My hostel business is dependent on American companies like Google, Facebook (with WhatsApp and Instgram being part of it), Booking, TripAdvisor, Expedia etc to reach possible guests around the world. It is clear that these companies are using our personal data to target us, consumers (and voters). Google is often doing this in an aggressive and sometimes illegal way under EU law and has been fined 9,5 billion between 2017 and 2019 by EU antitrust regulators. Facebook has been sued by the Australian information watchdog for data breaches, agreed to pay a fine in the UK for misuse of data and the EU is preparing a case.
As I used Facebook and Google (search and gmail) daily for years, I naturally started to trust these companies. I don’t mind ‘connecting with Facebook or Google’ to any other service on the web, sharing my personal data with an increasing amount of companies.
So, what if I decided that I wanted to quit using these companies’ services because I don’t trust them, and I don’t trust the US (and their servers are stored in the US, thus my personal info), can I? Is it impossible to run a hostel business (which is mostly booked online) without these American companies?
The first thing I implemented is using a browser that respects my privacy (haha, how do I know if that is really true) and doesn’t track me: https://brave.com/
Second thing was using a search engine that doesn’t collect nor store and share my personal information (you can install it together in Brave):
A European alternative would be: https://about.qwant.com/
But there is no European search engine that even comes close to Google search. Qwant processes 10 million searches per day, while Google was already processing 30+ million searches per day in 2000! Google now processes 75% of the searches in the world. That must be billions of searches per day, which would be more than 1000x what Qwant is processing.