Create new blog entry
It has been a bit over five years since we created the other great services page. A lot has happened since that, but all of our initial picks have stayed valid. I think that it has been quite a remarkable achievement! (At some point we needed to remove the Iridium browser, as it was not getting updates and started to be more like a security problem. But now it is again updated, and could be added back there.)
We have tried to pick up the best privacy-respecting services that are usable and easily available for a wide audience, and which would exist still after the years. We know that there are other apps or technologies that would give better privacy, anonymity, security/protection, but which are not in our opinion so easy to use or ready for the big audience. It might be because of the user base, or limited availability per platform, or not so easy to use user interface, or some other factor. That is the reason that we haven't included them on our list. We will also try to keep our list quite short.
In case you are looking for cutting-edge privacy tools and/or a more frequently updated list, please take a look at the end of this page. There are links to few other projects that are doing great work.
Let's take first a look at our current picks and how they have been doing.
DuckDuckGo has grown at this time almost tenfold to 70 Million search queries per day. They have also continued to donate money to good purposes, and increased it when the business has grown. That is an example for WishSimply too, and something that we hope to be able to do someday.
Telegram has grown from 100 million user to over 500 million user, and been the messenger app of choice for the people in Belarus and Hongkong. However, now there are some dark clouds as they need money after the US forbids their crypto launch. Let's see how it goes and can they stay loyal to their privacy-respecting roots. If not, there are already other candidates rising up.
Qwant has been making slowly inroads to different browsers. First to Firefox, then Brave, and finally last year to Chrome (for French users).
OpenStreetMap has grown also significantly and is nowadays backbone for the maps in the service like Facebook, Apple, Uber, MicroSoft and such.
Owncloud / Nextcloud has both grown a lot. Owncloud reports 50% growth at 2020 and Nextcloud is reporting same. One chart is showing that it is already approaching OneDrive in search popularity. Install base for both is probably in hundreds of millions.
Adblockers (Privacy Badger and Adblock plus) are both fine, and during the last five year the ad blocker usage share has risen 5% (Statista.com and Backlinko report)
Then without further ado let's get to list our updates to the page.
First of all, we will replace OwnCloud with Nextcloud on our list. We could have actually done that already years ago as NextCloud took the crown from OwnCloud very quickly. However, after that "split" the OwnCloud also changed their directions and it was not so bad either, but now we have changed Owncloud to NextCloud.
We will add the instant messaging application Signal to our list. So far we haven't actually received any other questions regarding our list that why we haven't include Signal in it. The reason has been that its user base has been so small and adoption so slow that finding other users with that app has been close to nothing. However, now things have changed thanks to Facebook/Whatsapp, and its user base has been growing rapidly. Of course, it has also got a lot of new functionality meanwhile which won't hurt. :)
Brave is a new private web browser. It has been built upon chrome's engine and is fast loading pages (as there are no ads/tracking). It has invented its own Basic Attention Token (BAT), which its users can earn by looking selected ads, and use to tip their preferred mediums. Participation in BAT usage is completely voluntary, and if you don't want to use it, it is not stepping in your way. Brave has also managed to increase its user base lately and just passed 25 Million monthly users.
We will add uBlock Origin, which is an excellent blocker to a browser. That plugin is available to many different browsers and is blocking more than just ads. Perhaps we will drop in the next review Privacy Badger and Ad-Block in favor of this. Not so that they would not be good anymore, but because that this is just better.
Bitwarden is a password manager. We have selected Bitwarden here as it is open source, offers the possibility to keep it on-premises, and encrypts the content on the client-side so that the server/cloud provider doesn't have a chance to see or leak in accident working keys. Bitwarden is also available for most operating systems (Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, iOS) and many browsers as a plugin so that it is accessible for most of us. You can read this interview to get better insight to this.
Jitsi is free to use open-source video conference application and service, that offers end-to-end encryption. Anybody can use the free service (up to 50 participant). If that is not enough then dedicated servers are available against the payment to support thousands of users, or one can of course always install own server. Jitsi has been around for almost 20 years and has recently passed 20 million monthly users.
Framasoft is a French educational project and they have many "smaller" free and open source applications that you can use, like notes, calendar, etc. They are currently participating a big project for de-googling world. Good luck with that!
I case you would like to get even more suggestions about good application that respects your privacy, we can suggest that you will take a look to privacytools.io or prism-break.org.
Otherways you can just check our updated list of great services.
As always we are delighted to hear your comments on our picks, or your suggestions about the best other services/applications that are out there.
Login to leave comments