Results of the “Android without Google” Experiment

I am back to using Google Play Services (Google for short) on my CyanogenMod phone. You can read from my previous post how to use a phone without Google! I lasted a few weeks without Google on my Android but after a while, having no Google gets annoying. Luckily, installing gapps gives you the bare minimum of Google Apps, so no bloatware! These are the reasons I had to cave and switch back:

Transportation: Uber and Lyft require Google. Their apps will not even start.

Google Maps: HERE is a very formidable replacement. It will sometimes bring you to the wrong side of the street for your destination, but at least you are nearby. Its public transportation (specifically NYC subways) made it unreliable. I would reference Google Maps through my phone’s browser.

Hangouts: If your friends use Hangouts, then Xabber is an okay replacement, until they start to use Group Chats or send you Stickers or Pictures. Xabber is only good for sending text with one person.

Google Play Store: I used multiple App Stores like Amazon App Store, F-Droid, SlideMe, Mobogenie, and apk4fun. With a combination of all of them, you can get most of the apps you used with Google.

  1. Some may be broken because they require Google Play Services.
  2. Some will be older versions. For example, I could not get the most recent versions of the StageFright Detector by Zimperium or MyTix for NJ Transit.
  3. Apps you purchased will not be available on the other app marketplaces.

YouTube: Watching a video as a flash video through the phone’s browser gets boring and tiring very quickly.

OK Google: Being able to talk to your phone to get quick answers is actually important and better than typing. Also, speaking and letting Google transcode your voice into text is so nice for text messaging.

Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, etc: Since I use OwnCloud and can use IMAP to get Gmail, these apps were not the reasons I returned to Google but they are probably the major reasons why people cannot switch!

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