The Google is taking aim at the “next billion” internet users with a way to stop smartphone apps from needlessly burning through costly mobile data allowances.
A new application called Datally, available for free in the Google Play Store this week, allows people to see when games, social networks or other programs use Internet connections in the background and then stop it. A unit of “Next Billion Users” formed by Google
A “Next Billion Users” unit formed by Google chief executive Sundar Pichai set to work on Datally about two years ago, after traveling the world and finding that the cost of mobile data services was a vexation, especially in places where budgets are tight and smartphones are the main way people go online. Although smart phones seemed ubiquitous, it was common for them to be in “airplane mode,” cutting off connections to networks for fear of runaway mobile data costs, according to product manager Josh Woodward.
“Almost every app on your phone will run in the background—whether a game, video app, a chat app—without you knowing about it,” Woodward said.”Those peoples who live on Wi-Fi or with large data plans may not realize it, but for many users around the world the data is like money to them, so they budget it.” In addition to showing the use of smart phone data in real time, Datally reveals what applications are involved and allows people to stop them as they wish.
“Those living on Wi-Fi or with large data plans may not notice, but for many users around the world data is like money to them so they budget it.” In addition to showing the use of smart phone data in real time, Datally reveals what applications are involved and allows people to stop them as they wish.”It really acts as a speedometer for your mobile data, along with the ability to block data if things are getting out of hand,” Woodward said.
Datally also has a feature that helps people find nearby access points where they can connect to the Internet without using telecommunications networks. Google evaluated Datally earlier this year in the Philippines with half a million users, and found that they reduced mobile data usage by 30 percent, according to Woodward.
Datally works on Android smartphones with Lollipop (5.0) or newer versions of the Google-backed mobile operating system.
While the inspiration for Datally came from developing countries where smartphones are linking growing numbers of people to the internet but mobile data costs are onerous, the idea of cutting service bills has universal appeal, according to NBU chief business officer Dave Shapiro.
“We want to see as many people access as much of the internet as they can,” Shapiro said.