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Google To Launch a New Set of Android Controls To Help You Manage Phone Use, Report Says (washingtonpost.com) 11

Google plans to wade into the debate over whether technology -- and the time spent on devices -- is harmful to people's health, The Washington Post reports. From the report: At its annual developer conference, scheduled to kick off in its hometown of MountainView, Calif., on Tuesday, Google is set to announce a new set of new controls to its Android operating system, oriented around helping individuals and families manage the time they spend on mobile devices [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], according to a person familiar with the company's thinking.

In his keynote address on Tuesday, chief executive Sundar Pichai is expected to emphasize the theme of responsibility, the person said. Last year's keynote was more focused on developments in artificial intelligence. The anticipated shift in tone at the event reflects increased public skepticism and scrutiny of the technology industry as it reckons with the negative consequences of how its products are used by billions of people.

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Google To Launch a New Set of Android Controls To Help You Manage Phone Use, Report Says

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    • I had exactly the same thought. If Google wants to advance the Android brand then they need to mandate in the licensing agreement that new versions are made available to users within 3 months after release. Phone vendors will hate this, so the compromise is to limit the mandate to 5 years after initial sale of a model. After that the phones are EOL anyway given how cheaply they are built (and how expensive they still are).
  • This usage-tracking app just adds one more time you're on your phone for 5 minutes per day. Can it at least be accessed from the web?

  • If anything, providing a tool such as this is getting out of the debate. Not having the tool is weighing in on the side of the debate that says users should always be tied to their devices.

    Products such as Android should not choose sides in debates. They should deliver the tools necessary to serve all of their customers or at least not lock things down to the point that others can't deliver nicely integrated tools. They are responsible only to serve the needs of, at the least, the vast majority, not to steer those needs.

    And, why would there even be a debate on this subject? 50 years ago, phones routinely had switches to turn off the ringers. At work, we had secretaries to filter the calls and allow us to stay focused. The secretary would also remind us if we spent too much time on the phone. At home, parents limited the teenagers' calls by picking up the line and saying it was time to get off the phone. Meals involved people sitting at the table together and discussing their day - not arguing over who gets to use the one home phone during dinner.

    We've had a media usage battle for many decades. We've simply lost some control of it because of the independence of today's devices. It wasn't so difficult to control TV usage when most families only had a shared one in the living room. Of course we should have tools to allow those who want to to continue that control.

  • they look like qood quality phones, small and lightweight, slim but it only does phone calls and the #2 version will include text msgs,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    https://www.thelightphone.com/ [thelightphone.com]
  • I'd still like to be in control of my phone about which apps get which permissions. The current version I have lets me selectively deny permissions to my camera, contacts, location, microphone, etc, but I can't do it for any of the other zillion permissions, like "have full network access", "receive data from Internet", "view network connections", "connect and disconnect from wifi", "change your audio settings", and the latest one I just found, "com.google.android.finsky.permission.BIND_GET_INSTALL_REFERRER

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