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Google I/O is here — and has big implications for social media

In January, I told you that "time well spent" was shaping up to be tech's next big debate. As concern
May 7 · Issue #131 · View online
The Interface
In January, I told you that “time well spent” was shaping up to be tech’s next big debate. As concerns mount over the long-term impact of staring at our phones for six hours a day, tech giants have faced more pressure to act. Facebook began invoking “time well spent” to describe its goals for the News Feed. Apple launched a “Families” page to highlight parental controls, and is reportedly building more.
But it may be that Google becomes the first company to act decisively. Its developer conference begins tomorrow in Mountain View, and “time well spent” may be a theme of the next version of its operating system, report Lizza Dwoskin and Haley Tsukayama:  
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, 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 story has few details about what those new controls may look like. But assuming that it’s true, it could be the biggest story of the week. Controls that manage time on your smartphone more aggressively could be a boon to users looking to wean themselves off their Pixels and Galaxys — and a (small) risk to the social media companies who depend on their attention. It could also trigger a time-well-spent arms race with Apple, which has worked to position itself as morally superior to ad-supported Google. 
It’s been a long time when a rumored new feature in Android made me sit up in my chair. But when Sundar Pichai walks on stage tomorrow morning, it’s all I’ll be waiting for.

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And finally ...
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