Google has launched three new apps - Activity Bubbles, Envelope, and Screen Stopwatch - all of which are designed to reduce your screen time.
A couple years ago, Google launched its Digital Wellbeing initiative, in an attempt to get phone users to acknowledge how often they use their devices - which is ironic since the company is in the business of selling phones and serving up mobile ads. Nevertheless, it's exploring ways to get you to curb your phone addiction, with the latest example coming in the form of experimental Android apps.
Envelope is perhaps the strangest of the bunch. It involves you printing and folding an envelope for your phone. In conjunction with the Envelope app, it turns your smartphone into a minimal dumb phone used only for calls or telling the time or taking a photo. To get access to your phone, you need to open the envelope. Google, of course, hopes you can go a day without breaking the seal.
The Envelope app only works for the Pixel 3a at the moment.
As for the Activity Bubbles app, it displays bubbles on your home screen every time you unlock your phone. The more you unlock and use your screen, the larger the bubbles will appear until they've taken over your screen's background. Meanwhile, the Screen Stopwatch app tells you in big, bold numbers how long you've used your phone in real-time, making it hard to continue ignoring your phone addiction.
You can download all three Android apps from the Play Store now. They're from Google's experimental Creative Labs and Special Projects units.