Google announced that they would be building digital wellness tools right into the latest version of Android 10 for their Pixel phones.
In the past few weeks, Google has made it clear that manufacturers would have to ship their devices with digital wellness tools that will help manage usage.
With all the hard work they’re doing, you’d think they’d take a break as the world comes to terms with just how addicted they are to their phones. Yet the software giant is far from done in the Digital Wellness space.
What is Google’s Digital Wellbeing?
Google’s Digital Wellbeing is a set of tools that you can use “to place limits on when and how your Google Home devices are used.”
You can use Filters to place limits on how your family members use Google Home. Through this feature, you could also, for example, block music with explicit lyrics.
In addition, you can use the Downtime feature to “take a break”. Once Google Home is in downtime, it will not respond to most questions or commands, and you won’t receive any notifications.
How Google’s Digital Wellbeing tools are evolving
The Google Creative Labs team is still innovating in the space. They are now releasing their experiments for the world to try by launching apps that will work on a variety of phones with most only needing Android 8.0 Oreo to work.
There are five apps out at the moment, and while you might struggle to find them in the app store, you should be able to use the included links if you want to give them a try.
Five Digital Wellbeing apps
Unlock Clock is the first app out. This app won’t win any awards for creativity in the app naming department, but it could end up being voted the scariest.
This app will basically just sit on your desktop and show you a counter of the number of times you’ve unlocked your phone. Having tried a few digital wellness tools that tracked unlocks before, be prepared to be very surprised.
We Flip is a more social tool. The idea of this app is to get people off their phone during social gatherings such as in restaurants or coffee shops. This app will use Nearby Permissions to keep you and your buddies accountable.
Everyone in the group will flip their phones over face down at the same time with the app running and the first person to flip their phone will end the session, and hopefully, pay the bill or buy the next round.
Post Box will stop your phone from bothering you incessantly and unexpectedly during the day. The app will bundle your messages and deliver them at regular intervals. Post Box will allow up to four delivery times during the day.
This might not be the best solution if your wife is about to go into labour or your job requires you to be in contact constantly, but for everyone else, this will take control of our phones.
The reactive checking of your phone every time it makes a sound and lights up is one of the biggest reasons we end up checking our phones constantly as we crave the stimulus. This will help you take back a bit of the control.
Morph helps you customise your phone around your lifestyle. You’ll be able to set up modes that only give you access to specific groupings of apps.
What’s more, while the mode is active, you’ll only receive notifications for apps that are part of that mode.
Desert Island asks the question we all dread:
“If you could only choose seven apps to take with you to a desert island, what would they be?”
You’re asked to choose your seven apps, and at the end of the day, you get a summary of how well you managed to stick to your first choice apps; as well as how much time you’ve spent on other apps.