Google has just released a trio of new Digital Wellbeing projects − Screen Stopwatch, Envelope, and Activity Bubbles − all of which are designed to help you “find a better balance with technology” in various different ways. In this article we’ll look at Screen Stopwatch.
Developed by Google Creative Lab, Screen Stopwatch shows exactly how many hours, minutes and seconds you’ve spent on your phone each day. It’s very straightforward.
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“Screen Stopwatch tells you how long you spend on your phone each day. Each time you unlock your phone, the stopwatch continues to count,” Google’s Experiments with Google website explains.
Once you download the app, it will prompt you to set Screen Stopwatch as your wallpaper − and that’s all you need to do.
Screen Stopwatch won’t ask you to set any time or usage limits. Instead, the idea is that its constantly ticking timer will be powerful enough to get you to think about how much you use your phone − every time you use your phone.
As it’s a Digital Wellbeing feature, Screen Stopwatch is only available on Android handsets, and you need to be running Android 8 or a more recent build of the operating system, in order to use it. You can download Screen Stopwatch here.
I’ve been very conscious about how attached to my phone I am for some time now, so the launch of Screen Stopwatch genuinely excited me. But I don’t imagine everyone will be a fan.
There’s definitely an element of guilt at play, and for some people the constant presence of ticking timer could cause more stress than it’s worth.
My own biggest issue with Screen Stopwatch is the fact there isn’t a selection of styles and colour schemes to choose from. The default look is big, bold and a bit distracting, especially if your home screen is packed with apps and icons.
You can find out more about Digital Wellbeing features in this article.