Google has launched what it’s calling Digital Wellbeing Experiments. These are apps designed to reduce your smartphone use. While installing more apps in order to spend less time on your phone sounds wrong, it actually makes perfect sense.
We’re all spending too much time on our smartphones. And that time spent mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, watching random videos on YouTube, and playing addictive mobile games could be put to much better use. Which is where Google comes in.
How to Try Google’s Digital Wellbeing Experiments
Google launched its Digital Wellbeing Experiments in a post on The Keyword. The initiative is described as “a platform to encourage designers and developers to build digital wellbeing into their products”. And the first five Android apps are as follows:
Unlock Clock: This is a Live Wallpaper that counts the number of times you unlock your phone in a day. You could try setting a limit to stop yourself from opening your phone at every opportunity.
Post Box: This app enables you to get your notifications delivered in batches at a time that suits you. This will help minimize distractions, and prevent you from checking your phone every five minutes.
We Flip: This is designed to help groups put their phones away and communicate with each other. You all join together and promise not to touch your phones. And as soon as someone does, the session ends.
Desert Island: This app makes you choose the apps that are the most important to you. Once chosen, your challenge is to go a full 24 hours only using those apps, and none of the other, more distracting apps.
Morph: This organizes your apps into different modes, such as Home and Work. Your phone will then automatically adapt to what you’re doing at that time, putting the apps you need front and center.
How to Create More Digital Wellbeing Experiments
These are just the first five Digital Wellbeing Experiments. However, Google is likely to produce more, and it’s also inviting developers and designers to create their own. You can get links to the Hack Pack and open source code on Experiments With Google.
We wholeheartedly recommend trying to spend less time on your smartphone. And if Google’s Digital Wellbeing Experiments help you do that, they’re a good idea. And if you can’t stand to use it less, at least learn how to use your smartphone more productively.