We live in a society where it’s no longer unusual to see people’s faces glued to their smartphone screens. While that may be a social issue most of the time, it can be a safety hazard when people do so while walking. A few months back, Google introduced a simple way to remind people to keep their heads up once in a while when moving around. That Heads Up feature is apparently starting to roll out to other phones that aren’t Pixel phones, provided you have Digital Wellbeing installed.
“Heads Up” doesn’t exactly use sophisticated machine learning or algorithms. In a nutshell, it uses Android’s physical activity detection paired with location data to determine if you’re moving around at a considerable distance. Consequently, you’ll need to grant this feature those two permissions for it to work.
The idea is that you get a reminder to stop using your phone while walking. Ironically, this feature is located under Digital Wellbeing’s “Reduce Interruptions” section, despite actually interrupting you with notifications. That said, it may be a critical interruption that could save your life.
The feature was first introduced in Pixels phones and has been exclusive to Google’s phones since its launch. XDA now reports that Android phones from other manufacturers have started getting the feature, including the ASUS ZenFone 8 and the OnePlus Nord N200 5G. The settings for the feature are simple, allowing users to turn off reminders or grant or revoke permissions.
Of course, Heads Up requires Google’s Digital Wellbeing app to be installed first, and not all phones are actually compatible with it. Users shouldn’t be dependent on such reminders anyway for their safety, and the feature itself cautions that it isn’t a replacement for paying attention to where you’re going.