We all know someone who uses their smartphone a little too often, whether it's a relentless barrage of selfies sent through Snapchat or an inability to log off social media in general. To combat this, Google introduced its Digital Wellbeing initiative at its most recent I/O event. It mostly consists of providing tools for users to monitor how much time they spend on their phones and watching YouTube videos, and some of the features are headed to Google Home and the Google Assistant.
"We’re dedicated to building technology that is truly helpful for everyone. We’re creating tools and features that help people better understand their tech usage, focus on what matters most, disconnect when needed, and create healthy habits for the whole family. We’re committed to giving everyone the tools they need to develop their own sense of digital wellbeing. So that life, not the technology in it, stays front and center," Google says.
The port to Google Home and Google Assistant was discovered in an APK breakdown by 9To5Google of Google app 8.20. What they found was an option for Digital Wellbeing within Google Assistant, and specifically in a redesign to Assistant settings that rearranges settings into four tabs. They also found that Google is renaming "Family Tools" to "Digital Wellbeing" with new filters to wrangle usage.
There are tools for limiting what kids can search for and play, and a "Downtime" feature that can block certain users from using Google Home at nighttime. It does this by blocking specific voices from activating features, similar to the Wind Down setting in Android Pie.
"In addition to helping you find answers quicker and get places sooner, we’re also building tools that help you avoid daily distractions and look at your devices less," Google says of its Digital Wellbeing initiative.
It's not clear when exactly these new features will be available. However, it's interesting to see Google looking to actively help users disconnect once in a while. Whether people will take advantage of the Digital Wellbeing tools remains to be seen.