Google has announced a new projects meant to get you out in the real world and away from your smartphone.
The new apps are designed by Google’s Digital Wellbeing Experiments arm to make your Pixel 3a barely functional. An app called "Envelope" involves sticking your phone into an envelope, sealing it, and using it only as a camera or a basic keypad to dial numbers. The second, Screen Stopwatch, transforms your home screen into a giant timer every time you unlock your phone—it’s supposed to make you more aware of your phone usage. And the last, Activity Bubbles, represents your activity in bubble shapes. The longer the session, the bigger the bubbles; the more the sessions, the more bubbly your home screen.
By sealing your phone and making it harder to use, you’re cutting out any potential side jaunts into Instagram. Measuring the time you spend on your phone isn’t a new concept but it certainly helps to quantify the time you spend on a screen.
The Digital Wellbeing Experiments are supposed to be “a collection of ideas and tools that help people find a better balance with technology.”