Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.
What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.
In this series, we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything.
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created in February 2005, and purchased by Google in November 2006. The web service lets billions of people find, watch, and share originally-created videos. It displays a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. It also offers a forum for people to communicate with others around the world, and acts as a distribution platform.
YouTube has over 2 billion monthly logged-in users with people watching over a billion hours of video a day. These are mind-boggling numbers.
With such popularity, it’s not surprising that YouTube runs into issues. Some are more worrying than others. In particular, YouTube has encountered a number of privacy issues. For example, Google is facing a legal battle for allegedly breaching the privacy and data rights of under-13s in the UK. It has also faced numerous challenges and criticisms in its attempts to deal with copyright issues.
What open source alternatives are available for YouTube?
Our recommended open source solution is PeerTube, This aims to be a decentralized and free/libre alternative to video broadcasting services. It’s powered by ActivityPub and WebTorrent. There’s no vendor lock-in. PeerTube allows you to upload your videos to a platform that you choose by yourself. And each community can help each other by caching one another’s videos. Each platform has its own terms of service, moderation and federation policies.
The service offers video streaming including live streaming. Users can follow their favorite channels from PeerTube without having to create an account. There’s no mining your data!
WebTorrent Desktop is a peer-to-peer (P2P) streaming torrent client for node.js and the web browser. The app never sends any personally identifying information, nor does it track which torrents you add.
It bridges the two networks of WebRTC-based WebTorrent and TCP/UDP-based BitTorrent simultaneously. While WebTorrent isn’t limited only to video it’s the software’s main focus. It’s fast, offers the ability to download multiple torrents simultaneously, and exposes files as streams.
All articles in this series:
|Alternatives to Google's Products and Services|
|Analytics is a platform for both website and mobile app analytics. This hosted web analytics software remains the mostly widely used analytics service.|
|Calendar helps manage your busy life with a digital calendar. It offers tons of features and makes it easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.|
|Chat is communication software which provides direct messages and team chat rooms, together with a group messaging function.|
|Chrome is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. It's the most popular web browser but has a chequered track record from a privacy perspective.|
|Classroom is a learning platform for educational institutions that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments. The main aim of the platform is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.|
|Contacts is a contact management service. It's available on the sidebar of Gmail, a web app, and for Android.|
|DNS resolves a particular domain name to its IP equivalent. There are many free DNS providers. A few stand out from the crowd.|
|Docs is a web-based productivity office suite. The suite includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google Keep.|
|Drawings is diagramming software included as part of the web-based Google Docs Editors suite. Create and edit flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, concept maps, and more.|
|Drive is a file storage and synchronization service. Want a solution that also includes the online office components available in Google Docs?|
|Earth Pro maps Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS. Fly anywhere to see satellite imagery, 3D buildings, 3D trees, terrain, Street View, planets and much more.|
|Finance is a website focusing on business news and financial information. It provides real-time market quotes, international exchanges, financial news, and analytics.|
|Firebase is a platform for creating mobile and web applications. It's currently their flagship offering for app development providing an all-in-one cloud service.|
|Forms is a survey administration software included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.|
|Gboard is a virtual keyboard app developed for Android and iOS devices. It features Google Search and predictive answers.|
|Gmail is a hugely popular email service. You might not like the automated scanning of email content.|
|Jamboard is a digital interactive whiteboard developed to work with Google Workspace. Sketch your ideas whiteboard-style while benefiting from the access and connectivity of an interactive canvas, on mobile or directly from your web browser.|
|Keep is a note-taking service. The app offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.|
|Maps is a web mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, and interactive panoramic views.|
|Meet is a video-communication service. It offers enterprise-grade video conferencing built on Google’s global infrastructure.|
|Photos stores your images in the cloud for convenient access from anywhere. Lots of useful tools, but it’s difficult to shake the sinking feeling that Google is analysing your pictures.|
|Search looks at privacy-focused alternatives to Google Search. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what alternatives do we recommend?|
|Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.|
|Sites is a structured wiki and web page creation tool. Build internal project hubs, team sites, public-facing websites, and more—all without designer, programmer, or IT help.|
|Slides lets you create pitch decks, project presentations, training modules, and more. It's part of the Google Docs Editors suite.|
|Translate is a multilingual neural machine translation service that translates text and websites from one language into another.|
|YouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform. It's a hugely popular service but has encountered a number of privacy issues.|
Your list is very in-complete.
That’s deliberate. We’re not in the business of producing lists. Instead, we make highly crafted recommendations — in this case of real alternatives to Google’s products and services. The purpose is to save the reader a lot of time and effort in exploring software and services which frankly don’t cut the mustard.
For example, we wouldn’t recommend Lucas Chess for many years. It’s always been an excellent chess playing and tutoring software. It’s open source, jam packed with great features, and the best in its class. It didn’t get our recommendation. Why? For the simple reason it was an absolute nightmare to get up-and-running on almost all Linux distributions. As soon as the developer recognised the issue and sought help in providing a simple installation, we took immediate action and recommended the program. We also produced a detailed review of the program.
That’s understandable, but not including Odysee is a big miss IMO. It is open source and decentralized, based on the LBRY blockchain, and by far the best alternative to YouTube I’ve ever seen thus far.
It also has the most of the popular youtubers on it. For example in the Linux space you’ve got Lunduke exclusively on Odysee, Gardiner Bryant, The Linux Experiment, babyWOGUE, DistroTube, Chris Titus Tech, Tyler’s Tech, and many more. Same goes for all other categories.
Odysee is difficult to recommend. The video platform has a poor reputation, there are lots of press coverage that it’s home to far right exremists. Its owners are accused by the SEC that it traded an unregistered security. There’s lots of other complaints too. Steer clear is my advice.
We’re satisfied that PeerTube is currently the best alternative to YouTube. Things can change of course. We’ll keep things under review and update accordingly in the future.
I will keep using YouTube like everyone else.
You mean 99.99% of everyone.
PeerTube helps contribute to a healthier internet.