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I bought a Nexus 4. It's my first Android device, and I'm really disappointed at how this thing is a complete intrusion of my privacy and online behavior. Just in upgrading the default applications that came with the device, it seems like Google can literally do whatever it wants with my personal information. Every single Google app seems to require every permission under the sun.

One of the things that really bothers me is Google looking at my Google+ stuff and pulling it in for other applications. When I'm browsing the Google Play store for an application, I don't like that I see friends comments on products I'm looking at. Conversely, I don't necessarily want my friends to see a review I write for an application or book or whatever the case may be. How can I disable this? If I try to disable the Google+ application from Settings, I'm warned that I may break a bunch of important stuff that depends on it. Google Play is an important application.

I feel like this is all so crazy. I don't want this level of integration because its impossible to manage. My previous device was an old iPhone and everything was cleanly sandboxed. Here, Google unifies everything. I search for a certain kind of product or TV show or whatever and I get a bunch of Play Store recommendations for the same thing. This is messed up.

Can I get rid of all the social stream integration crap Google has infested the Play app with? Can I get rid of all social integration altogether?

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No, not easily. one of the side-effects of using Google services, is that all the Google services link together in the back-ground. This can be incredibly useful in some cases (if I Google for a bar's address on my desktop PC, my phone will later offer me directions and estimated travel time to that bar on a Google Now card). Some can be spooky.

Having said that there are ways around this, the easiest is that just because you have an Android phone, doesn't mean you're limited to using Google's services, one of the strengths of Android is all the choices you have:

  • You could get your apps from Amazon's App Store, instead of the Play Store
  • You could sync your mail, contacts and calendar with an IMAP server, instead of GMail, or you could install Yahoo's apps or Microsoft's apps and use those instead.

Or alternatively you could create a second Google account, add it to your phone and use that account for the apps/services that you'd rather keep separate from the apps/services that you use "as you". Have a look through the tag for some hints on how to set up another account and swap apps from using one account to another.

  • Thanks for the helpful reply. It's crazy how aggressive the service integration is. – Pris Jul 17 '13 at 14:16
  • How do I remove all the google services? I don't use Google now or any of that stuff – Jonathan Jun 25 '15 at 22:46
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You might also want to look at other free replacements to Google apps. The Android fork Replicant has a list of them, e.g.:

Many more listed there.

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