Several months after Google introduced the Digital Wellbeing suite for the Google Pixel and Android One handsets, the search giant recently began the rollout of the feature to other Android smartphones, beginning with the Moto G7 lineup.
The deployment of this feature comes several months after its debut last August alongside the launch of Android 9 Pie. The search giant noted that it is working with other manufacturers to introduce the functionality to more handsets in the coming months, although it did not provide any specific timeline for the rollout of the feature to other devices.
Digital Wellbeing is a feature that helps people understand how they use their smartphones. Several applications and features baked into the Android operating system comprise Google's wellness suite, and these components aim to help users better balance their handset use and focus their attention more on other activities.
Digital Wellbeing uses artificial intelligence to supply predictive action suggestions like Slices and App Actions. These features help decrease smartphone usage by reducing the time needed to accomplish tasks. The wellness suite also includes an App Timer, which allows users to assign limits on how much they could use an application. Once users exceed the time limit, the operating system will not allow people to open the application unless they override the alert pushed by Digital Wellbeing.
Moreover, the Wind Down functionality included with Digital Wellbeing changes the colors displayed by the smartphone to grayscale after the time specified by the user, while the enhanced Do Not Disturb mode eliminates both audio and visual distractions that could prevent people from focusing at the activity at hand. Google noted that people who took advantage of this feature have better control over their handset usage since these users now have a better understanding of their dependence on their mobile devices.
Recent reports further show that Google is working to improve Digital Wellbeing by enhancing its monitoring of the smartphone use of consumers. For example, recent changes in the Chrome code repository shows that Google will integrate Digital Wellbeing with Google Chrome in the upcoming version of the Android operating system, Android Q.
This integration will allow the feature to accurately track how users access online services through the mobile browser, and it will also allow people to set limits on how much time they can spend on a specific website. To alleviate privacy concerns, Google will not allow other applications to see the data it pulls from Digital Wellbeing’s integration with Chrome. However, users may bypass the limits they set for themselves by accessing the websites in incognito mode. Aside from improving the features of the Digital Wellbeing suite, this integration also suggests that devices running Chrome OS may also take advantage of this feature soon.
The development of additional features and the expanded availability of the Digital Wellbeing suite shows Google’s commitment to the functionality, and the rollout of the feature to other devices will help more users balance the way they handle their devices. However, given the track record of manufacturers on updating their devices, it may take several months before other smartphones receive this feature.