If you find yourself looking at your phone while your out walking around, Google wants to make your stroll a little safer. Google has created a new feature for your smartphone called Heads Up and it should help you avoid running into objects while your attention is placed elsewhere.
How Can I get Heads Up?
Right now Heads Up is only available on Google’s very own Pixel phone series. But luckily as devotees of Android know, Google usually releases these features to the general Android OS after they have been tested on their native phones. When the user turns on the function, it works by sending you a reminder to look up whenever the phone senses that you are in motion, walking.
Google’s Digital Wellbeing Options
Setting Up Heads Up
If you have a Google Pixel and you want to set up Heads up, you’ll have to go to the phone’s Settings portion. Once in Settings, go to the Digital Wellbeing & parental controls sections. Once you are in there you’ll see a new option, entitled Heads Up. Once in the Heads Up feature, you’ll have to set up various permissions for it to work properly.
How Does Heads Up Work?
The Heads Up applications use sensors that are built into your phone in order to see if you are moving. When you set up Heads Up initially you have to give permission to the Digital Wellbeing suite to monitor your physical activity. This gives Heads Up the ability to see when you are active and moving about as opposed to sitting somewhere. The next permission you can set up is location-based sensing. The reason you might want this is that it gives Heads Up the ability to tell when you are outside. That way it can start monitoring and helping to prevent you from walking into lamp posts, signs, or other objects by reminding you to look up. Because of our modern world and involvement in social media and other attention-grabbing apps, the Heads Up function could prevent various embarrassing situations.
Is Heads Up on my phone?
Since Google released this as a beta version, for the time being, it’s only on the Pixel, but you might not find it on the various version of the Pixel phones. The reason is that it isn’t automatically installed as Google is still testing out all the features in live sessions. If you can’t find it on your particular Pixel then to participate you’ll have to join the Digital Wellbeing beta program. It’s easy enough to accomplish. Just go to the Google Play store and search for Digital Wellbeing beta program. Once you download it you’ll be able to start trying out the various features and see how it works in the real world. Bear in mind that the feature itself is only detecting your movement and location and not actually seeking out any objects in our way. The function of the feature is to serve as a reminder when you are moving about and hopefully save you from running into something or falling down.
The impetus behind developing such an app is the increase that can be seen in the use of smartphones and also the issues they can cause. Fatalities and accidents related to looking at phones while driving has been on the rise ever since the devices first went on sale. In that same vein, pedestrian accidents are occurring more and more often and only bubble up into the news cycle when there is a fatality. So Google made the decision to curb some of this by creating the Heads Up app in the hopes of preventing future accidents. But the app, even according to the guidance in the app itself, doesn’t take the place of paying attention to your surroundings. It merely serves as a reminder to look up to what you are doing on your phone.
Manufacturers and developers continue to try to make their products safer while at the same time making them enjoyable to use. The Heads Up app gives users what they want, time on their phone, while also looking out for their well-being. If the trend continues more and more of these apps and features will be coming to a phone near you.