Living with Google Free android and open source apps

What is mean by google free Android

Android is an open source software but your phone is not running 100% open source software. What???… Yes. It contains many closed source apps developed by google. Google play store, search, maps, gmail app, online drive storage, online sync, etc… Without these closed source apps your phone could do very little work than what you are doing right now.

Google earns money from these services and collecting information about you in the name of improving user experience. Many of the apps do have access to track your location, contact and mesaages. 

Why?

  1. Google became a very big company and you dont want one company to have all your data.
  2. You may like some privacy and worried that google is tracking too much about you.
  3. You may like open source and stay with only open source software.
  4. You may like to try third party services
  5. You want to try alternative 

How to do?

  1. If your phone manufacturer like samsung, LG comes with necessary apps and services pre-installed and you can skip google services.
  2. You can disable all the google apps
  3. You can install custom ROM by unlocking the boot loader and rooting the device.
  4. You can use F-Droid or amazon app store for downloading required alternative apps
  5. microG services for geolocation

Pros

  1. You can stay away from the spying eyes for better privacy.
  2. You can choose alternative third party services.
  3. You can get little more battery life. Yes, google play services constantly eats more battery than any other app.

Cons

  1. You lose many apps and services you are enjoying in your phone now. Google play store, maps, mail, your favorite games, social media apps like Facebook, inatagram, snapchat, you tube, twitter, etc. Yeah you can use mobile web page wrappers like slimsocial for Facebook.
  2. Apps update are very slow on the alternative third party apps.
  3.  Vulnerabilities in open source apps is a threat for the security.
  4. Limited functionality due to lack of apps.

But still your phone with 100% open source android can do lot of work like internet browsing, search, take photos, call, messages, online chat with your friends using telegram, irc chat apps, notes, task, email, etch.., That’s a lot of work with open source android. 

App Store

  1. F-Droid is your best friend for downloading curated open source apps that comply with free and open source policies of F-Droid store. 
  2. Amazon app store is another alternative app from amazon. It may not have all the apps but there are enough number of apps for you

Alternative Android Apps

  1.  microG – It privide open source implementation for google play services by wrapping required minimum closed source files and provide  minimum required functionalities of google play services for application requiring it.
  2. OSMAnd+ – It is an open source map app with offline support. Available in F-Droid 
  3. Silence – An encrypted SMS/MMS application. You can still use the default messaging from the custom ROM or your phone stock ROM. But this is an excellent messaging app with encrypted local storage and encrypted communication between users. It uses signals encryption technique
  4. Telegram– Open source chat messaging application with encryption support. A perfect alternative for WhatsApp and other closed source chat messaging apps.
  5. K-9 mail – An open source email client with support for openPGP encryption. It has lot of customization. You can customize look and feel of the app and interacting with mails. It supports multiple accounts and has unified box for read all the emails one place.
  6. NewPipe – for viewing you tube videos.
  7. Twidere – for accessing twitter.
  8. Frost for Facebook – Frost is a fully functional web wrapper, with many unique and native features.
  9. Firefox klar for web browsing. Browse like no one’s watching. The new Firefox Klar automatically blocks a wide range of online trackers — from the moment you launch it to the second you leave it. Easily erase your history, passwords and cookies, so you won’t get followed by things like unwanted ads.
  10. OpenCamera – An feature rich open source camera app for every one. 
  11. Obscuracam – In a world of viral videos and facial recognition, ObscuraCam helps you share photos and videos while protecting the privacy of you and those you care about. With ObscuraCam you can blur and disguise faces in your photos and videos. Information that could identify you as the cameraperson is removed from the files for added security.
  12. Antennapod – A Podcast manager and player that gives you instant access to millions of free and paid podcasts, from independent podcasters to large publishing houses
  13. Keypassdroid for password management. A password safe, compatible with KeePass. Keepass is available on all the major desktop platforms: on GNU/Linux KeePassX is a well-established client. Portable editions are available if you need to use it on a Windows machine. 
  14. Red Moon – Screen filter app with seperate color temperature, intensity and dim level settings.
  15. GApps Browser – It helps to access the Google web apps without having to log into Google on your browser, so that you can browse privately. It is a good way to access the Google webapps if you have an AOSP-based ROM and reject the proprietary GApps. Also the webapps are less bandwidth and battery-hungry than their native counterparts.
  16. Web Apps– Provides a secure way to browse popular webapps by eliminating referrers, 3rd party requests, cookies, cross-site scripting, etc. It accomplishes this by providing a sandbox for multiple webapps (like Google’s apps, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Each webapp will run in it’s own sandbox, with 3rd party requests (images, scripts, iframes, etc.) blocked, and all external links opening in an external default web browser (which should have cookies, plugins, flash, etc. disabled).


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