The Best Google Alternatives For Email, Search, Docs and Everything Else

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Due to Google’s overwhelming popularity, it can seem like there are no real competitors to their products. However, sometimes it’s good to test the waters with other products to see if you like using them better.

Don’t get us wrong — we love Google, but we also love choice. After a good bit of research, we think we’ve found the best Google product alternatives out there.

The Best Google Alternatives For…

google search

Google Search

Description: Most used search engine on the web, owned by Google, advertising/search is their main business

Pros: Most popular and largest search engine so the results are the best, personalizes search results which can make searching more efficient

Cons: Google saves your profile and stores your search info, provides it to advertisers so they can better target you, can be hard to start fresh with an old topic because Google assumes you’re still looking for the same kind of info

duckduckgo google alternative

DuckDuckGo

Description: Internet search engine that focuses on privacy

Pros: Doesn’t track you at all, keeps no record of previous searches, won’t force you to make an account or anything

Cons: Can’t personalize results since it doesn’t track you/your location, also eliminates sites with excessive advertising so some relevant results may not show up

bing google alternative

Bing Search

Description: Web search engine from Microsoft

Pros: Image search is especially robust (lots of filters, first to use infinite scroll), incorporates trending social media posts into results when you search for people, Bing rewards give you points towards gift cards for searching with Bing

Cons: Has less users so search results aren’t as optimized, technical search results can be weak, not as good as Google at filtering out spam and other irrelevant results


2. Google Alternative Email Services

Gmail

Description: Both business and consumer email service run by Google, consumer emails are free but supported by advertising, business emails are run through Google Apps

gmail logo

Pros: Great spam filtering and protects well against malware, can often use a Gmail account to sign up for other Google services without having to create another account, groups emails according to the subject line which is super helpful

Cons: Gives Google access to your email and any other Google accounts you use the email for, advertising for free accounts can get really annoying, if you want to use your own domain you have to buy Google Apps for a minimum $50/year

Fast Mail - Google Alternative

FastMail

Description: Independent email service company that provides email for both individuals and businesses

Pros: Lives up to its name and is truly fast, infinite scroll inbox, can pin important emails at the top of your inbox so they don’t get lost, no ads, privacy/security seems to be marginally better than Google, accounts can be used for personal or businesses purposes

Cons: No free option (plans start at $10/year), not many apps and integrations you can add on, spam filtering isn’t as good, data limits are a bit arbitrary (i.e. if you want more than 1GB you have to go up to 15 GB)

Proton Mail - Google Alternative

ProtonMail

Description: A securely encrypted email service based in Switzerland

Pros: Not stored at all on ProtonMail’s servers (end-to-end encryption), can send encrypted emails to non-ProtonMail accounts, beta is free for now and they will later implement a freemium model

Cons: Instant access not available yet so you’ll have to join a waitlist for the moment, no way to get back into your account if you forget/lose your mailbox password, proposed change to Swiss data capture laws could erode the service’s privacy

Outlook - Google Alternative

Outlook.com

Description: Email service owned by Microsoft, used to be called Hotmail but has been totally overhauled

Pros: Free to use, mobile app only shows most important messages, minimalist and easy-to-navigate interface, pretty robust series of tabs and folders, “Sweep” feature make it really easy to clean out your inbox

Cons: Less interface customization, have to pay to get rid of the ads, predictive search feature not as good as Google’s, have to go to a separate tab to edit contacts


3. Google Alternatives for Docs

Google Docs

Google Docs

Description: Part of Google Drive, which is a suite of online office software

Pros: Anyone with a web browser and internet connection can use it, docs aren’t tied to a device so you can keep working wherever, they’re also backed up to the cloud, collaborate and/or see changes being made in near real time, saves changes so you can restore old versions

Cons: Have to have a Gmail account in order to use it, offline access only available if you use Chrome, doesn’t offer as many features as MS Word or similar pieces of software, files don’t always upload correctly if they’re in a different format

Zoho Docs - Google Alternative

Zoho Docs

Description: Online management software that allows you to collaboratively edit documents with colleagues in real time

