The alarming use of mobile technology is becoming an integral part of our lives. As such it is no longer a secret that we’re addicted to our smartphones for one reason or the other. And, this addiction is getting even stronger with each passing day.

Google’s Wellbeing: Your New Virtual Guardian?

Right from clicking selfies to playing music all day, we just cannot imagine our lives without those rectangular LED-lit gadgets.

Ever wondered though, what if there could be some technology that can guide users through their mobile technology usage patterns – an app which would help users track their time spent online – an intelligent system with which users can know if they have been overusing their smartphones at given time – and so on.

Well, Google is here with all the answers and much more!

At the recently held I/O, the tech giant unveiled its latest offering — Google Digital Wellbeing.

Wellbeing is more than just an app or a feature. It is a life-changing concept that identifies, accepts, and resolves the various problems associated with mobile technology usage.

Why is Google into this?

A Google initiative, Wellbeing aims to address the soaring mobile-related concerns in today’s society. Wherein, the use of smartphones and social media is doubling. Users cannot help but update their walls with photos of what they had for breakfast to kitten-napping videos! They prefer to get online and post every other life story as it takes place.

According to Google, technology should be used up to the extent that it must complement and not hinder one’s lifestyle. With smartphones demanding most of our productive time, Google looks forward to helping us get back to what’s more important to us — our lives!

With the Wellbeing concept, Google wants us to overcome mental health issues such as depression, which has been directly related to overuse of smartphones – especially among teenagers.

What Wellbeing does?

It is evident that humans are in full control of their emotions and feelings. However, not all are aware that they themselves are responsible for riding the emotional rollercoaster of life.

Google wants to enlighten the same idea and help smartphone enthusiasts turn away from their addiction. For this, incredible apps, services, and features have been built on the lines of Android. Here’s how it’ll help transform and simplify your life:

Smart Dashboard – A part of Android P, the dashboard gives a gist of the overall time spent on using the phone, time spent in switching between apps, and no. of notifications from certain apps, etc. All the data is presented across various time periods, providing comprehensive details regarding apps interested in and time.

Virtual Guardian – Now that you know which apps consume more of your time, Wellbeing can be used to compensate it for you. This is when the virtual guardian feature comes into the picture and lets you set time limits while restricting your app usage to particular times. So when the limit is hit, the app’s icon looks ‘deactivated’ and is no more accessible.

DND Upgraded – Those notifications popping up everytime can be really annoying sometimes. Moreover, they also distract when in midst of something very important. The upgraded Do Not Disturb mode lets you hide all notifications.

Wind Down – This brand new feature lets you automatically turn on grayscale filter as and when preferred. Google has designed the grayscale filter to minimize eye strain – helping you get better sleep at night.

Also, when your phone goes grayscale, psychologically you wouldn’t be urged to access your phone – given the absence of “colors” which usually attract the brain cells.

Oreo-based Notifications

Users can easily turn off notifications for particular apps in Android 8.0 Oreo update. The feature lets users bifurcate as to which category of notifications should be enabled and which ones to keep disabled. Like for instance, if you want, you can go for being notified only for direct inbox messages on Facebook.

Prioritize notifications by setting the no. of alerts you’re supposed to receive when something new occurs. Wellbeing as well distinguishes notifications i.e. lighter colors for less important stuffs and a combination of both sound and vibration for more critical apps/ notifications.

Wellbeing-powered Tools by Google

Now let’s see which tools from the IT giant have been powered with the Wellbeing feature. Youtube is one of the first example of apps by Google that provide precise data and controls suggesting your app usage. It shows you for how long you’ve been watching a particular video.  

Besides, Gmail and Inbox are equipped with even cooler Wellbeing features like bundled notifications, smart replies, and priority-based inboxes. Then there’s Google Photos which works on artificial intelligence-based library management system that lets you organize your photo albums in a logically proper way!

Wellbeing – a privacy intruder?

Google Wellbeing has already garnered criticisms of sorts amidst various advantages. While most users are happy to have an assistant to keep track of their online activities, others are wary that their privacy is at stake. A majority of users did not seem to be welcoming of their ‘digital nanny’.

In fact, several questions have been raised on how Google is trying to invade user privacy by gatecrashing into their phones and apps. After all, to what extent Google is respecting its ethics and user activity details?

The bottomline – How Wellbeing is beneficial for you?

Well, your Wellbeing is all up to you. It’s on you how you choose to make use of the products and services that you own. All Google is doing is just providing the necessary tools and features, which it thinks can make difference to the lives of the users.

Ultimately though, you’re in control of your life and the mobile technology surrounding you. So, if you choose to devote more of your time ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ your loved ones’ posts all day long, and that gives you happiness, well then, you’re good to go ahead!