Google plans to introduce new measures for Android designed to improve the frequency of phone engagement during this year's Google I/O developer conference, according to a new report out of The Washington Post which credits an unnamed source for the information. Specifically, Google will announce a 'new set of controls' with an aim for Android users to better manage the time they spend on an Android device. These controls will reportedly not only be aimed at individuals, but also families as a whole.
While on its own this will be interesting, the point the new report makes is how Google will use this year's event to focus on the wider issue of responsibility, compared to last year's Google developer conference which came with a much greater focus on the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The report does not go into specifics on this year's event and so it remains unclear how much of the keynote will be dedicated to the concept of responsibility, though the suggestion is it will be an important part of the event overall. On the topic of the new controls, Google already does offer one tool in the form of 'Family Link.' The app for this went live in early 2017 and looks to provide greater parental control over accounts accessed by younger users, such as the ability to set a bedtime and/or manage apps on a device. However, the current report specifically picks up on the existence of Family Link with the suggestion the new controls are different, and not necessarily a direct extension.
Although aspects like AI are reportedly going to take a backseat compared to a responsibility theme, the same report does make it clear AI will still be one of the main talking points during the keynote with Google set to announce recent improvements to Google Assistant, as well as new publisher tools specifically designed with Google Assistant in mind. As a reminder, Google I/O 2018 starts tomorrow and runs through until May 10, although many of the grander announcements are expected to come through during the company's keynote presentation – scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. PDT