Google recently began testing a new tool for helping people better manage the mobile data used by their smartphones, through a new Android application called Triangle. The app, which is currently being tested in the Philippines, lets you do things like view your data balance, see which apps are accounting for the most data usage, and even block individual applications from using your mobile data, among other things.
The problem of limited data is not one that’s as common here in the U.S., where unlimited data plans are the norm, and bandwidth is more readily available. However, in a number of emerging markets, mobile data usage is often a concern. With Triangle, Google is experimenting with a different way to cut down on mobile data, by giving users more granular control over how that data is being used.
This isn’t Google’s first attempt at offering better data usage controls for mobile consumers. The company, years ago, added a “Data Saver” mode to its mobile Chrome browser, for example, and it has introduced built-in data saver controls in select devices, like the Data Saver feature in its Pixel phones.
Triangle, by comparison, offers more fine-grained control over your applications compared to what’s provided within Pixel.
At the individual application level, Triangle users can customize how their apps are allowed to use data by choosing between options like 10 minutes at a time, 30 minutes, or “Always.”
Users are also able to see their prepaid mobile data balance on carriers like Globe and Smart, as well as get an overview of their data-hogging apps. The carriers are offering data rewards through Triangle, as well, which lets users download and try new apps without impacting data, and encourages the use of existing apps in exchange for extra data added to their accounts.
Google did not make a formal announcement about Triangle’s launch, but the app was being discussed in online forums just last month. We understand, however, that Google began experimenting with Triangle in April.
The company declined to speak about its future plans for the app, including if or when it expected to release Triangle to other emerging markets, or even developed ones like the U.S. for those who aren’t on unlimited data plans. Though experimental, Triangle is an official Google product – not one from its internal incubator, Area 120.
When asked, a company rep only offered the following statement: “We’re currently doing tests in the Philippines on ways to help users better manage their mobile data. We have nothing further to announce at this time.”
Triangle is currently a free download on the Google Play Store in the Philippines.