Pros: Beginning account is free, standard is $5/month and premium is $8/month, can save document templates for your own use, share documents and have multiple people edit them in real time, highlights the text of each person

Cons: Can only view/edit/share on Android so barebones functionality, less features/plugins/fonts overall as compared to Google

Apple iWork

Apple iWork

Description: Cloud version of Apple’s office productivity suite, sometimes called “Apple Productivity Apps” instead of iWork

Pros: Works with Microsoft Office and is available on non-Apple hardware, 5 GB free storage for Apple accounts (entertainment and photos don’t count against it), similar and well-designed interfaces across applications

Cons: Restrictions on users without Apple hardware (only 1GB and Pages/Numbers/Keynote plus Settings), has been in beta mode for a while, must have Apple ID to use and collaborate

Office 365 - Google Alternative

Microsoft Office 365

Description: Previously called Office Web Apps, Microsoft’s free/lightweight browser-based version of Office 365

Pros: Saves documents in Microsoft Office file formats and otherwise works well with the Microsoft ecosystem, familiar interface if you’re used to Office so you don’t have to learn anything new, get 15GB of free storage through OneDrive

Cons: Free version is very stripped down and doesn’t have advanced functionality, have to pay for Office 365 if you want more features (starts at $6.99/month), no way to work offline, need an Outlook account


4. Google Alternative Map Apps

Google Maps

Google Maps

Description: Both desktop and mobile mapping service that incorporates dozens of different features under one umbrella

Pros: Lots of functionality in one system (i.e. look up directions, turn-by-turn navigation app, create a basic custom map, etc.), Google Street View is very robust compared to competitors, mobile app supports voice commands, can send location from desktop to mobile app

Cons: Street View can be incomplete for isolated areas or load slowly, turn-by-turn navigation for the mobile app is not the best, ability to make/customize maps is pretty basic

Wave - Google Alternative

Waze

Description: Smartphone GPS app that crowdsources real-time traffic info, offers turn-by-turn navigation based on that

Pros: Real time traffic updates and automatic rerouting, police tracking alerts to help you avoid speeding tickets, lots of social network integrations

Cons: Owned by Google but still continuing to operate (unlike many other companies Google has acquired), more suited for driving than taking public transportation or walking

Apple Maps - Google Alternative

Apple Maps

Description: Default map application on Apple products, only compatible with iOS and OS X

Pros: 3D flyover feature is pretty cool, design and interface is relatively clean and easy to understand while navigating, offers traffic alerts and turn-by-turn directions, includes operating hours, contact info, hotel reviews, etc. when you search for businesses

Cons: Only works with Apple hardware, public transit directions won’t be released until later this year and will only be available for a few cities, no bike routes or offline mode, has no photo-mapping capabilities yet

Bing Maps - Google Alternative

Bing Maps

Description: Microsoft’s web mapping program, was formerly known as Live Search Maps, Windows Live Maps, Windows Live Local, and MSN Virtual Earth

Pros: Just revealed a new redesign, “predictive routing” lets you see what traffic will be like at the day/time you intend to drive, can look for hotels/restaurants/etc. on one map instead of searching individually, card-based layout easier to navigate than the old one

Cons: Doesn’t have bicycle directions, no preview updates for smartphone apps yet, new version of map in “preview” mode right now so you have to opt in, emphasis on comprehensive trip planning a trade off for just getting directions


5. Google Alternative News Services

Google News

Google News

Description: News aggregator that uses an algorithm to compile stories from thousands of news sites, also has a specific engine that crawls hundreds of thousands of news websites for a search term

Pros: Easy-to-customize email digest news alerts, can browse news or get “suggested for you” stories if you tell Google what topics you’re interested in

Cons: Of course you have to give Google access to your news preferences if you want suggestions, can be hard to sort through news if you don’t customize it, design is not that great (very text-heavy, many links per page, images are small)

Bing News - Google Alternative

Bing News

Description: Search engine and aggregator specifically for news sites, owned/run by Microsoft

Pros: Good replacement for Google’s news search engine and pulls in a lot of local/smaller sites, images for most stories and ads aren’t that annoying

