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By building an open ecosystem, Google has locked me in forever

Google Pixel 5 on a table showing Google logo with two lego figurines in front of it

Opinion post by
Rita El Khoury

Google’s presence in my life is so overarching today that I sometimes feel I’ve lost sight of what first brought me to its ecosystem. It was 2007; I had a Hotmail account and a Toshiba laptop running Windows XP, I used Firefox as my browser of choice, and I was pretty hooked on Nokia’s smartphones, but I was also considering getting an Apple MacBook. Google was nothing more than a search engine to me then, and the idea of having a second email account sounded preposterous. But a few of my online friends kept pestering me to sign up for a Gmail account, luring me with a whopping 2.8GB of free storage and threaded conversations! As a technophile, I couldn’t but cave to this hip and rebel proposition.

That started a long journey of Google slowly, but surely, spreading its tentacles into my online presence and my real life too. I look at my tech footprint today and see that more than 70% of it is locked in Google’s fortress. My precious memories? Google Photos. My important files? Google Drive. All of my searching and browsing? Google Chrome. My phone? A Google Pixel 7 Pro. My entire work presence? Google Workspace.

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