Monday, September 19, 2016

F-Droid - Open Source Android Apps

Recently I started feeling a bit tired of Google. Then a took a look at the amount of data I'm feeding google via my phone and I was shocked! There's record of every search I have performed, my app usage, my web activity, my location activity. I just thought that I need to decrease this info sharing. 
So I started to look for alternatives to the google ecosystem. While ecosystem-wise there is just no replacement. Junking google from my smartphone will probably take out the smarts too. I mean I can minimize the google apps usage, but I can't get rid of play services, the many android apps that I use are very critical to my smartphone experience. 
I use google maps/ Here We Go for navigation. I use MX Player for movies, BlackPlayer for music, use WhatsApp for chatting. These are some necessary apps. And if I remove GApps and play store services then I lose all of these. So these are going to stay. But I also need to find some replacements and then start removing some of these. 
So I went ahead and trimmed apps and kept only necessary apps on my phone. That means I got rid of Google photos (which I never use these days...), Hangouts(another never used app), search (also never used), and couple of other Google apps. Then I got rid of some other unnecessary apps that we collect over time - trials etc. With this I installed F-Droid App using it's APK. 
After browsing through I found following apps to be of use:
1. OsmAnd~ - Offline/Online maps and navigation. 
2. ClearList - list manager
3. VLC - VideoLAN Player
4. Firefox - Browser (Already installed which F-Droid recognized)
5. AnySoftKeyboard - OpenSource Keyboard.

With these I am able to slightly decrease my Google info sharing. I'll try more in due time. Let's see. 


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