We should all strive to use our phone a bit less. Or at least be mindful of the fact that phones have become both an integral and dominating force of our lives. Google, with its billion-plus Android users around the world, realizes that it has a significant role to play in this phenomenon. And it wants to use that force for good. One of the offbeat and unexpected themes of Google I/O 2018 was the announcement of a new company initiative called "digital wellbeing" — the idea that by quantifying and informing people of how long they're spending with technology, they can potentially reduce the problems caused by heavy use. A substantial portion of the lead keynote was devoted to new features in Android P that help you limit your addiction (my word, not theirs) to your phone — ways to reduce notifications, stop unnecessary interactions, limit visual disturbances and make it easier to get information you need in a shorter amount of time. The best example of this is the … [Read more...] about Google’s ‘digital wellbeing’ initiative feels incomplete and insincere
Google’s annual I/O conference brought no shortage of the futuristic, wiz-bang ideas that we’ve come to expect from the company. We saw artificial intelligence that can call your salon for you, augmented-reality directions for Google Maps, and self-driving cars that can navigate in a snowstorm. But Google also pitched a curveball in the form of Digital Wellbeing, a suite of features designed to help you use your phone less. A new dashboard will show you how much time you’re burning in different apps, and let you set limits on the biggest time wasters. Setting your phone face down will now activate a “shush” mode that turns off all notifications. At night, your phone can enter a “wind down” mode where everything appears black and white, coaxing you to set it down and sleep. So is Google really interesting in liberating us from the digital shackles wrapped around our ankles, or is this a feel-good sham from the same company that wants to put … [Read more...] about DT Debates: Can Google save us from ourselves, or is Digital Wellbeing a sham?
On a recent vacation, Sameer Samat was settling into his hotel when his partner asked to see his phone. As he handed it over, she promptly walked to the hotel safe and locked it inside. Then she looked him straight in the eyes. “You get this back when we leave in seven days.” At first, Samat felt angry. Is a person without a phone even a person, or just a collection of atoms itching for its electronic limb? But his anger dissolved after a few hours, and then—like magic—he actually felt relieved. Freed from the distraction of his phone, he could relax and enjoy his vacation. Samat, by the way, is Google’s VP for Android and Google Play. He shared this story onstage yesterday at Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, to prove a point: Samat holds the keys to Android, the most widely used mobile operating system in the world, and even he thinks phones are toxic. Google, like much of Silicon Valley, is awakening to a new movement. Technology's … [Read more...] about Google and the Rise of ‘Digital Wellbeing’
Democracy Dies in Darkness Sections Home Try 1 month for $1 Username Sign In Account Profile Newsletters & Alerts Gift Subscriptions Contact Us Help Desk Subscribe Account Profile Newsletters & Alerts Gift Subscriptions Contact Us Help Desk Accessibility for screenreader The Switch by Hayley Tsukayama by Hayley Tsukayama Email the author May 8 Email the author Trystan Upstill speaks about Google News at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., on May 8. (Jeff Chiu/AP) MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google’s annual developer conference is normally a relentlessly positive cheerleading session to excite developers to create products for the company and its Android operating system. But this year, there is a hint of a more serious tone as the company discusses creating technology that is not simply innovative, but also responsible. The theme of the company’s annual … [Read more...] about From ‘pretty please’ mode to Digital Wellbeing, Google unveils tech with a responsible message
You would think that Google wants you on your phone as much as possible. That's where it can sell you ads and services in order to make money — that's its bread and butter. Yet Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a surprising announcement at Google I/O today. Upcoming new features in Android are going to help you get away from your phone and spend more time by yourself or with your family. As Sundar so nicely put it, Google thinks JOMO could be better for us than FOMO — that's the "joy of missing out" rather than "fear." New features aimed at maintaining a healthy 'digital wellbeing' work to understand our habits, focus on just the important stuff, switch off at the end of the day, and find time for socializing away from the screen. The Android Dashboard will give you an overview of how you're spending time on your device, including how much time you're devoting to certain apps, how many times you unlock your phone and how many notifications you're getting. When you notice … [Read more...] about Android Dashboard, App Timer, Wind Down, and new Do Not Disturb features will help look after your digital wellbeing