I’ve used both iPhone and Android devices in the past, but I’m currently quite heavily integrated into the Apple ecosystem. That being said, Digital Wellbeing, announced by Google today is the first time I’ve been excited about the Apple vs. Google arguments for quite some time.
Put simply, Digital Wellbeing is a collection of tools and features designed to put the user back in control and make technology work for them, rather than us being a slave to notifications and updates. I’m really conscious about the effect that our devices have on our mental wellbeing and relationships. I have the bare minimum notifications — with even fewer making it through to my watch — and almost no none-functional apps. But I am still badly addicted to social media (mostly Twitter), and will often pull-to-refresh with only minutes in between. Digital Wellbeing is Google’s attempt to make you aware of the time you’re spending, and provide tools to let you decide if that’s okay. They’re even looking to introduce features including your phone automatically going into do not disturb mode when you place it screen down. Such a small thing, but again it puts the user in control.
I still think we’re at the very early stages of personal computing that we don’t yet know enough of the answers as to their effects on us and future generations. I do think it’ll get a lot easier when the devices become more integrated with us, but until then we need to be consciously deciding what we want to be doing, and what the benefits really are. I know Twitter rarely provides me with much insight, but that didn’t stop me checking it three times while writing this post.
And for anyone that noticed, I’m sorry. I’m supposed to be posting something every day and yesterday I didn’t. In my defence, three days of sun caught up with me and I was asleep by 7:30. I’m still figuring out how best to make this a routine, but it’s important for me to remember that some days it just won’t be possible or realistic to post, and that’s okay.