Antisocial

My continuing struggle to get the almighty Google at arms length…

Maps has been one of those applications that just seemed impossible to replace. The investment required to pull together and maintain all that map data… never going to happen. And then:

OpenStreetMap.org, which has a bunch of alternative map providers, and can be updated (to what extent, i’m not really sure) by users. The UI is using the tiled ‘drag to scroll’ metaphor that seems to be the current state of the art for mapping. It’s probably not yet the answer if you’re in Japan (the maps are there, but the search doesn’t seem to cope with kanji input), but maybe someone will take an interest and tidy things up.

The other recent experiment is ixQuick. A European search engine, that has a proper privacy policy, and offers some interesting proxying options. The last time i played with it, several years ago, it’s search results weren’t up to much. Looking at them now, it would appear to be better than DuckDuckGo, and maybe as useful as Google when they were focused on general search. As with every alternative, it’s not as fast as Google but it’s bearable. Sub-second search just isn’t worth that much to me i guess…

Finally, Glims gives me a way to change the default search provider, and configure other search providers as needs. The install is also rather nice as it gives you an option that installs only the bits you might be interested it. This is good as Glims seems to be one of those ‘do *everything*!!’ plugins.