Google to launch new time management controls for Android

Google's CEO expected to wade into the smartphone addiction debate


Google will announce a new set of controls for Android to help users manage the time they spend on their mobile devices, according to a report from the Washington Post.

The Post sites a person familiar with the company’s thinking, stating that Google CEO Sundar Pichai will wade into the ongoing debate over whether too much tech time is negatively effecting the mental health of the general populace during his I/O conference keynote on May 8th.

Pichai is expected to emphasize the theme of responsibility — an apt one, considering the current zeitgeist surrounding data privacy following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Last year’s focus was on artificial intelligence, a topic that would now invite much more media scrutiny. Making the theme responsibility and centering it around consumer choices and smartphone addiction seems like a smart way for the tech giant to avoid the criticism one of its main peers is experiencing.

Two groups of Apple shareholders asked the company to design products to combat phone addiction for children in January, while Facebook cited internal research and academic reports in stating last year that passive browsing of the app put people in a worse mood.

Currently, Google offers Family Link, a suite of tools that allows parents to regulate time spent on device by their children and provides them with time usage reports. Apple, meanwhile, does not currently have a specific set of tools for monitoring usage by children.

In addition to these time management tools, Google is reportedly set to announce additional capabilities for Google Assistant intended to make the product more interactive and helpful at accomplishing tasks.

For more on what to expect from Google I/O, check out our roundup here.

Source: Washington Post