I used to be an avid Google user. Everything I did was Google and I got really attached to my e-mail address after so many years of use: firstname.lastname@example.org. I fear some remnants of my data linger in the Googliverse, several years after I tried to sever my ties to it.
I remember waiting for the invitation for Gmail around 2005. One entire gigabyte (GB) of storage sounded amazing! Later, I would stare at the storage, which Google at some point started updating in ‘real-time’.
“I won’t have to delete as much anymore,” I thought. This was when 50MB inboxes were normal and a few mails with attachments was sufficient to fill it up.
I didn’t realize that was the whole point. I was a fourteen year old kid, so I didn’t care about privacy beyond people coming into my room unannounced (I really cared about that).
But after almost a decade of using Google, it felt like like I had made a Faustian bargain: I got services and gave away more than I could comprehend. The Snowden revelations, WikiLeaks, Anonymous’ propagandist videos, the increase in books, documentaries and discussions on government and corporate surveillance; it all contributed to an increasing awareness of how vulnerable my behavior made me.
But what could I do? Google had embedded itself in my life. I noticed how dependent I was on Google when Reader was abandoned, but that was one service that was easily replaced. Deleting my Google account all together meant deleting a ton of services. I started my journey to delete my Google account mid 2014.