Cons: topic/trending story selection is really weird and not in line with the other sites, home page design is a bit wonky and confusing

Yahoo News - Google Alternative

Yahoo News

Description: Search engine and aggregator specifically for news sites, relies mostly on national news sites

Pros: Topic selection more in line with Google and other news websites, layout is pretty easy to navigate

Cons: Search engine sucks if you’re searching for news articles on more obscure/specific topics (say, something local as opposed to national), takes you straight to a web search instead of a news search, few photos and lots of ads


6. Google Alternative Entertainment Platforms

Google Play

Google Play

Description: Digital distribution platform, is the official app marketplace for Androids, merged the Android Marketplace, Google Music, and Google eBookstore

Pros: All apps in the app store are checked for malware, has a huge selection of apps, only need one account to manage a lot of kinds of entertainment instead of using a different service for each one, Google Music has a 50K song locker

Cons: Games are emphasized over apps when it comes to browsing the app store, no dedicated desktop app or family plan option for Google music, less films/movies available than competitors, no very easy to share purchases with your family

Amazon.com - Google Play Alternative

Amazon.com

Description: Different online “storefronts” such as the Amazon Appstore, Instant Video, Kindle Store, etc.

Pros: One free app a day in the app store, allows multiple downloads onto different devices, some movies/TV shows are free to stream with a Prime membership, Amazon Instant app is a plus if you’re a Prime member, some original video content

Cons: Doesn’t come automatically downloaded on Android devices (obviously), app selection is much smaller compared to Google, same apps can be more expensive vs. Google Play prices

App Store - Google Play Alternative

iTunes and App Stores

Description: Two online stores for Apple device entertainment purchases, App Store covers iOS apps and iTunes covers music, video (TV shows and movies) and eBooks

Pros: Has nearly the same number of smartphone apps as Google Play, Apple Music has dedicated desktop apps and is the only service to stream Taylor Swift’s 1989, can purchase movies and TV shows directly within the iOS apps (don’t have to purchase ahead on desktops)

Cons: Can only watch videos on an Apple device or PC with iTunes, no free basic tier for Apple Music or iTunes Match beyond Music’s three month trial, no browser player for iTunes (have to download the desktop app if it doesn’t come on the computer)


7. Google Alternative Video Platforms

YouTube

YouTube

Description: Video watching and sharing website that was bought by Google in 2006 and now operates as one of its subsidiaries

Pros: Totally free, SEO opportunities can be good because it’s owned by Google, huge audience already on the platform, optimized for second screen viewing and distribution because it’s such a popular platform, easy to set up your account to be monetized

Cons: Can be comment trolls, also difficult to stand out because there’s so much content, related videos can point people to other topics or channels, customer service can be weak, can be a lot of copyright scrutiny, very few choices for publishers when it comes to ads

Vimeo - YouTube Alternative

Vimeo

Description: Video-sharing website and platform, focuses a lot on creatives/artists and other people wanting to put out professional video content

Pros: Really high quality content (both technically and creatively), active/constructive community, site design is really good and places a lot of emphasis on the video content itself, can sell videos right from your page with the PRO account

Cons: If you’re a business you can’t upload commercial videos unless you pay for the PRO account, less visitors/viewers compared to YouTube, all account levels cap you at a max MB of uploads per week and year, picky about rights (all uploaded content must be created by the user)

Dailymotion - YouTube Alternative

DailyMotion

Description: Video-sharing website and platform, has been called “the poor man’s YouTube”

Pros: 112 million unique monthly visitors, free to sign up for a DailyMotion “official” account which gives you opportunities to earn money, much less picky about rights

Cons: Because of the lax copyright policy the quality of content is lower, lots of adult and other sketchy content is easily available as a result


8. Google Alternatives for Photos

Google Photos

Google Photos

Description: Photo and video sharing and storage service, was spun off from Google+ in May 2015

Pros: Unlimited storage for both photos and videos as long as they’re compressed, supports a really wide range of file formats, works with iOS/Android/Windows, uploading and editing photos is fast and and easy, can automatically backup photos

