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Getting easier to de-Google or de-Apple

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efoundation-ungoogledYou hate those ads and pesky messages from Google, but you’ve become increasingly dependent on their services, right? Cloud storage, Gmail, Google Calendar and so on have just become so necessary that you feel you have to put up with the intrusions on your privacy and constant marketing of 'stuf', and being stalked by trackers everywhere you go? Well, there are alternatives, but one is growing rapidly and can do everything you want and need without those downsides: the eFoundation (Android) operating system.

Based in Holland, Europe, eFoundation has been helping users to break free from Google and Apple for some years, starting with de-Googled mobile smart-phones. At first these were the same Android smart phones that many of us have been using for some time. For example, mine is the Samsung S9+. Lately they’ve been working with a phone manufacturer, named Fairphone,  that makes it easy replace parts. Broke your screen? Easy and cheap to replace. Battery no longer charging and it’s wired in, so you have to replace an otherwise perfectly good phone? Replacing the battery of their Fairphone is a simple open and shut case!

You want to keep the phone you already have? With a little help from a techie friend you can download and install the de-Googled android OS on that – for FREE! Or you can send your phone to Holland and they will do it for you for a price.

Now it goes beyond phones. You want cloud storage? You can get a gigabyte for free from the eFoundation, and larger amounts are very reasonably priced.

Don’t you hate it when some web site asks you for your email address before they will provide you with something you’re looking for; and as soon as you do so you’re inundated with spam because they’ve sold your email to multiple other companies? You can sign up for a ‘burner’ email service at some expense: or you can meet your email needs securely and avoid this through the eFoundation – for FREE!

Just to be clear, everything for which you currently use you android or apple smart-phone, you can do with one using the eFoundation operating system. The difference is you can do it privately and without unwanted intrusions. As they say in their blurb, "Our business model doesn’t rely on making money with your personal data. We don’t scan your data, we don’t log your app usage, we don’t sell your data, we don’t use ads in our online services."

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I'm curious about a few things

I'm curious about a few things. Is the phone faster in use than its' Google counterpart, as I'm thinking it is transmitting less data. Any problems accessing websites since their tracking & google revenues are rebuffed. Does battery life & reliability. Who services the phones as they only officially sell the Murena Teracube 2e in Canada. An address is provided. Does that make it difficult to use another service? Obviously it would defeat the purpose to use a GMAIL account, but what about others. Apps: While they mention their app service, the non-user can only see availability but not security/privacy rating. I could easily migrate to WhatsApp as we use it for cross OS messaging. Camera: the days of using a separate camera are long gone for most of us, so a quality camera system with 3 lens system is my requirement. Cell connection: Towers normally log connection, device identity & location which providers use for revenue. Is location supplied? It can still be inferred by which towers are in range.

eFoundation de-Googled and de-Appled phones

Thanks for the questions.

1.   Connection speed. I haven't personally done a comparison, nor am I aware of any. From personal use there doesn't seem to be any compromise in connection speed. I'm guessing that's mostly a factor of the network you subscribe to. Mine is currently 4G.

2.   I've had no problems finding web sites. In fact I'd expect it to be better, if you're not using a Google search engine, since they will not be preferentially be promoting sites that pay them. I'm currently using the Bromite browser, which is a fork Chrome, with DuckDuckGo as the search engine. I'm on a wait list to subscribe to a paid search engine, which I'm hoping will complete the divorce from 'big IT'.

3.   The eFoundation app site is pretty comprehensive, but I also use APKsecure and Fdroid. There's lots of excellent alternatives to Google Play and Apple. Many are free. For some proprietary apps you may be forced to get them from Google Play.

4. Phone service is an important consideration. The eFoundation promotes Fairphones - - , which are built to a modular design, making component replacement (especially battery and screen) quick, easy and inexpensive. The ethos behind Fairphones is that they are supposed to be eco-friendly. They don't sell most of those phones outside Europe. If you have the technical skills, you can wipe the existing software of several dozen older mobile phones and install the eFoundation yourself - for free! They make it fairly easy to do this. I chose a Samsung S9+ from their sales for $500, because it comes with a dual SIM card option, making it a great choice for international travel.

5. Security. The prime raison d'etre for the eFoundation is security and privacy. Geo-location is off by default and can be turned on if you need it. Of course your IMEI has to be tracked by cell towers, or the thing wouldn't work. So far that information (IMEI) isn't available to Google or Apple. But if you install an app that requires geo-location tracking, (e.g. Tim Hortons!) they will follow you even into your bedroom!

6.  The Murena Teracube 2e gets pretty poor marks for it's cameras on one web site, although I have no personal experience. I still haul around a (relatively) huge Olympus OM camera. The difference in picture quality between that and Samsung S9+ is very noticeable.

Final thoughts. The eFoundation is evolving at a rapid pace. Every month they seem to come out with something new. The latest is a feature called 'Hide my email'.  If you're not yet ready to change your mobile system, I'd still recommend checking back with them at from time to time, to see what they're up to.


Cease fire banner, you don't speak for the people.