Google Apps to Help Reduce Phone Addiction

Joanna Estrada
January 24, 2020

"Many people feel that they spend too much time on their phones and struggle to find a balance with technology".

To help smartphone owners understand just how much time they spend on their devices each day and therefore control or even reduce this amount, Google has announced three new experimental digital well-being applications created to shock people into putting down their handset.

On Google Play in the 2019, users spent more than $1.1 billion in the top 100 grossing subscription apps on the platform, up 42% year-over-year from the $775 million spent in 2018. The template comes with "printed buttons" that "subtly light up" so users can make phone calls. On Android, it was less useful as the native Android app is far superior, and on ChromeOS it's a nice addition considering you do rely on Google Drive storage in ChromeOS. Yes, you'll need to print a physical piece of paper that you'll then fold into a little container for your Pixel 3a. After assembling and cutting it following the instructions, the user envelops the device and closes it with glue. This reduces the functionality of the phone which will be able to make and take calls, give you the time, and take photos and videos.

The counter stops when the phone is locked, as soon as the phone is unlocked, the user starts getting a ticking reminder from the home screen. For now, it only works for Google's Pixel 3a smartphone. However for now, it's only available for the Pixel 3a and there is no indication yet they will be making it available for other devices.

The company aims to limit the time they spend on their smart phones by providing users with a "guilt feeling"; Activity Bubbles tests apps called Envelope and Screen Stopwatch. The more you unlock and use your screen, the larger the bubbles will appear until they've taken over your screen's background.

Once activated, the Activity Bubble app will show a tiny bubble on your home screen. Your bubbles can be set as a live wallpaper so you can continually keep track of your screen time. It is a much better app than other of Google's digital wellbeing apps.

In the spirit of being an experiment, Google has released the code behind the Envelope app so developers can play with and implement it in their own projects.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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