Google wants you to watch your step with the new Heads Up feature

Google wants you to watch your step with the new Heads Up feature
Google has started rolling out a Digital Wellbeing feature called Heads Up to smartphones in order to keep you safe from bumping into things while staring into your phone. It uses location and physical activity tracking to detect potentially hazardous situations - such as crossing a street while looking down at your phone.

You need to allow location and physical activity access for the feature to function correctly. Once activated, Heads Up will automatically show various alerts on your phone, including:
  • Be careful
  • Look ahead
  • Stay focused
  • Look up
  • Stay alert
  • Watch out
  • Watch your step


The exact algorithms behind the new feature aren’t clear. For example, using the front camera/sensors to detect if you’re actually looking at your phone or just holding it in your hand while walking would be an elegant solution.

According to 9to5Google, Heads Up is rolling out only on Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 phones at the moment. If you’re a Pixel user, you can check your Digital Wellbeing app version. It seems that only users that are enrolled in the Android Beta Program can update to the necessary build of Digital Wellbeing in order to see the feature (v1.0.364375698). You'll also need to manually enable the feature, before starting to get scolded by your smartphone to watch your step.

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