One of the announcements Google CEO Sundar Pichai made at the tech company’s I/O Conference concerns users who spend too much time looking at their devices (so, all of us.) In order to help curb phone addiction among its user base, Google-owned video site YouTube will launch a pair of new tools: The first will allow viewers to schedule breaks so they don’t spend too much time watching videos, while the second will send notifications as a daily digest rather than a stream, in order to cut down on impulsive phone checking.
Users who schedule breaks for themselves will be reminded via notification when it is time to step away from the screen. Such a feature will be key for those of us who stay up way past our bedtimes because we just want to watch one more compilation of returning soldiers being greeted by their dogs.
The other new tool will collect video notifications into a single uber-notification, which will be sent out each day to those who opt into it. The result will be fewer notifications, and, by extension, fewer distractions.
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“People are anxious to stay up to date on all the information out there. They have FOMO, fear of missing out,” Pichai said. “We’ve been talking to people and they introduced us to JOMO, the actual joy of missing out. So we really think we can help users with digital well being.”
You can hear all of Pichai’s thoughts and the actions his company will take on the subject starting at about the 2 hour mark in the video below.
While we applaud YouTube for considering the emotional affect of its users, we must also marvel at the fact that the video site is so popular that it has the leeway to build features that tell users not to use its product. That’s an incredible testament to YouTube’s place in pop culture. The new features are expected to roll out this week.