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Sunday, 3 November 2019

New Google Apps Here to Help Curb Screen Time



How many people in your immediate circle don’t own a smartphone? Probably very few.

Some use their smartphones for recreational purposes such as playing online blackjack or MMO games, while others utilize the tech to perform important tasks such as paying bills or shopping online.

But even the best things in our lives have the potential to become harmful in some way. Since smartphones became such an integral part of our society, people began to spend more time in front of screens – and that’s not always for the best.

According to the Screen Time Stats Report, most people spend over 3 hours on their phones every day. On average, smartphone users check their phones 58 times a day, mostly during working hours.

While some of the time you spend on your phone can be productive, it is rarely the case. How many times did you check your phone for no reason at all? It probably happens more often than you want to admit.

Psychologists state that shifting your attention between two tasks, even if you use your phone for less than a minute, can reduce your productivity by 40%. All the time you spend checking your social media or simply scrolling through one of your apps without a goal can turn out to be quite costly. So what can you do about that?

If you find it hard to stop yourself from picking up your phone every chance you’ve got, Google can help you to reduce your screen time. In the past, Google provided Android users with the chance to activate a set of digital wellbeing tools, including various filters and a Downtime mode.

But the company didn’t stop there, as this year they have launched a new project, called the Digital Wellbeing Experiments, which you can use on different occasions.

All You Need to Know About the Digital Wellbeing Experiments

Google’s new initiative includes six apps to start with, but the number can grow with time, as the project encourages people who are interested in the issue to come up with their ideas.

All the code is open-source, and the project managers supply a Hack Pack that includes useful information and tips that will allow you, and everyone with a good idea, to create their own experiments.

The current apps include the following:

  • Unlock Clock – Although not really an app, this experiment is more of an additional feature that will notify you of the number of times you unlock your phone. Once you install it, the clock will become a part of your wallpaper, reminding you that you should check your phone less often.
  • Post Box – Remember the time when you used to get mail approximately once a day? Neither do we, but Google does. The app is designed to stop you from getting distracted by notifications from your apps every couple of minutes. Post Box will allow you to set a time in which you’d want to get all the notifications at once. You will be able to schedule those notifications to appear up to four times a day.
  • We Flip – As one of the more entertaining experiments of the bunch, We Flip is a social game you can play with your friends. The app is designed to be used during social gatherings, allowing you to switch your phones off simultaneously and enjoy your time together. The first person to unlock his phone will deactivate the app for all participants.
  • Paper Phone – Are you reluctant to shut off your phone because it holds valuable information? With the help of this app, you will be able to print a user-friendly version of all the information you need, including your contacts, calendar appointments, directions, and more.
  • Morph – For those of you who get distracted by various apps whenever you unlock your phone, the Morph app might be helpful. The experiment will allow you to break your day off into smaller units like work, travel, home, and more. You will be able to choose which apps will appear in every unit, so you will only have access to the necessary apps at specific hours of the day.
  • Desert Island – If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would you bring with you? The new app will allow you to choose only seven apps to show on your screen. Although you can still access all your other apps when necessary, they won’t be on constant display, so you won’t be as inclined to use them regularly. The app will also monitor your smartphone use, informing you of how often you use the hidden apps.

In Conclusion

Google now offers Android users a unique opportunity to stop using their smartphones unnecessarily. Do you think any of those apps will be beneficial to you?

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