Google Play Services is a proprietary background service and API package for Android devices from Google. When first introduced in 2012, it provided simple access to the Google+ APIs and OAuth 2.0, but since then it has expanded to cover a large variety of Google’s services, allowing applications to easily communicate with the services through common means. As of April 2018, it has been installed more than five billion times on Android devices.
The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was announced in 2007 and has functioned as the baseline system for all OEMs and firmware modifications such as CyanogenMod and Lineage OS. Various apps from AOSP are abandoned and instead released on Google Play with a closed-source model. Many apps only function with Google Play Services available (such as many of the Google apps like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps). Any party interested in distributing Google Play Services as a part of the Google apps package must acquire a license from Google, which often results in a contractual agreement locking the manufacturer into Android.
Recently, the US administration placed the brand on the ‘entity list’, limiting the business US brands could do with it. This directly resulted in Google stopping all business with Huawei which further means that Huawei lost its Android licence and can no longer use the Google apps and services in its future device, though it can still use the AOSP to develop its EMUI skin. Keeping this thing in mind, let us analyse if we can live without Google Apps and Services.
My Life Without Google Apps And Services
First of all, I needed a phone devoid of all Google apps and services so I picked up a 4-year-old Yu Yuphoria powered by Snapdragon 410 and 2 GB of RAM and flashed the Lineage OS 16 based on Android Pie but did not flash the Google Apps Package.
Following are the replacement for Google Apps and Services:
- Google Play Store: APK Mirror (Web Content)
- Google: DuckDuckGo
- Chrome: Brave Browser
- Gmail: Microsoft Outlook
- Google Drive: Microsoft Onedrive
- Google Docs, Sheets and Slides: WPS Office
- Google Assistant: Microsoft Cortana
- Google Photos: F-Stop Gallery
- Google Maps: Bing Maps (Web Content)
- Google Translate: Microsoft Translator
- Messages: SMS Organiser
I tried many alternatives but could not find an apt replacement for Youtube that could be mentioned here so I instead resorted using Youtube from Brave Browser without logging in to my Gmail account.
Open Camera was my default camera application and I used the default calculator, calendar, clock, music and dialer apps that come with Lineage OS. In case you do not want web-based access to apps like for the Play Store and Maps alternative, you can try out Aptoide as the replacement for the Google Play Store and Waze as the replacement for Google Maps.
Here is my summary of life without Google Apps and Services:
My life went quite smooth for most of the time. It is next to impossible to find an alternative for the experience that the Google Play Store and Google Assistant provide. Browser, email and other similar stuff could easily shift to a different app. And by making this shift, I realized that Microsoft has some great apps on the Android side of things which have the potential to be the Google Apps Suite replacement.
In the end, answering the question if we can live without Google Apps, my answer is yes we can definitely live without it. A couple of weeks from the day of transition may be tough but one can surely get used to it sooner than expected.
I hope this article works the way it is intended to be. Let us know your thoughts on this topic. In case I missed mentioning something or if there is some topic which you want me to cover, let me know in the comments section down below.