I don’t think “hiding from google” was a big consideration for most users (like me) when Sailfish launched 8 years ago. The superior user interface, and Linux experience was what drew me in - or rather made me continue over from the N9.
Over the years i have come to appreciate the unobtrusiveness of SFOS. Very limited in-app nagging of account this and EULA that, no sticky notifications about BS, no ads, and so on and so forth. But 8 years ago this was not really that bad on the other platforms either, but they have devolved into some sort of dystopian parody of themselves since. The same story goes for desktop OS:es; only after i went Linux more or less for fun has the train-wreck that is Windows 8, 10 and 11 happened. Now i could never go back.
There is definitely overlap here, with the tracking and “spying” as the ugly backside - i am however more concerned with the upfront terrible user experience personally.
I have a google account, heck i’m even logged in in the native browser. I use a couple of Android apps, no google ones, but mostly because they don’t work properly.
The reason i don’t use any of the newfangled messenger services is because they all seem pretty terrible, and the world doesn’t seem to be able to agree on a single one.
A phone that is basically completely silent network-wise (apart from what you want it to do) didn’t use to be a feature, it was called common sense/decency. The UI may perhaps no longer be objectively better (competition has evolved), but i definitely prefer it.