Log Out of Google

An invitation to live your life with fewer distractions

Back to Home

So I got a new computer this week (Thinkpad t420/Arch Linux review coming soon) and as is the case with getting a new device I wasn't logged into anything. Usually you'd want to log into all your things when you get a new computer, but I decided that I wanted to use this computer differently than I've used other computers in the past. The most obvious change I made was switching to Arch Linux and trying to primarily use open source terminal based applications, but the more important thing I wanted to do differently with his computer was to use it primarily as a tool rather than a toy.

So I spent an afternoon installing and configuring Arch Linux and getting the programs I felt were nececary, then went to youtube to learn more about how to better use the programs on my system, but I didn't log in. I finished watching the videos that I wanted to watch and then none of the sugestions that came up were things I had any interest in watching. So many times in the past several months I've had a legitamate reason to get on youtube and then end up watching the other videos it suggests and nest thing I know three hours have past and I've gotten nothing done. A year and a half ago I took youtube off of my phone because I was sick of wasting time, but it wasn't long before I was doing the same thing on my computer. Youtube's algorithm is designed to get you to waste your time on it, the same is true of other social media sites, I'm sick of wasting time, you should be too.

The obvious argument against logging out of Google is the fear of missing out of things. If there is an important work email you are waiting for then of course stay logged in when you are at work but log out when you get home, you shouldn't be letting work take over your home life, if something is urgent I'm sure you'll get a phone call about it. If you're worried about missing out on some youtube video, ask yourself, "If I really want to watch all of the new videos this channel comes out with, couldn't I just manually search for their new stuff?" If the answer is yes than you've proved that you don't need to constantly be signed into youtube, if not then there is a good chance that those videos aren't worth your time. (You could also subscribe via RSS and still be notified of new content without Google's help) Google has only been arround since 1998, and back then it was only a search engine, it is completely possible to live life without being logged into it.

Logging out of Google of course won't completely disable its ability to serve you things for you to waste your time with, or track you or whatever, but it will make it harder for it to do it as effectively. Ultamately self dicipline is what is needed to overcome the temptation to waste time but it always helps to do what you can to limmit external things from triggering temptation. The internet is much like a store, you should have an idea of what you want before you go in, then once you've gotten what you need get out.

I saw a meme a while ago that said that it used to be that you went to the internet to escape the real world, now you go to the real world to escape the internet. The internet is of course a great place, you're using it right now, but you shouldn't live on the internet. Logging out of Google will bring you one step closer to living in the real world rather than the fake one.