Friday, November 1, 2019

Six apps from Google Creative Lab to help control smartphone use

It’s an undeniable fact that we’re spending more and more time using our smartphones nowadays. The plethora of apps and games available for your Android devices “forces” you to spend minutes and even hours every day checking notifications and keeping up with anything new that your phone could possibly show you. That’s why there are so many apps that exist to help you relax your mind and take a rest. In the last few months, we’ve found various apps that aim to help your digital well-being. However, Google continues to focus on user health and its Creative Lab department has created a collection of experiments that you can try out right now


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What is Google Creative Lab?


This collection of apps aimed at improving digital well-being have been developed thanks to Google Creative Lab. This department from the giant company has the collaboration of tons of creative minds from all different disciplines. Designers, programmers, filmmakers, business owners, and writers work together to develop experiments to help users. With this collection of ideas, the creators bring us resources to help find a healthy balance of using our Android devices. Plus, all the apps are open source so they’re always looking for many users to keep on improving them.


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Six apps related to digital well-being


With the sampling of apps focused on digital well-being created in Google Creative Lab, it should be easy to manage the role technology plays in your life. At times, the enormous number of notifications you receive make you focus too much of your attention on electronic devices. Segmenting the apps you use and simplifying your phone’s interface can be a huge help to make you look beyond your screen.


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Morph


With Morph you can divide each one of the activities you complete daily into categories. In each one of these sections, you can only store the app you use most for that task. You just enter your daily schedule and locations you complete different activities for the device to only send you specific notifications during these times. It’s useful to help you focus your attention on the current task at hand. 


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Desert Island


There are times when the launchers you use on your Android device display too many visual items on the screen. Desert Island is a launcher developed in Creative Lab that intends to focus your attention only on what’s important. To do this, it reduces the combination of colors and only gives you access to the apps you use most. On a list, you’ll see a textual list of highlighted apps you’ve previously selected. Also, in the upper part of the screen, you’ll have time and weather information.


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Paper Phone


Imagine having a printed report with all the information you need on a daily basis. That’s basically what you’ll get with Paper Phone. With this original app, you can select the information you need to know in order to face the day, and it will create a customized document that you can print out. On a physical sheet of paper, you can have a map with the route you need to take, the contacts you need to call, everything that’s on your agenda for the day, and even some pastimes to keep you entertained in your free time. This way, you won’t have to constantly be looking at your smartphone’s screen.


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Unlock Clock


Throughout the day, you unlock your phone so many times. There are even days when you may unlock your phone even more times than you’d think. With Unlock Clock you can set a wallpaper on your screen that will tell you how many times you’ve unlocked your phone with a giant number on the screen. This is really useful if you want a visual representation of how dependent you are on your phone.


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Post Box


The multiple notifications you get throughout the day can end up causing you undue stress. Keeping a constant eye on your phone is definitely not recommended for your health. With Post Box, you’ll have a virtual inbox where all your notifications can be stored. The app will ask you to select one or more times when you’ll be available. Then, at the specified time, you’ll get a notification telling you to take a look at the stored messages and content.


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We Flip


You’re hanging out with friends that you haven’t seen in a while and you’re all paying more attention to your smartphones than the real life conversations happening. To change this situation, there’s an app called We Flip. When all the members of the group have it installed, the main screen of the device will show a rectangle with with a circle in it. Once the app is active, and all the devices are locked, the little ball will fall to the bottom and turn red. If any of the users unlock their device, the app will count it and the ball will go back to the top. Also, the app will tell everyone the name of who couldn’t resist the temptation of using their phone.


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Finding your own balance with technology


With all these apps, it’ll be a little easier to set down your smartphone more times throughout the day. After all, the key is knowing how to manage your time to give priority to what’s really important. Taking your eyes off screens more often is always a good thing. This way, you can enjoy your surroundings and things you’d usually miss with a smartphone in front of your face.


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