Over the last few years I tried to avoid Google and other big companies services, In this year I had started my blog, I wanted to see how the traffic will look, etc., so I decided to use Google Analytics, today I had removed it from my website, let me explain why.
Surrounded by Google
Google Analytics is free, if something is free, then we are the product, Google is a big ad company, Google Analytics gather tons of data, and it’s like everywhere on the web, I checked out, and on most of the websites I’m using, have integrated Google Analytics, even if there were no Google Analytics, there were other Google services. Guess who hosts tons of the fonts on the web? Yep, it’s Google. Same situation with captcha system (reCAPTCHA). But that’s not all.
We got Google Analytics, Google Fonts, Google reCAPTCHA, what else? Google Ads, we surf the web with Google Chrome, then we watch videos on YouTube, we travel with Google Maps. On Mobile devices, many developers are using Google Firebase or/and Google Play Services, Google Ads (AdMob). Androids apps are downloaded mostly from Google Play, there is Google Keyboard (Gboard), Google Assistant, except it, e-mails arrives right into Gmail, we got Google Docs, Google Translator, Google Pay, Google Drive, Google DNS, there is even Chrome OS, and a lot more. The list is long. Someone might say, that I’m paranoid, but I see Google everywhere, that’s why I try to cut it down.
I don’t see danger in analytics/ads, but I feel fear when one company/few companies control so many aspects of your life, got so much data about us.
Tiny WordPress blog + Google Analytics, why?
Many of my blog visitors are „technical” people, they are interested in IT/GameDev/Programming or things like that, in those groups we got probably higher ad-block usage (pi-hole, ublock, no-script) or something else. So, Google Analytics doesn’t show full data in my case + I’m from Poland, I got „some” visitors from Poland, and in Poland, there is a huge ad-block usage (well, looking at some Polish websites, I sometimes think that text is just an add-on to ads, sometimes ads can give more entertainment 😛). Probably most of my readers just block Google Analytics, so why use it? Of course, if this blog would be for less technical people, then a lower number of people would use ad-block. I don’t have ads on my blog, I want to avoid putting Google Ads or something like that. So for me, even 100% of users can block ads on this website. I’m 100% fine with it.
I’m cutting myself more and more from big companies, so it just feels strange, that I’m myself blocking Google Analytics, meanwhile, I’m having it on my blog, I respect my readers, and this situation just looked so strange. In the past, I had changed reCAPTCHA (Google) → Hcaptcha, but today I had removed it too, same with Google Analytics + tons of other things (static social media buttons are 100% fine, no need to share extra data with social media, same with simple newsletter) + I had removed Google Fonts, the less external services, the better for users, and me. Because users will focus on reading.
The next reason for removing Google Analytics is that Google Analytics is a powerful tool, installing it on my blog was like a habit, I was thinking it might be useful, but I was thinking more and more about it, well, I don’t need it. Blog doesn’t have ads, it doesn’t generate cash, so if 1000 people will view my post or 10k, it doesn’t change anything from cash side or from any other side, it doesn’t matter for me + my hosting provider got some „simple” page stats (they are based on the logs), so they are not accurate, but I can see what got most of the hits, so I can see what is popular on my blog, that suit me in 100%, I don’t need anything else.
I could track where people come from, but I know from where they come, when I’m putting a post on website x, they come from that website, and I can see website impact by upvotes on that websites, etc. it suits me, I don’t need accurate data. So, Google Analytics was just too big tool for me. It’s like killing a fly with a tank. I just was using Google Analytics, but I used only basic statistics, and probably most of the tiny blogs like this one, do the same because Google Analytics is popular, free, easy to set up, I was not thinking about alternatives. Having data from Google Analytics just doesn’t change anything for me, I can have it or not, it’s just pointless.
Right now, I don’t need analytics, I got some simple stats from my hosting provider (logs), and that suits me :-} If in the future I would need analytics I would choose something like (one of those):
„Fathom Analytics”, „Matomo”, „Simple Analytics”, „Plausible Analytics”
In some of them, we can pay and get hosted analytics (it’s better to pay for a product than become the product), on some analytics we can even host it by ourselves. All the above services got a huge advantage over Google Analytics, data is not centralized in one big tech company + they are more privacy-friendly.
It’s the first post of this type on this blog, usually, I’m blogging about gamedev, so I’m not sure how this theme will fit, maybe I could start the whole series of entries about privacy? Maybe something about „going away from big tech companies”? Of course, I’m not an expert, posts are just personal thoughts :-} If you liked this post, would see more in the feature, feel free to support this website (there are no ads on this website)
PS: know that I can’t remove big companies from my life, but I can reduce them, and that’s a good step.