Cons: Have to pay if you want to upload full resolution files, HUGE privacy concerns with Google using facial recognition, GPS location, and more to automatically organize your photos because you’re giving them access to scan and mine your entire personal library

apple photos

Apple Photos

Description: Photo management and editing application that replaced iPhoto and Aperture, uses iCloud to keep photos and videos synced over various devices

Pros: Automatically backs up photos to iCloud and syncs them across Apple devices, also organizes them by time, date and/or location, easy to collaborate with family or friends on shared albums, no ads and Apple won’t mine your photos for personal data

Cons: Only get 5GB for free (can get 20GB for 99 cents/month), does not have an Android app so Android users can’t backup photos from their mobile devices

Flickr

Flickr

Description: Image and video hosting website, owned by Yahoo, also has a huge online community of photographers and bloggers

Pros: 1TB of free storage, can upload full resolution photos (Google scales them down if they’re above 16 megapixels), easy to configure privacy settings, multiple ways to filter and organize photos, editing options are more advanced

Cons: Does not allow as many file formats as the other options, slower to upload, backup isn’t unlimited but few users will approach the 1TB limit, so many organizing and editing options that it can be confusing to navigate, ad free version casts $6/month or $50/year

Amazon Prime Photos

Amazon Prime Photos

Description: Subset of Amazon’s larger Prime service, allows for the unlimited storage of photos in the cloud

Pros: Free for Prime members ($12/year for those who aren’t), unlimited photo storage with 5GB for videos, works with every major operating system (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, even Kindle Fire), keep photos at full original resolution

Cons: Not that many editing options, costs extra in Australia and the UK if you need extra storage, organizational tools are limited and there’s no search


9. Google Alternative Browsers

Google Chrome

Chrome

Description: Google’s web browser, based on the open source Chromium project

Pros: Can kill slow or frozen pages without closing down the entire browser, automatically offers translations of foreign language pages, simple interface and fast loading time, lots of extensions are available, offers “incognito” browsing mode

Cons: Have to create a Google account if you want to sync your history, bookmarks, etc. across devices, not as fast as some other browsers, Do Not Track can be hard to find and doesn’t really protect your privacy that much

Vivaldi Browser - Chrome Alternative

Vivaldi

Description: Web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies, company was founded by former CEO of Opera Software and Vivaldi incorporates some of Opera’s features, design for the web power user

Pros: Can create “tab stacks” so you don’t just have one line of tabs, can also use page tiles to compare 2-3 pages side-by-side, lots of customization (can move tabs to the bottom, for instance), Quick Commands keyboard shortcuts, don’t need a mouse to navigate, notes lets you save and annotate web pages as you browse

Cons: Might be too much horsepower for casual web surfers, browser sync and mail extension integrations are not available yet, not as many extensions as other browsers that have been around for longer

Microsoft Edge - Chrome Alternative

Microsoft Edge

Description: Developed under the name “Project Spartan,” owned by Microsoft and will replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on Windows 10 devices

Pros: Rendering engine is pretty fast, can directly mark up web pages with a highlighters/drawing tools and save them as images if you have the tools, new page tab lets you search and see thumbnails of most visited sites, Cortana is integrated with the browser

Cons: Still in “preview” mode so you have to sign up to be a Windows Insider if you want to download it, only available for PCs right now, lots of little bugs and not many extensions

Firefox - Chrome Alternative

Firefox

Description: Free and open-source web browser developed by Mozilla

Pros: Has a version specifically for developers plus other tools, lots of customization options relative to other browsers, good security and privacy, large number of extensions, frequent updates, generally as fast as Chrome

Cons: Design not quite as clean as Chrome, iPhone app doesn’t have full functionality, 64-bit browser only available for the developer version


10. Google Alternatives for Cloud File Storage

Google Drive

Google Drive

Description: Google’s file storage and synchronization service, also includes basic Google office suite cloud applications

Pros: 15GB of free storage, premium plans are relatively cheap, can creates certain files (docs, sheets, presentations, forms) within drive and share and edit them, comes automatically with every Google account

Cons: 15GB isn’t just Drive uploads (also Gmail and Photos) so if you have a lot of different kinds of files you might use it up quickly (but Docs etc. don’t come out of this), have to check each file individually to see who it’s been shared with, office apps not as robust as Microsoft

Dropbox - Google Drive Alternative

Dropbox

Description: Independent service that incorporates cloud storage and file synchronization

Pros: Multiplatform and can be installed on anything which makes it easy to access your files, lots of people already have Dropbox, easy to learn how to use and navigate, no size limits on uploads through the apps

Cons: Only start with 2GB of free space and you have to earn your way up to 16GB, file size limit is 10GB, relatively expensive (Pro account is $99/year for 1TB), can’t actually create files within it

iCloud - Google Drive Alternative

iCloud

Description: Apple’s cloud syncing and computing service, replaced MobileMe several years ago

Pros: Allows you to easily share purchases with up to six family members, automatically backs up Apple devices, syncs music as well as files, integrated with iWork, multiple tiers of data plans, also works on Windows devices

Cons: Only 5GB of free storage and 1TB plan is 2x more expensive than other services, counts mail/calendar/contacts against storage, 5GB has to cover all your devices and can quickly be used up if (say) you backup all your photo from your phone

Microsoft One Drive - Google Drive Alternative

OneDrive

Description: Microsoft’s cloud sharing service, formerly called Sky Drive

Pros: 15GB of free storage, 1 TB plan cheapest relative to competitors and even includes Office 365 subscription, very easy to upload/save files from different Windows devices, office apps are pretty robust

Cons: Optimized for integration with Windows devices (though it does have apps for other operating systems), file size limit is 10GB, can be slow to upload content, requires a Microsoft account to use

Box - Google Drive Alternative

Box

Description: Independent online file sharing and cloud content management service

Pros: 10GB of free storage, LOTS of security features which are its main draw, multiplatform and can be installed on anything which makes it easy to access your files

Cons: Free plan limits file uploads to a small storage amount, not an easy way to preview files, more targeted towards business users than personal


11. Google Alternatives for Social Networking

Google Plus

Google+

Description: Sometimes written as Google Plus, social network that incorporates information from many Google products

Pros: Can create Circles so you can choose who sees your updates, more of a professional emphasis, boosts the SEO of your various web pages

Cons: Not as many active users as compared to other networks, will be sharing your Google+ info with other Google applications because they’re all integrated, can’t control how people search for you, rumors it will be de-emphasized by Google

 - Google Plus Alternative

LinkedIn

Description: Social network that focuses on businesses and professional networking, users can connect with others in their industry, view company updates, publish articles, and more

Pros: Meant for B2B and professional users (not really targeted towards personal use), gives company pages a lot of ways to target their updates and control who sees them, easy for you to find relevant people and for them to find others

Cons: Not as many ways for personal users to controls who sees their updates (just broad categories), receive lot of emails by default, paid subscription is quite expensive, connect requests can be sales pitches

Facebook - Google Plus Alternative

Facebook

Description: Social networking service that allows users to create a profile, add friends, exchange messages, post status updates along with photos and videos, and like pages for public figures and organizations

Pros: More of a personal emphasis, lots of active users, default privacy setting is “friends only (it’s public for the other networks), can prevent users from tagging you in posts, can limit data sharing with 3rd party apps, can manage ads that appear in your feed

Cons: More difficult to control who sees what posts, ads can be annoying and even intrusive, feed can become cluttered with content from people you friended a while ago and don’t really care about anymore

Twitter - Google Plus Alternative

Twitter

Description: Social network based on SMS technology, users post and read 140-character long messages known as “tweets”

Pros: Emphasis on real time information, can opt out of photo tagging, no algorithm that keeps some followers from seeing yours posts, don’t have to belabor posts because of the short character limit, following/followers don’t have to be the same

Cons: Can’t really control who direct messages you, can’t change who sees what accounts follow you or that you follow, so many tweets that things get lost in the shuffle, 140 character limit isn’t much


