Google apps and services are omnipresent in our always-connected society. Regardless of whether we are using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC, we probably use Google apps and services multiple times a day. To go even a single day without using even one Google service is probably quite difficult, which is why most smartphone reviewers find it hard to recommend Huawei's Google-free Mate 30 Pro, despite how good the phone actually is.
I enjoy using Google's services. For the most part they work really well, especially when you link them all together in a single Google account. I'm not too worried about security/privacy with regards to Google's advertising policy, or the "all your eggs in one basket" cautionary tale, but that doesn't mean I use every Google service under the sun. On some occasions, Google apps don't offer the best experience for me, which is why I look for alternatives. So here's a list of non-Google apps and services I currently use, and why (spoiler alert, it's not a long list).
Spotify kind of wins by default as the service has been around for years, while Google's new music streaming service, YouTube Music was just launched in Malaysia. I haven't explored YouTube Music and to be honest, I don't really have any interest to. That's mostly down to how good Spotify actually is. The family plan which I share with my sister is affordable, the apps on my phone, desktop, and on my Galaxy Watch work very well together, and Spotify is just really good as a music streaming service, which is a sentiment that other people seem to agree with. YouTube Music may actually be good, and being bundled together with YouTube Premium does have a certain appeal to it, but at the moment I'm sticking with Spotify.
Google has tried many times but it still can't seem to get messaging right. Hangouts never worked out, Allo died a quick death, and Google's efforts to push RCS messaging will probably have zero impact outside the US. I've been a very vocal advocate of Telegram for years, and due to Malaysians' insistence on using WhatsApp, I have to continue using it as well. So between both these apps, there's just no need for a messaging service from Google on my phone.
Microsoft To Do
I tried using a task manager several times in the past, but every time I did I stopped using whatever app I was using after just a few days. Now I'm using Microsoft's To Do app, have been using it for a few weeks actually, and I think I'll be using it for a very long time. It has a desktop app as you'd expect since it's from Microsoft which syncs with the app on your phone, and the app has some great features, like a "My Day" list which is a list of tasks you want to accomplish each day, due dates and reminders can be set for each task, sub-tasks can be assigned to main tasks, you can add notes and attachments to tasks, and as a bonus the app looks amazing. It has customisation options, light and dark themes, it just looks good. Google Tasks on the other hand is so bare bones that I uninstalled the app after exploring it for just a few minutes.
I wrote about Spark a while back, though after using it for a period of time I was forced to return back to the Gmail app on my phone since Spark had some notification syncing issues. Now that those notification issues have been resolved, I'm happily using the Spark e-mail app again on my phone. It's closer to the now defunct Inbox app that the Gmail team made several years ago, and since Gmail has yet to incorporate some of the features that made Inbox so good, I'm sticking with Spark for the foreseeable future.
Earlier this year I wrote about the e-wallet landscape in Malaysia and how fierce the competition is between the different platforms. Though the different e-wallet providers are competing with each other, they actually complement each other quite well, each offering different rewards and benefits and collectively providing e-wallet coverage to pretty much every business in Malaysia. Not only that, the government has also been very actively promoting the use of e-wallets in the country, recently putting aside some money in the 2019 budget for users of e-wallets. Google Pay is not available in Malaysia, but even if it was, I feel like it's just too late to make an impact in the country when the competition between mobile payment platforms is already several years in the making.
That's my list of non-Google apps. I'm sure that many other people use other apps instead of Google's as well, so be sure to share your app preferences below.