A couple of months ago, Google launched a bunch of new features for their various platforms at their annual I/O event where they also unveiled a new philosophy that they’re to carry on with their platforms.
Google called this philosophy the Digital wellbeing. According to Google’s CEO, ‘the smart devices we created to make our lives better were starting to ruin our health and social life. The execs at Google believed that the same technology that was now ruining our lives could be reversed to save us, make us healthier and more interactive with our environment and people.’
For many, the concept of digital wellbeing has been an enigma and for a good reason because it can be a little difficult to understand. However, while I was going through the YouTube app, I was greeted by a notification that showed me that YouTube was starting to implement the digital wellbeing philosophy and here is how.
High on the priority list of habits that were becoming vices was the addictive nature of YouTube that keeps users going through one video after another with no end.
You might have also been a victim of this addiction where opening the app with the intent of watching one video can turn into hours that eat into productive time as well as the necessary resting time.
As a wake-up call, YouTube can now track how long you spend watching videos so that you have a picture of how much time you are losing that you would have used to do other probably more productive things.
Managing your play time
After you know how much time you are spending on the platform, YouTube now lets you manage your play time on the platform with four simple commands.
1. Remind me to take a break: This commands the app to remind you to take a break and do something else for a while before you can return to the videos.
2. Auto play the next video: This isn’t new, but is handy for those times you need to stop the temptation by the next video playing automatically. Turning this command off allows you to determine when you want to watch the next video.
3. Scheduled digest: The default notification style for YouTube has been the same for all other apps that use Push notifications. Whenever there is one, it will pop up and prompt you to look. (Very distracting).
With the digital wellbeing, you can now determine when you want to receive the notifications. One can also choose to receive them in one batch instead of one by one.
This gives you more time with no distractions (from YouTube at least) but you can still catch up on all the notifications when you are settled. Just set the time you want them delivered to you.
4. Disabling sounds & vibrations: Muting those pesky notifications is one way to keep them from messing with your concentration. The app has gone a step further to let you mute the vibrations as well. So now there is nothing from YouTube that will distract you from putting in those hours at work.
Similar tactics are also going to be implemented in their new Android operating systems for smartphones where by the phone can automatically block you from accessing internet at specific hours which helps combat smartphone/internet addiction.
This new bold step by Google is a positive sign of what lies ahead for us in the future and how best we can improve our lives digitally.
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Author: Daniel Odaka
Daniel is a writer and communications expert with a love for tech, science and cars. He believes technology is the doorway to improving how we live though to many, it is a complex and very difficult matter.