12. Google Alternative Advertising Platforms

Google Adwords

Google AdWords

Description: Google’s main source of revenue, online advertising service that lets advertisers compete to display ads based partly on keywords that link to web pages

Pros: HUGE search share (~70-80%) and more search volume/impressions, tends to have higher click through rates (CTR), lots of extensions are available, works in more countries, opportunities to bid lower as your site improves in keyword relevance/quality

Cons: Cost-per-click (CPC) tends to be higher, description length of ads is shorter, customer service is not that great, data/analysis can be hard for beginners to sift through

Bing Ads - Google AdWords Alternative

Bing Ads

Description: Microsoft’s pay per click advertising service which operates on both the Bing and Yahoo! search engines (Microsoft oversees the “functional operation” of Yahoo! Search)

Pros: Ads are served on both the Bing and Yahoo networks, larger character limit, cost-per-click (CPC) tends to be lower, less competition for keywords, good customer service, can import AdWords account directly into Bing Ads

Cons: Smaller search share so less search volume and impressions, tends to have lower click through rates (CTR), offers far less extensions than AdWords

Facebook Ads - Google AdWords Alternative

Facebook Ads

Description: Facebook’s pay per click advertising service which only operates within Facebook, can create different types of ads, choose a campaign objective, and target users for their interests (via likes) rather than through search keywords

Pros: Lets you filters what specific demographic you want to see your ads, CPC is generally cheaper than Google, can add rich media in ads (video, images) in addition to text, focuses more on brand awareness than search intent

Cons: Prices are increasing, very few organic views for pages now because of algorithm tweaks so businesses are forced to use ads (no SEO equivalent), because of focus on brand awareness ads can have a really low CTR or ROI

Twitter Ads - Google AdWords Alternative

Twitter Ads

Description: Twitter’s advertising platform which offers promoted trends, promoted accounts, and promoted tweets, pay only for user actions that fit your campaign objectives (not for impressions like Facebook)

Pros: Only pay for the specific result you want and not for any old interaction, mobile friendly, promotions blend well with “regular” tweets, ads appear in both the regular feed and search results, easy to get started if you’re new to online ads

Cons: Much smaller number of monthly active users (302M vs. FB’s 1.44B), promoted tweets are only 140 characters long which is limiting, since promoted content blends so well it might not grab your audience’s attention, less ad customization and user targeting options


13. Google Alternative Web Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Description: Google’s freemium analytics service that tracks and reports web activity

Pros: Free version is very robust and offers a lot of stats and options, lots of customization options such as reports and alerts, also a good number of add ons available, ties into other Google products (Search Console, AdWords, AdSense, etc.)

Cons: Steep learning curve for even basic functionality and can be overwhelming, does not accurately record time on page/session duration, lag between “real time” data analysis and actually viewing/analyzing it, privacy concerns with giving Google access to all your website stats

Clicky - Google Analytics Alternative

Clicky

Description: Independent analytics service that tracks and reports web activity

Pros: Interface is much simpler and easier to navigate, on-site heat maps and uptime monitoring available with paid version, analytics are much closer to real time, can track individual users if you want, on-site widget overlays analytics on your site in real time

Cons: Free plan is pretty basic and doesn’t offer much functionality (can only use it for one site), have to get a pro plus account for the heat map and uptime features, stats are pretty standard

Piwik - Google Analytics Alternative

Piwik

Description: Independent open source web analytics application

Pros: Self-hosted Piwik is totally free, you install it on your own server so you have full control over your data and no one else sees it (protects your privacy), can import log files, also swap out and rearrange the widgets to customize, can edit open source if you wish

Cons: Cloud-hosted pro version starts at $29/month and goes up from there based on traffic, can be difficult to migrate data so you might have to hire someone, counts page time the same as Google

Adobe Analytics - Google Analytics Alternative

Adobe Analytics

Description: One of the applications included in Adobe Marketing Cloud, which is Adobe’s suite of online marketing programs, company was formerly known as Omniture before Adobe bought it in 2009

