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Give Google's six new Digital Wellbeing experimental apps a try, for science

Google has six new experimental apps that are part of its Digital Wellbeing initiative.

Published onOctober 23, 2019

Google’s suite of tools in its Digital Wellbeing initiative are designed to get you off your phone every now and again. The current set of tools will come pre-loaded on Android 10 devices (and are available for some devices running Android 9 Pie).

However, Google has six experimental apps that could end up being a part of that Digital Wellbeing suite. The company is encouraging anyone interested to give these six apps a try. It is also encouraging developers to play around with the open-source apps on GitHub to see if they can make them better.

The six apps are relatively simple in nature. Here’s what they are called, a basic synopsis of what they do, and a link to install them on your phone (no Android 10 required).

Unlock Clock: This one isn’t actually an app but rather a live wallpaper. The wallpaper displays a counter and changes every time you unlock your phone. As such, you’ll be able to see the number of times you unlocked your phone that day right on your home screen. Download it here.

Post Box: This app holds back your notifications until specific points during the day. For example, you could say you only want to see notifications at 8:00 AM when you wake up, noon while you’re on your lunch break, and 5:00 PM when you clock out of work. Download it here.

We Flip: If you are in a group and want to minimize phone distractions, you can all use this app to “switch off.” Once everyone joins together, you flip a switch and your phones all go silent. When one member of the group flips back on, the whole group flips on and sees how long they lasted without using their phones. Download it here.

Paper Phone: This one is intense. You select which aspects of your phone you need that day and then print them out onto paper. For example, going to a new restaurant and need directions? It will print out directions for you so you can leave your phone at home. Needs to be seen to be believed. Download it here.

Desert Island: If you were trapped on a desert island, which albums would you bring with you? How about which apps? That’s what this app does: it lets you select only the apps that are most important to you and shuts out all other apps for 24 hours. Choose wisely. Download it here.

Morph: This app is like a more subtle version of Desert Island. It asks you to select which apps you need for the activities you do on any given day and then makes just those apps available when you are doing that activity. This would likely require lots of tweaking, but if you got it right it could be very helpful. Download it here.

Have you tried any of these apps? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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