Dubbed the Paper Phone, the tech giant’s latest experiment is aimed at promoting “digital wellness” by offering a simple solution to smartphone addiction.
It allows users to give up their phone for an entire day by putting any information needed – such as contact details, map directions and meetings – into a printable, phone-sized booklet.
“A lot of people feel like they spend too much time on their phones and miss out on the things that are right in front of their eyes. But it’s hard to use our phones less because we’ve come to depend on them,” explains a video showcasing the Paper Phone.
“We’ve come up with a simple way to have a digital detox. All you need to do is choose the things which are important to you and our app will print out your very own paper phone.”
Google is not the first tech firm to attempt to address issues relating to digital addictions, with Apple’s latest iOS 12 update including a feature called Screen Time that allows users to set limitations on how much they use their iPhone or iPad.
Google has also included similar features in Android, while apps like Quality Time monitor how much time someone spends on certain apps and provides incentives to cut down.
Several studies have pointed to the negative impact that social media and excessive smartphone use can have on people with regards to their mental health.
Earlier this year, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) launched Scroll Free September in an attempt to get people to take back control of the technology in their lives by cutting back on social media.
In the same way Dry January aims to encourage people to abstain from alcohol, the Scroll Free September campaign hoped to prompt people to reconsider their use of apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“Many of us are guilty of becoming consumed by social media and whilst there are many benefits to using the various platforms which are available, it’s important to take some time out,” said Chris Elmore, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
“Whether it’s scrolling before bed stopping you sleeping, following aspirational and unattainable accounts denting your self-esteem, or the ever-presence of phones getting in the way of your face-to-face interactions with friends and family.”
Google said about its Paper Phone: “We hope this little experiment can help you try a digital detox from technology and help you focus on the things that matter the most.”