Do you find it difficult to keep your hands and eyes off of your electronic devices? Google launched a set of digital wellbeing experiments designed to assist Android users when it comes to their use of electronic devices.
The three new experiments, Screen Stopwatch, Activity Bubbles, and Envelope, help users better understand their phone usage, the time they spend on their phone, and help transform the phone into a simpler device that has limited uses.
The first two applications can be installed on Android devices. Screen Stopwatch is a basic counter that counts the seconds, minutes, and hours that the phone has been in use. To hammer the fact home, it displays the count directly on the device so that it cannot be missed.
Activity Bubbles follows a similar path but displays usage in a different way. Instead of displaying usage time, it displays bubbles. One bubble for every unlock to be precise. The active bubble gets bigger the longer the phone is used without it being locked.
Envelope, finally, may sound like an early April 1st joke. The application, available only for Google Pixel 3a devices currently, provides print templates to create phone envelopes. The phone is placed inside and functionality is limited significantly because of that. Different envelopes are available, e.g. one for calling and checking the time, another for recording video or taking photos.
Nothing is preventing the owner of the device from opening the envelope and getting the phone out; a solution with a timed lock would probably better in this case but way more expensive.
Google has published a video that demonstrate the functionality.
The Digital Wellbeing Experiments website lists other experiments that Android users can subscribe to. There is Paper Phone, which creates a paper version of a phone to carry around, or Desert Island which limits use to a certain number of essential applications.
The use of electronic devices is on the rise and it is clear that it impacts the quality of life for some. Whether these applications may be helpful remains to be seen as they require that users show initiative and install these applications on their devices to get started.
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