Google's plan to make tech less addictive

Published May 16, 2018 | Written by Jeremy Knight

Last week I collected an A1 picture frame from a gallery in town, and having underestimated just how big that was I walked the 10 minutes from the office to the shop. As I struggled back to the office with the cumbersome load, it struck me how many people were walking along on their smart phones. Three people walked straight into me because they couldn't take their eyes off their phones and I was unable to dodge them. 

It does bother me just how addicted we are to our tech. Me included. If I leave my phone at home, I feel lost. Usually, the first thing I do in the morning is to reach for my smartphone (it is also my alarm clock - see what they did there).

With this in mind, the headline of the article below caught my attention. Google has announced an initiative called Digital Wellbeing to help with tech addiction after 70% of users have asked for help balancing their digital lives. 

Google's upcoming Android P operating system is introducing three great features to help us break–or at least, better manage–our screen addictions.


With a feature called Shush, Android P will automatically silence your calls and notifications when you flip your phone over, screen side down. 


You set Wind Down when you’d like to go to bed, and Android P will shift into a grey-scale palette that takes some of that slot machine-style delight out of your phone.


Android P will have a personalised data visualisation of your actual phone usage, from how many times you checked it in a day, to how many push notifications you received.

Despite being a self-confessed Apple fan, I can't dispute these are great features and a step in the right direction to a healthier relationship with our phones.


We know that our smartphones are making us unhappy. At its annual developer’s conference this week, Google revealed that 70% of its users actually want help balancing their digital lives. What’s not so clear is what the smartphone manufacturers of the world should do about it. After all, it’s in their business interests to make their phones as engaging–or addictive–as possible.

Published by Jeremy Knight May 16, 2018
Jeremy Knight