Google's new ‘Heads Up’ feature wants you to stop looking at your phone while walking
Using your phone while you’re outdoors can be quite risky, whether you live in a crowded city or a less populated area — paying attention to your surroundings can be difficult with everything that’s happening on your device screen. Google wants to do something about that, and the company is rolling out a new feature to its Pixel devices, to remind you to be more aware of your surroundings.
The new feature is part of Google’s Digital Wellbeing suite and has been aptly titled “Heads Up” and currently works only on the company’s Pixel devices. The screen attention feature works by picking up your movement when you get up with your phone and begin walking around. The feature was spotted by a Twitter user Jay Prakash Kamat who posted a screenshot of the onboarding screen.
The feature will only work when the screen is on, so that you don’t get notifications when you’re walking with your phone in your pocket. The new “Heads Up” feature pushes out alerts to users in the form of seven short messages — Be careful, Look ahead, Stay focused, Look up, Stay alert, Watch out, and Watch your step.
While the new Heads Up feature won’t stop the figurative ‘zombie-fication’ of mobile users in public, it will hopefully nudge enough of us to be more careful while walking outside with our phones in our hands. The feature is currently rolling out to Google’s Pixel devices, as part of an update to version 1.0.342229637.beta of the company’s Digital Wellbeing app. This is also a good sign that the feature might roll out to other devices, just like other wellbeing features that have eventually made their way to non Pixel devices in the past.