Crowdcast is not based on Google, although it used to be:
However, it is still a proprietary technology (as is Zoom), which is less than ideal for our long term purposes. Cy from Crowdcast says so himself:
We always knew that you can’t build a long-term business on a platform you don’t own.
I don’t mind this, however, as long as we can download, archive, and host our video files after each meeting. That’s the thing we really need to “own” in the long run, imo.
The one promising open source video conferencing technology I’m aware of is called Jitsi:
In my initial tests of this service, however, I found it to be less than reliable, with no support options (it’s free, after all). Crowdcast support has been very good so far, when I’ve reported the above and other issues. One benefit of paying for a service is that you then become a customer, and not the “product,” as advertising-based business models (such as Google) would have us be.
I would suggest using Firefox if you’d like to steer clear of Google Chrome. Brave browser also looks promising, though I don’t have much experience with it yet.
We might also eventually consider moving to a fully open-source / self-hosted suite of tools for calendar, email, files, docs, etc. such as Sandstorm.io. But the web admin skills for setting up such a system are a bit beyond me.
I’m happy to report that our forum here is using independent, open-source tech, which is being very actively developed and is well-supported, and can be built upon and extended with new features, if we should so desire.
There are various other promising developments on the horizon in the world of open, cooperative tech. Here is one more organization I’m aware of: https://www.coops.tech/
I think it’s just a matter of building up our resources and organization and design clarity to assemble the tools we need into an integrative suite that provides a viable alternative to the behemoths of the current internet, for what we need. The Big 5 (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) will likely continue to consolidate their power and monopolize the Web, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a vigorous movement of decentralized creative alternatives. The Matrix may be ubiquitous, but it must never be allowed to become Total.