Stopgaps and Alternatives


(This is a wiki-style post. You can update the list by editing this post.)

NOTE – 13 March, 2017: This is a problematic post (it recommends Twitter, etc.) and needs review/updating. The goal is not to recommend “Google alternatives” that are, themselves, centralised people farmers. (Aral)

Below is a wonderful list of “Google alternatives” compiled by Christian Pietsch and others.

Eventually, we want to have separate topics for each of these products/services under either the Alternatives category or the Stopgaps category so we can discuss them individually.

I’ll get on that soon, but for now, this is a Wiki post, so anyone can edit it :smile:

Huge thanks for Christian for all his hard work:

There are several reasons why you probably do not want to share too many aspects of your life with Google: It has a near monopoly in several aspects of the Internet, and has its hands in many others: search, advertisement, calendaring, cloud storage, social media, news, e-mail, maps, online office … This stfles competition. And by using several of these, you give Google the chance to gain new insights about you by combining data from several services.


Blogger (blogging)





Code (Version Control)

(Google Code is being discontinued anway) (version control is not necessarily limited to software development projects, it can also be beneficial to track changes to collaboratively developed documents or data)

Collaboration/Project Management

(Which Google service does this address?)

Docs (authoring)

Collaborative authoring:


Offline authoring:

Chat/Hangout (IM/Video chat)

  • - End-to-end encryption through other services (gchat, facebook, etc.), encrypted IM/video chat using XMPP, in-browser video conferencing

Mail (e-mail)

Webmail (includes hosted IMAP server):


Client software:


Plus (social networking)

Reader (RSS)

Feedbin. The cloud version isn’t free (I consider this a benefit, but not everyone will). It’s open source though, and you can host it yourself.




Scholar (academic search)

Search (general)


Self-hosted (buy a Raspberry Pi or similar!):



Advertising / Affiliate Network

Closing words

PS: Sorry if this list is a little bit Germany-biased at the moment. Please add more to eliminate this bias!

More suggestions for the privacy and security conscious:

License for the contents of this page: CC-0 (

Introducing the Forum
“Help! I can’t post/post an image/edit a wiki!” Blog — 3… 2… 1… Liftoff! - Friday Roundup - 14th August 2015
Alternative for contacts organiser? & merging information

For RSS, you should add Feedbin. The cloud version isn’t free (I consider this a benefit, but not everyone will). It’s open source though, and you can host it yourself.


Thanks @self! Feedbin is a great suggestion. Generally, I think it’s a good sign if something has a paid-for option, it means that they have a sustainable business model and are less likely to be tempted to sell people’s data…

To anyone else wanting to add to the list, you can just hit the little :pencil: icon at the bottom of the post to add it yourself…


Thanks @self — just added Feedbin to the list for you. Also started putting the links into Markdown format.


A nice Webmail alternative is too! :slight_smile:


This is also a nice GitHub alternative. Unlike GitLab it isn’t a giant omnibus package or a massive sprawling install. It’s just one binary:


Hey @Christos, @adam_ierymenko, this post is wiki-style — feel free to edit the post and add it — and thanks for the suggestions :smiley:


An alternative to produce documents out of standard html is Prince. It is free for personal use, although it produces a watermark on the first page. Great software, an alternative, often overlooked, but alas, not free software.

(Update: Don’t really know a) if it should be on the list if it’s not free software, and b) where to put it. As I used it as an output method for a wiki, it’s also capable to be used collaboratively.)


Should we be drawing a distinction on this list between stopgaps and alternatives?
Would it get too messy?

@aral has defined each term in their respective category descriptions (Stopgaps; Alternatives) and I think it’s an important distinction to make.

I’ll gladly edit the post if others think it’s a good idea


Since one of the focuses of seems to be making tools that are easy to use would adding tutorials for how to use/setup the things listed be appropriate for this? Or would it be better to wait until this gets split into separate topics?
I have some tutorials on setting up a raspberry pi with syncthing and gitlab but I wanted some opinions about if this should include tutorials first. Also I that feels like a lot of self-promotion and I already added tiddlywiki which I am biased about since I contribute to it.


@inmysocks it probably would be better to wait til we split them off. But I’d love to read these tutorials, and they could really help other people.

I’ll start on that today. We can keep this wiki post as an index, so it’ll still be valuable if people want to add to it.

Bias and self-promotion are inevitable when we’re working in a community where people care about what they do! I think the best thing to do is declare our biases and let people make up their own minds… I for one :heart:



Same here!

Laura, let’s start thinking about a simple style guide / template for such tutorials that everyone can make use of. Highly recommend using Hemingway to write them. This will give them a consistent voice, make sure that the language and instruction are seamless and increase their effectiveness. We can follow a very decentralised editorial process for these were authors can write (with reference to the style guide) and we can edit and evolve them.

Exciting! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


This is what I have on my site at the moment, it includes instructions for getting and setting up a pi too. I checked GitLab again and it looks like they have made significant progress since I installed it on my pi, so that tutorial needs to be rewritten. I am moving to Paris next week so it will be a while, but I am planning on reinstalling everything once I get there and I will rewrite the tutorial then. Hopefully with screenshots this time.

A style guide would be lovely. I haven’t been using a consistent style for what I make, I should work on that.

Laura’s Diary — Thursday, 30th July, 2015

Can we just add Heartbeat to social network already??



I suggest marking alternatives that support mobile specifically too. Right now the list is PC-focused and while this is not a problem I always have my less computer-savvy family and relatives in mind. Mobile phones as main or single computing device is pretty prevalent and PC-only software has taken a less important role now for personal computing. It’s different with schoolwork still, though but even that may change.


My suggestion to list of apps. private messaging For iPhone and Android webmail


Do you know as an alternative to Dropbox? I’m looking for something that not be very expensive


I’m running a Seafile on a collective vps we have. Then you drop Dropbox.


I’ve been looking for an alternative to Google Maps/Apple Maps. What I desire is something that:

  • uses OpenStreetMaps data (or something similar) and has maps available to download for use without a data connection

  • offers route guidance/ turn-by-turn navigation

  • doesn’t track me or otherwise serve as a platform for ad-tech

Are there any suggestions for such an app for iOS? If not, what are you using for navigation right now? If not an app, then is there a standalone GPS unit out there that offers what I’m looking for?


I don’t know of any myself, but I’ve shared this on social media too :slight_smile: