefox. Google playstore is source of free apps like Uber, Venmo, etc. DuckDuckGo to minimize web footprints, Webroot for security, NordVPN to work in stealth mode when necessary. Bank apps have their own security protocols which do not like VPN because they want to know who is talking to whom. I use Adobe Reader. I only use Google docs for group scheduling. No personal docs. Google is not all bad, but a single bad apple can wreak havoc on web users. Hostile foreign government professional hackers will get worse in the coming years. The Space Force will soon be followed by the Code Corps.
    psionandy likes this.
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