Chrome to Allow Usage Limiting for Individual Websites with ‘Digital Wellbeing’ (Live in Canary)

Thanks to 9to5Google, we already know that Chrome will have an integration with Digital Wellbeing. The latest version of Chrome for Android, Canary, has a flag to allow the browser to share data with Digital Welling.

Digital Wellbeing

Digital Wellbeing is a new initiative by Google that provides a set of tools to reduce distractions by technology. It includes things like setting limits to how much time you can spend on a specific app, or changing screen to grayscale towards the end of the day, encouraging you to put the phone down.

Digital Wellbeing and Chrome

As of now, you can see how much time you are spending on Chrome. You can even set a limit to how long you are allowed to use the app. However, when you are on Chrome, you could be doing something productive, or browsing through Instagram stories as I do.

How do you differentiate between such activities and limit time spent only on certain websites?

This becomes possible with the new integration.

The Flag

Flag name: Share Usage Stats wit Digital Wellbeing

Description: When set, enables sharing of per-domain usage stats with the Digital Wellbeing app on Android and allows Digital Wellbeing to suspend access to websites in order to enforce user-defined time limits. – Android

URL: chrome://flags/#usage-stats

When you enable this flag and restart Chrome, you get a new option. Here is a screenshot from the Stable version of Chrome:

Chrome – Without Site Usage

Now, here is the screen from Chrome Canary, after enabling the flag:

“Show Sites”

There is now a “Show sites’ option. When you tap this icon, you will a list of websites that you visited using Chrome Canary.

Sites Visited – Canary

From here, you can tap the hourglass icon to set a usage limit on any website:

Set Usage Limit Per Site

More useful, right? I can now set a usage time limit for Instagram and continue browsing other useful sites!

Unless I am worried about privacy. That’s another topic worth discussing. I should be using Incognito mode for anything that I don’t want Google or anyone to see, but you know!

Android Q Only

I am currently on Android Q Beta. So, I wanted to check if this is a Q-only feature because 9to5Google’s findings said this will be available only in Q. I worked with my friend James (who had to install Chrome Canary and do the whole test just for this article).

He is using a Pixel 3 but on Android P. He has the same flag but enabling it did not give him the “Show sites” option.

Over to you now. Is this something that you would consider using, or do you think we should be concerned about privacy?

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