Running Your BlackBerry Priv Without Google


I know what you’re saying. “Dave, are you nuts? It’s an Android phone! How can you be running your BlackBerry Priv without the all seeing all knowing “Eye of Sauron” known as Google?”

Well, I’m pretty close to avoiding Google apps, here’s what I’m using instead.


As anyone who’s seen my articles in the past, and/or those that know me understand, I am no fan of Google and their incessant never-ending quest to hoover up as much of my personal information as they possibly can. It has pissed me off for years. Because of that I have banned them from my desktop search engine and of course used BlackBerry mobile devices for many years. I have a soft spot for a company that holds my desire for privacy close to their heart. Thanks BlackBerry!

So what about the Priv? Well, let’s look at all the Google apps in the picture above one by one shall we?

Google Now.

I don’t use it. I haven’t opened it except to call one friend once whilst driving using the voice command number (999-555-1234) in my car. For you BB10 fans, yes this works on the Priv too. Anyway, I don’t want my voice searches on Google’s servers.

Chrome Browser.

I immediately changed the default search engine to Duckduckgo. Further to that though I have made my default browser to be Dolphin Browser instead of Chrome, and yes Duckduckgo is the search engine.


Nope, don’t use it. I have a gmail address of course to access Gplay but that’s it. Zero communications go through that account for me and the app is unused. The Hub is it for me.

Google Maps.

Nope, another unused app. I use Navmii instead. I tried many free 3rd party Navigation apps. Most of them wanted stupid amounts of app permissions, or were hobbled. Navmii is the extension of Navfree on BB10. It uses offline maps powered by OpenStreetMaps, so my data plan thanks me. If I stick with the Priv as a daily driver I’ll shell out for Mireo Don’t Panic as it is a winner for me on BB10 as well.


Sorry, I cave. I use this all the time as does most of the planet. Can’t help it… carry on.

Google Drive.

Don’t need it even though they want to give you 15gb to sign in. And thankfully my company doesn’t use Google Docs either. I use Dropbox, Box, Onedrive, and Mega for cloud storage, and I use Microsoft Office apps instead of Google document apps.

Google Play Music, Movies and TV.

Sorry Google, no dice here either. I have hundreds of songs on my SD card (thanks BlackBerry), and I have a rather extensive (and growing) playlist on Spotify. Nobex for my podcast and radio needs round it out. For Movies and TV I have Netflix.

Google Hangouts.

Well admittedly we use it for our blogcasts, but I haven’t used it on the Priv. Not yet anyway. Maybe I will if I have to do a remote cast but until then the icon on the Priv remains a virgin.

Google Photos.

Google bought Picasa eleven years ago and after I learned more about what Google’s business model was/is I dumped it. I have my photos automatically uploading to Box as a backup instead. I haven’t bothered with image editing on the Priv yet but there are a veritable cornucopia to choose from.

Google News and Weather.

I couldn’t care less about the news that Google wants to feed me. I get my news from more traditional methods such as radio and TV. That’s not to say I don’t read online news from the likes of CBC or other sources, just not Google. For weather I chose The Weather Network. It only wants my location, and it’s only checked my location the 16 times I’ve opened the app. Perfect.

So as you can see, there is life in Android without Sauron Google. I’ve been quite successful in creating a mobile environment very similar to my BB10 handsets.

That reminds me… BlackBerry 10 is a much better operating system than Android is. The Priv is the best Android because you get a good chunk of the Hub, both a VKB and a PKB, and DTEK to guide you to what NOT to do.

But BB10 rules.

I said it, and it feels good.



Dave Matthews here. I'm a phone guy by trade supplying VOIP systems for business and industry. BlackBerry devices, playing PRS guitars in my band, golf, and RC flight are my current passions.