Pros: Stores the data on its own servers which have good uptime, lots of customization options and custom variables, can get raw data (have to have GAP which is $150K/year if you want to get it from Google)

Cons: Adobe is very expensive and requires long contracts to use, rather difficult to set up and has a steep learning curve, customer service is severely lacking


14. Google Alternative Translation Services

Google Translate

Google Translate

Description: Both web and mobile automated translation services provided by Google

Pros: Very fast and totally free, can easily switch between languages, can even ask Google to recognize the text language if you don’t, can also translate audio if you speak slowly and clearly, new app works pretty well for translation while you’re traveling

Cons: Many grammar and syntax mistakes and struggles with idioms/slang, quality of translation differs from language to language, really only good for getting an overview of the general gist of the text, audio translation doesn’t work for everyday speech, app can be hit-or-miss, text may be recorded.

Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator

Description: Microsoft’s cloud-based automatic translator API which is integrated across multiple products, most notably Bing Translator and Skype Translator

Pros: Skype Translator automatically translates video and voice calls as well as IMs, Bing Translate has pretty similar features to Google Translate (auto-detect, constant translation, etc.)

Cons: Bing has less languages than Google and the translation quality is a bit lower, Skype Translator is in preview mode right now so it isn’t fully functioning

Babylon Human Translation

Human Translation by Babylon

Description: Multilingual human being who translates text for a fee

Pros: Far more accurate that automatic translation, can recognize and understand sarcasm/idiom/slang, etc., can translate both audio and text, overall quality of translation is higher

Cons: Costs a lot more, time consuming, not always available on demand, won’t really work for travelers who need instant translation, usually specialize in just a few languages


15. Google Alternatives to Notes

Google Keep

Google Keep

Description: Google’s note taking application, basically functions like digital sticky notes

Pros: Can add notes/lists/videos/audio, can set reminders and share notes with other users, totally free, ability to transcribe notes by speaking into the app, also can grab text from images, Chrome app is available

Cons: No way to format the text, can only add a label after a note has been created, no app for iOS or Windows, no premium or business upgrade options

Evernote

Evernote

Description: Independent notetaking and archiving productivity software

Pros: Available for pretty much all the major platforms, lots of add-ons apps and extra features (handwriting recognition, internal chat, slideshow generator, etc.), free up to 60MB/month, several different levels of categorization (notebooks), also has reminders

Cons: Formatting option can be limited in the free version, load time can be slow because of syncing, have to have a paid account to collaboratively edit (otherwise it’s just read-only)

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote

Description: Microsoft’s note taking and collaboration software

Pros: Lots of editing and formatting options, syncs with OneDrive, can tag parts of the page individually or password protect just part of the page, drag-and-drop files as embedded objects, recently made totally free, 15GB through OneDrive

Cons: Interface design can be a little clunky, features vary according to the hardware or software you are using, no reminder options


16. Google Alternative Money Apps

Google Wallet

Google Wallet

Description: Google’s mobile payment system that stores various kinds of cards (credit, debit, loyalty, gift, etc.), separate Android Pay app coming soon

Pros: Optional physical debit card, daily spending limit of $5000 which is high, works on many Android phone models, can send or request money from anyone who has a Gmail account, stores loyalty card info in one place, offers lots of discounts, special deals, and so on

Cons: High credit and debit card fees (2.9%), giving Google Wallet access to all your purchases, not that many businesses have NFC terminals, interface is messy because of all the options, card has a lot of limitations compared to regular debit/credit

Apple Pay

Apple Pay/Wallet

Description: Apple’s mobile payment service, acts as a digital wallet for various cards and can also use it to shop within certain apps

Pros: Can unlock with Touch ID instead of the PIN if you want, partnered with banks so you don’t have to give Apple as much secure info (i.e. social security and bank account numbers), only shows your most recent transaction in Passbook/Wallet so doesn’t keep an ongoing record

Cons: Only works for more recent Apple devices, can’t really shop with it online like the “Buy with Google” option

Paypal

PayPal

Description: Online payment and money transferring system, currently a subsidiary of eBay but will soon be spun off as its own independent company

