I use entirely too many Google mechanisms.
Someone at Google said that if they had Gmail to do over again, they would simply have called it Google Mail. That is what it has devolve din to an the rights all over the world were a pain in the ass.
I remember being invited to Gmail all those years ago. I used the same name that I always used. I didn't even check if any form of my real name was available. I was old hat at not caring about the details of names online by the time Gmail hit the scene. I was also very sick of every other mail service and mail software for that matter. To this day, I use Gmail and refuse to use a software package at all for reading mail.
If the web mail system at work didn't suck, I would prefer to use it over Outlook or Thunderbird.
I read Blogs, news stories and even podcasts with this software. This is the Google program that I spend the most time in I bet. Well, this or YouTube.
To replace this is an easy task. There are tons of alternatives. None of them are as cool as Google mail. Also, I haven't had to change my email address in years. This would a nightmare. I have no idea who still has this email address on an account that I might want to resurrect at some point.
I refuse to use other calendars. We have Exchange at work. It is not compatible with Google Calendar for the most part so I don't use it. I would be lost without some kind of online calendar. I would be late and miss things. I really should add people's birthdays to my calendar.
At work, I attempted to use Thunderbird to mount Google Calender so I could click on emails that were invitations to meetings and such. This would have been awesome because at the moment, I have to recreate and update everything in my work calendar manually. This introduces errors of course.
There are only a couple calendar services online. Not sure if any are better because Google Calendar is the only online calendar I've ever used for longer than trying it out. You seem to have to use the same calendar as the email you have chosen. If you don't, you are in a world of hurt when it comes to integration.
I use Google Docs for all kinds of things. I keep track of what books I've read. I keep track of what bills I've paid. I jot notes about web pages. I used to construct my blog entries in Google Docs, but they removed the HTML side of the editor so I can no longer do this.
I've even written poetry. I have hundreds of documents. Most of them are old blog entries that I should probably just delete. They are after all on the blog.
Is there a live free alternative to Google Docs? Microsoft has a charge service.
This is supposed to come online soon. It is a place online to store files and other information you want to have access everywhere. I use Google Docs for Google Drive at the moment. The only files I keep on line are password databases. Just recently, a company got in a bunch of trouble for doing this very thing. If Google pursues it, they will have to enforce some kind of DRM or the RIAA will come along and shut them down. That is all I need.
Picassa (Google pictures)
I use this to store some pictures that I use all over the place online. This used to be a problem before every single service online provided this service. They are all splintered and they all, including Picassa, prevent you from properly sharing your pictures without coming back to the main service. This is, of course, to force people to be exposed to their advertisements.
I don't just watch YouTube, I participate. I have no backup of many of the finished videos. Some vloggers keep even the build information for their videos. That is fantastic if you have the resources. Drives are not free. They die sitting on the shelf. Same with DVDs, not to mention that DVDs are headed the way of the Dodo.
There may be other places to upload your videos, but none come with all the people scouring the service like YouTube. If it were not piled in with Google Search, YouTube would be the second biggest search engine on the web.
I almost forgot to include Blogger. It to is under Google's umbrella. This very blog is part of that conglomerate. I am satisfied with the performance. There is a utility somewhere that lets you back up the contents of your blog to a file. I did this a while back. I need to do it again. Who knows, this information might actually be read by someone some day.
Much of the data on my blog consists of things like links and embedded other stuff. None of this will be saved. If I linked to something, the link may or may not be there the next time someone comes clicking. That is true regardless of backups.
Archaeologists will hate this part of history. They will sift though the galactic amount of useless tweets and such. They will pull at their tentacles and shake an orb at the heavens while cursing anything with a spine.
Most of the alternatives to Blogger require you to have a piece of software on the client end to get the most out of your formatting and features. This is ridiculous. They should all just take HTML and leave it to the user to format their page. Besides, none of them work on Linux. There are some HTML based alternatives. It isn't like anyone is reading this blog to be honest.
I use Google Maps, but I don't use it to the point that I depend on it. That is, I don't use it for business. I have written no software to take advantage of it. I could probably use another map service if Google Maps vanished. However, I don't know how good any of the others are to be honest because I have not used them much.
I use Google Search daily. I only bail to Bing when I fail to find what I want and I fail to think of anything else to search for that might lead me to what I'm looking for. I view bailing on my first choice of search engine as a failure on my part to be a good web searcher.
Google Translate is awesome. Actually, it will be awesome when it can simply listen to a conversation between two individuals who do not share a language and can simply translate for them without missing every third beat. Better yet, it will be something worth praising when it can translate people screaming at one another accurately.
I don't think of Google Translate as a service that I depend on all the time. There are alternatives that seem to work. I do go straight to Google Translate when I need such a service. I have compared a couple of them a few years ago. The results were not surprising. They were all about the same level of quality while using different words to be so.
Try translating Chinese poetry sometime.
I need to backup all this information. Google gives users the opportunity to do this in many of their online programs. It does not work in YouTube or Picassa, but Gmail, Docs and Blogger have some sort of export. I've never tried to upload it to somewhere else, but at least it dumps the information so you can do something with it.
.What would I do if Google went belly up tomorrow? After waking up and weeping for an hour, I suppose I would find another service for most of this activity. That would not be easy. I'm not sure if there is another docs or reader web page that doesn't cost. I hear Microsoft has some kind of Live Docs or something. Not sure what that is all about.