Google has a firm grip with their products and services ubiquitous on the desktop. 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 can be questions 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. We recommend open source solutions.
Google Calendar is a time-management and scheduling calendar service developed by Google. It offers tons of features and makes it easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place. But what are the alternatives?
Our strongest recommendation goes to Nextcloud. You probably think of Nextcloud as client-server software for file hosting. But there’s a lot more to the service as a personal cloud storage. It also offers an excellent calendaring app, together with a photo gallery, text editor, and more.
Nextcloud has all the essential features we want from a calendar. There’s things like color-coding, private and public events, importing and exporting .ics files, repeating events, location tags, descriptions, and more.
Another attribute that makes Nextcloud a strong competitor to Google Calendar is that you aren’t tied to using Nextcloud on all your devices, as it uses open specifications.
Nextcloud can be installed on your own server or hosting account, or join an existing Nextcloud provider’s server. There’s always the option of paying for a private instance.
2. Run a CalDAV server
Although it’s convenient to use a cloud service for addressbook and calendar syncing, there are good reasons to run your own server. It gives you control, privacy, and freedom.
Our recommended solution is to use sabre/dav, a popular WebDAV framework for PHP.
3. Other software
What other options are there? Linux has a good selection of open source personal information managers that offer calendar functionality. We particularly like Kontact and Evolution. The former is designed for KDE, the latter for GNOME, but both work well on any desktop environment. And if prefer the command-line, there’s nothing finer than calcurse.
If you’re a big fan of Thunderbird (email software), there’s a useful built-in extension that adds calendar functionality to Thunderbird called Lightning Calendar. With this extension, users can create your own calendars, subscribe to calendars on the web and manage their own schedule, all within Thunderbird. Lightning also includes a Task manager that allows users to manage an integrated calendar and to-do list.
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.|
|Fonts is a computer font and web font service. It offers font families and an interactive web directory for browsing the library.|
|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.|
|Groups is a service that provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests. Part of the service is similar to mailing lists.|
|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.|
|News is a news aggregator service. It offers a continuous flow of links to articles organized from thousands of publishers and magazines.|
|Password Manager is a password manager built into Chrome and Android devices. It's published under a proprietary license with little information about security used.|
|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.|