There was a nice simple interactive article published in the New York Times last week titled Which Tech Giant Would You Drop? It links to a much more in depth piece on how our lives are increasingly dominated by five tech giants – Alphabet (Google), Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.
It then poses one simple question – if you were forced to, in what order would you give up these companies?
Here is my answer:
- Facebook – This is simple because I’ve already done it. I’ve never used Instagram, didn’t find Whatsapp useful and deleted my Facebook account earlier this year. I don’t miss it at all.
- Amazon – Although this global market place is convenient, it doesn’t offer me anything that I can’t get elsewhere. I wouldn’t miss the shopping side too much and I definitely wouldn’t miss Amazon Video (what they offer is of little interest to me). That said, I would miss my Kindle.
- Alphabet/Google – I don’t use as many Google services as I used to, but some are just that much better than their competitors that they are hard to give up. No other mapping service comes close to Google Maps for accuracy, and although I prefer Vimeo, I find more useful content on YouTube. My default search engine is Duck Duck Go, but some times I still need to use Google to get more relevant results.
- Microsoft – The giant from Redmond would be hard to do without. I continue to use some software that only runs on Windows. I also use Office every single working day, because it is the tool that all of my clients use.
- Apple – I’ve used Apple products for more than a decade and although I’ve been less impressed with them more recently than I used to be, their products are so embedded in my work and personal life that they would be incredibly difficult to replace. Although I could replace all of the Apple products and services I use (and I have considered this), the almost seamless integration between everything is just too useful. There are also some Mac and iOS apps that have no alternatives of equal quality on other platforms. I’m thinking of apps like Ulysses, Alfred and DevonThink.
This was an interesting exercise that made me realise a few things. Although I’d been on Facebook for nearly ten years, leaving was incredibly easy and I haven’t missed it once. I’ve used services from Amazon and Google pretty much by default, and have only recently taken the time to think about the value that I get from them and the cost of that.
I have also been less satisfied with Apple now than I was a few years ago, and I have looked for alternatives. This exercise made me think carefully about how I actually use these products and services and whether I would be better served going elsewhere. I’m now sure that I wouldn’t.
I think we should all be more conscious of the technology that we use, and regularly review our choices.