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. We recommend open source solutions.
Google 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 other types of diagrams online while collaborating with other users in real-time.
While this suite is available to use without charge, it’s proprietary software. We recommend the best free and open source alternatives.
Inkscape is an excellent tool for illustrators, designers, artists, and web designers.
It offers a great range of drawing tools, a powerful text tool, bezier and spiro curves, all combined with a wide file format compatibility.
Inkscape sports capabilities similar to Abode Illustrator. Unlike Illustrator, Inkscape is free and open source software. Say goodbye to subscription software.
Dia can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It offers special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams of various types, flowcharts, network diagrams, and simple circuits. It’s also possible to add support for new shapes by writing simple XML files, using a subset of SVG to draw the shape.
Diagrams.net (previously known as draw.io) is an online and desktop diagram software. It’s used to draw flowcharts, network diagrams, block diagrams, electrical circuit diagrams to create UML, as an Er diagram tool, for design. It supports saving files to cloud services.
There’s a desktop version for Linux and other operating systems.
4. LibreOffice – Draw
LibreOffice is an open source software office suite developed by The Document Foundation that is compatible with other major office suites and available on a variety of platforms. It is a feature-packed and mature desktop productivity package.
One of the constituent application of the LibreOffice suite is LibreOffice Draw. This is a vector graphics editor and diagramming tool. It can also carry out operations on raster graphics (pixels) such as photographs. With Draw, users can create a wide variety of graphical images.
sK1 is an open source cross-platform vector graphics editor. The major feature of sK1 is a professional precise printing and prepress ready PDF output.
Sadly the lead developer of sK1 passed away from COVID-19.
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.|
Inkscape released version 1.2 this week which is a huge improvement on previous versions. 1.2 now boasts a new multipage feature, many UI improvements, snapping guides and much more. See details on the Inkscape website.
Multipage support is fantastic particularly useful for me is now being able to import multi-page PDFs. I really like the sleek way I can customise color palettes.
I love Inkscape, it just keeps getting better and better.