I’ve picked a few website alternatives (as in, no apps) that you can use if you want more privacy. The picked alternatives might not be the most privacy options, but shouldn’t degrade your experience as an user of them all too much. This is meant to mostly be a resource that can be shared to friends if they want to improve their privacy situation without giving up much convenience. Since there usually are even better alternatives in terms of privacy, but those solutions tend to sacrifice convenience.
Google is currently the king of search, and also terrible for privacy. DuckDuckGo is a good alternative if you just want to escape google.
Even better though would be searx (repo) for example, which describes itself as a “Privacy-respecting metasearch engine”. So basically in simplified terms it’s a search engine that uses other search engines as it’s source. It’s self-hostable and open source, so you know how little spying or tracking it does unlike with the closed-source alternatives.
Youtube, also from Google/Alphabet, is where most videos online go. If you are only uploading videos and don’t care about discoverability, you could just use Peertube (repo) for example, which is federated.
Invidious (repo) is also decent, but I’ve issues with it quite often. For example HSL video playback quality not following my preferences at all, or needing to switch instances often due to one instance just not working for some reason.
With translate most people turn to Google as well. There are decent alternatives, but the answer to “what is the best translator” depends on the languages you want to translate.
Simply Translate (repo) has support for Google translate and also LibreTranslate (repo), which is fully open source. It’s simple and doesn’t require JS, it supports a fully open source translation engine, and even links to the audio files from GTranslate when using it.
Now I’m not too keen on the big social media platforms. If you want an actually decent recommendation, switch to Mastodon (repo), which is a de-centralized (federated) twitter-like experience. Meaning no single company or organization controls everything, and the instance admins get to choose their own rules and block instances that they want. Meaning the software itself might allow nazis on there, but if you pick a decent instance, your admins have probably already blocked their instances so you don’t need to deal with it all.
Reddit made their site pretty unusable and user hostile with the redesign. Luckily there’s a couple of decent alternatives for it: Teddit (repo) and Libreddit (repo). They both seem pretty similar, and I don’t have enough experience with either to say yet which one works better in my opinion.
The answer is whatever you can get your friends to switch to.
Signal is easy to use, free, and secure. But then it’s centralized and the server side code is not open source, and it requires a phone number. Telegram isn’t really secure at all by default. But at least it’s better than Facebook or Google having your data. And it does contain the secret chat mode which is somewhat secure at least, but very rarely actually used due to lack of support.
If you can, get your friends to switch over to Matrix (repos). It’s got decent security options, it’s de-centralized & federated, and all the code is open source. It also has loads of bridges and integrations to other services, meaning you can for example talk in gitter rooms directly from matrix. The downside of matrix is is that it’s nowhere close signal or telegram in convenience & ease of use, at the very least for non-techy users.
If you don’t want to deal with file conflicts of syncthing and are just going to use some commercial providers, at least choose something with client side encryption.
Git: Use email. Joking joking, giving up the fancy UI isn’t acceptable… Unless you want to get both, with SourceHut (repo). If not keen on email or minimalism or the UNIX philosophy though, I’d recommend Gitea (repo) since it’s way easier to get setup and has more features.