When you’re making products people are going to enjoy using more and more frequently, you also have a duty to ensure they’re not using them more than they should. And that’s exactly what Google is doing with its new Digital Wellbeing feature, which combines Downtime and Content Filters for Google Assistant. Integrated to the Google Home app, it can help you remember there’s a real world out there. Here’s how to set it up.
Setting Content filters for Google Home
There are two ways to access Google Assistant’s Digital Wellbeing feature, both within the Google Home app on your phone or tablet.
Launch the app and either tap Settings, Digital Wellbeing, or select your Google Home device, tap the Settings cog, then scroll down to and select Digital Wellbeing.
Google will run you through configuration if this is the first time you’ve used it. Tap Set Up to begin.
The first thing it covers is content filters, but if you’d rather skip straight to Downtime just tap Skip. Alternatively, to control what music, videos and features are available through Google Assistant tap Next.
Content filters can be applied to everyone on all devices, or individual accounts and individual speakers. Setting them up for all devices is the most secure approach in a family environment, but it also means you must abide by the same rules as the kids. Select either Everyone or ‘Only supervised accounts and guests’, then below this select the Google Home devices on which the filters should be applied. Tap Next.
First, video. You can play any video, filtered videos from YouTube Kids and YouTube Restricted Mode, or no videos at all. Make your selection and tap Next.
Music is next. Again, you can have all music, only non-explicit music from YouTube Restricted Mode, Google Play Music and Spotify, or no music at all. Choose one, then tap Next.
The next screen covers all over content types that can be controlled on Google Assistant. Scroll down to find options for Calls (all or nothing), Assistant Answers (all or restricted) and Actions on Google (all or family-friendly actions only). Tap Next when you’re happy with your selections.
Google Assistant will note all your preferences and confirm that your filters are now turned on. Tap Done to Continue.
At any point you can go back to the Digital Wellbeing feature within the Google Home app to change these settings or turn off the filter altogether.
Giving Google Assistant some Downtime
If this is the first time you’ve used Digital Wellbeing, having configured Content filters you’ll be prompted to set up Downtime. This is a feature that in essence sends the Google Assistant to sleep for a certain period, preventing others from calling it up with the “Okay Google” command. Alarms and timers will still operate as scheduled. Tap Set Up to get started, then hit Next.
Select the Google Home devices on which you want to configure Downtime. You can apply the setting to all devices, or perhaps you’re only interested in turning off the Assistant in the kids’ rooms at bedtime. Make your choices and tap Next.
Now specify on which days you want Downtime to operate. You can pick nights on which the kids have school or adults have work the next day, only weekdays, only weekends, or a custom schedule of your choice. Pick an option, then tap Next.