Google App Teardown Reveals Digital Wellbeing For Assistant

Google is looking to extend the Digital Wellbeing initiative to its Google Assistant AI-powered Home devices, based on new changes spotted in a recent teardown of the Google app APK. For the time being, the changes appear to be mostly at the surface level. That's because there aren't really any further details available via the teardown itself and the unenabled changes aren't necessarily in working order yet. With that said, the settings page itself has now been split into 'Personal Info,' 'Assistant,' 'Services,' and 'Home' tabs and new headings and subheadings associated with the Digital Wellbeing initiative appear in the Home tab. That suggests that, at very least, Google Home will be seeing new features. Meanwhile, those seem to be dividable into at least two individual settings categories under a new "Digital Wellbeing" heading. The new sub-headings are labeled 'Filters' and 'Downtime.'

However, it may be possible to speculate about what those will control with consideration for how the search giant has implemented the initiative elsewhere. Digital Wellbeing will be a major part of Android 9 Pie at the system level and has already found its way into Google Calendar and YouTube. In general, the features and settings associated with the program are intended to help users with self-imposed device or service usage limits. So it's fairly obvious that Downtime will allow users to set exact timeframes where Google Assistant, including Google Home devices and maybe other Assistant-linked hardware, will be unavailable. That might even be settable by voice-match to prevent specific household members from using the device during those times or allow limited to only specific types of functionality. Filters, on the other hand, will almost certainly be used to help users place direct parameters around what Assistant features can or cannot be accessed and may go further to let users set time constraints on those.

Of course, the existence of the UI changes in an APK doesn't mean they'll ever show up on the user side of things. That doesn't necessarily seem likely, however. Google has been taking the Digital Wellbeing initiative very seriously as the company looks to address combined concerns stemming from the overuse of technology and addiction. It's also not clear whether Assistant the features will apply to both Google Home and Assistant since the latter of those have their own settings page and tab.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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