Pros: Works internationally, most commonly used service, can make transfers of up to $10,000, can use fingerprint scanner if your phone has it, many people already have a PayPal account since it is the leader in digital payment

Cons: Fees are 2.9% + $.30 for debit and credit, need verification to withdraw more than $500/month, takes 3-4 business days for payments to process

Venmo

Venmo

Description: Mobile app that allows you to transfer money to friends or request it from them, also a web interface

Pros: Now owned/run by PayPal, very easy to send and receive cash, many people already have accounts, apps for all major platforms, social sharing and funny transaction descriptions makes it more appealing especially to younger users

Cons: Only for transferring money, $300 weekly cap can only be raised to $3,000 max, 3% fee on credit cards and non-major debit cards, transactions are shared on your feed by default, not as many security options as other apps, customer service is not very prompt


17. Google Alternative Communication Apps

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

Description: Google’s communication platform which includes instant messaging, video chat, SMS, and VOIP (video over IP); created from incorporating Google Talk, Google Messenger, and Google+ Hangouts (video chats are no longer specifically part of Google+)

Pros: Integrates voice/text/video chat in one place, can share pictures, lots of emojis/stickers, works across pretty much all platforms, integrated with Google Voice and SMS (though this can be a bit confusing at times)

Cons: Have to have a Google+ account to chat with more than one other person and other advanced features, a single contact may be fragmented into several different entries, Hangouts Dialer has to be downloaded separately from the Hangouts app

Skype

Skype

Description: Microsoft’s telecommunications platform that provides video and voice calls via an internet connection, also integrates IM

Pros: Can set up a Skype Number that functions like a regular phone number, decent sound and image quality, messaging well-integrated with video and voice calls, low-rate calls to mobiles and landlines, dedicated paid version for business, integrated with Skype translator

Cons: Emergency calls in only a few countries, SMS is outbound only unless the recipient knows your phone number, group calls are audio-only for people on mobile devices

Whatsapp

WhatsApp

Description: Independent IM app for smartphones, incorporated voice calling as well

Pros: Recently added voice calling which uses your phone’s data plan, lots of users all over the world, makes it easy to text internationally, basically don’t need a text plan, only $1/year, can now login on a desktop browser, available for lots of phone models

Cons: No video chat as of right now, also no group voice calls, doesn’t interact with other IM accounts and must have WhatsApp account to message, design could use a refresh, no native stickers, tied to single device/phone number

  • Maps -> Here Maps
    Hangouts -> Messenger, Telegram,

  • GeekRedux

    Gmail: “…if you want to use your own domain you have to buy Google Apps for a minimum $50/year”

    Is this a recent policy? I have three domains I use Gmail with and don’t pay anything. Did I get grandfathered in and not notice?

    • I’m aware of “Sending mail as…” https://support.google.com/mail/answer/22370?hl=en but that’s different from having Google/Gmail hosted domain for email.

      • GeekRedux

        But Gmail does actually host my domain’s email. Went in and changed the MX records and everything. But I’ve been doing this for years, which is why I wonder if they changed things a while back and I was just grandfathered in.

        • That’s cool. I didn’t even know you could do that…even if it may no longer be available. Can you post a link from Google or somewhere that shows how to do that?

          • GeekRedux

            Nope. I couldn’t find anything that didn’t involve a paid plan from Google. Wikipedia tells me I must have signed up back when it was still free and called Google Apps for Your Domain, before 2011. Free signups for new customers apparently ended in Dec 2012. (Maybe that’s what the Mayans were talking about.)

          • Well, good for you 🙂

  • Don’t forget Open Street Maps, Woopra Analytics, Zoho Mail.

    • Thanks Tad! The list could have been huge, so Kara made a lot of editorial decisions to leave out some good apps. Those certainly would have been good editions, and we may update the post in the future to include those.

  • Nice but still looking for an AdSense alternative.

  • Super post Kara. This nudges me to see how I’m looking on Bing, and also to use the search tool more often for a nice change up to Google. Thanks much.

    Ryan

  • wow Right on the money thanks

  • Nice but still looking for an AdSense alternative.