Google Datally: A new data management app

#1

Google has released a new background data management app called Google Datally. If you are familiar with the Republic Wireless app with the 2.0 Refund plans, this app is similar as it allows you to turn on or turn off data for the apps on your phone. Edit: The app only controls the background data use for each app. Thus this does not block all data access. The magic is done by using a VPN (the app sets it up for you) and allowing Datally an extra permission to manage the data for each app.

You can download it now from the Google Play Store. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.freighter&hl=en

Here is an overview video of the app: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAdJvXMIlXc

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Notable Newbies: Welcome!
Notable Newbies: Welcome!
#2

Candidly, Google should just get serious about this and bake it into the core Android OS. iOS, for example, has had per app cell data controls for years now.

As for the magic of using a local VPN to achieve this, any number of 3rd party firewall apps currently avaialble in the play store have been doing that for some time now.

Early morning grouchiness aside, it’s a step in the right direction.

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#3

Nice find!

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#4

I was just about to share this as well. Good find indeed. It seems similar to the data management that Republic had baked into the 2.0 phones.

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#5

We may need to back the bus up on this one. It may be that this is really a more stylish interface to functionality already on Android phones: https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/29/16716796/datally-data-tracking-android-app-google.

It doesn’t appear to block all data access on an app-by-app basis but rather background data use, which can already be done albeit perhaps more inconveniently.

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#6

I’ve just installed and looked at the app and @rolandh is indeed correct. The interface is a pretty one for turning on data saver (blocks only background data) for a particular app and a pretty interface for per app data use reporting. This won’t replace apps like Mobiwol that are able to block all data.

Of course, this leads to the question, why does Datally use a local VPN to do what the OS can already do without one? And why is the language in the app say “Blocking mobile data for…” when it should be “Blocking BACKGROUND mobile data for…”

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#7

Yes, right now it’s mostly a convenient front-end for what is already available. Still, it’s not a bad effort to build some awareness of data use.

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#8

I would agree with that. Still, I also agree with @louisdi Google’s present language about blocking mobile (as opposed to background) data is misleading.

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#9

My guess (and that’s all it is) is that foreground mobile data blocking was available in a previous beta version of the app, or will be available in the future.

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#10

Really wonder what the holdup on that would be. Apple has had this baked into iOS for years. Google’s engineers are every bit as capable. Suggests, to me, it just isn’t a priority for them.

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#12

From a quick install on my MXP and look-see:

it appears that Republic users would need to ‘Unlock’ the Republic Wireless App to allow its use mobile data when the app is enabled.
From the App:

  • Select Manage data
  • If RW App is not shown in Other apps using data, then Select ‘Apps with no data usage’ and ‘Unlock’
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#13

You are correct and Republic Anywhere as well. It also turns out, it’s indeed possible to block foreground data for (at least) some apps. The method is hardly elegant as it requires one have the specific app one wants to restrict from using foreground data in the foreground to do so:

Frankly, in its present incarnation, I find it borderline unusable and nothing at all like the simplicity of the per app controls in the Republic 2.0 app on legacy phones.

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#14

I 100% agree. After I have dove in deeper into the app, I will not be using it for cell data controls. Mobiwol is a much more elegant solution.

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#15

Thanks @rhilb11 for bringing this to the community for discussion
My thoughts … as this is from Google, and provides a function that is currently lacking without using 3rd party apps, those of us who are curious or so inclined to dig might want to consider doing so.
Then we can summarize the pro’s & cons and make recommendations to our community and also feed them back to Google and Republic.
Keep the information flowing :slight_smile:

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#16

For some context, here’s how Apple’s iOS handles things:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Scroll down to Cellular Data, where one will see toggles for all apps (including those bundled with the OS).
  4. By default, cell data is toggled on for everything.
  5. If one doesn’t wish an app to use cell data, toggle it off.

Off means off, no background foreground hoop jumping just on and off period. Sound familiar? A lot like the way the Republic 2.0 app works on legacy phones, no? And, it’s baked right into the OS. Why doesn’t Google just do that? Doesn’t it sound easier and more elegant than the convoluted nonsense that is cell data control as it exists on Android today.

No instead of engineering something elegant into its core OS Google gives us Datally, which in its present iteration is arguably less elegant and more complicated (not to mention unpredictable) to use than existing 3rd party solutions. I’m sorry, in my opinion, Google is way overthinking this whole thing. The only other logic I’m able to come up with for not just baking it into the OS is Google wants things to be complicated to the point folks don’t bother.

In short, rather than enhancing the core OS, Google has essentially provided its own 3rd party app arguably not as useful as existing third party alternatives.

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#17

Here’s my analysis:

Pros: It’s from Google and it’s pretty.

Cons: Everything else. There’s no easy way to tell if background/foreground/both is blocked on an app. Blocking foreground data doesn’t seem to work for all apps. There are no decent directions to tell you how to tell the difference. You seem to have to have the app in the foreground, to block foreground data.

Honestly, if this was from any other company other than Google, it wouldn’t even get a second look.

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#18

My opinion that Google should bake this into the core OS rather than use an app notwithstanding; there are important considerations for us as Republic members using Datally. By default, Datally will restrict background cell data use of both the Republic and (if installed) Republic Anywhere apps when Datally’s Data Saver feature is engaged. Republic’s blended WiFi/cell service requires both the Republic and Republic Anywhere apps have access to cell data to work as intended. To avoid potential service interruptions when using Datally’s Data Saver feature, please whitelist both the Republic and Republic Anywhere apps as shown below:

Keep in mind any cell data used by the Republic and/or Republic Anywhere apps is included in the base price of all Republic plans and will not be deducted from cell data purchased for Internet use.

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#19

Don’t need another app or Apple IOS to do this. In Android 6.0, go to Settings, Data Usage, Cellular Data Usage to see what sites are using data. Select the sites that you don’t want using background data and you have the option to turn background data usage off.
Jon

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#20

You are correct, the issue since 6.0 isn’t turning off background data, it’s foreground data. Sometimes people want to disable cellular data, period, for an app. The example is sitting and watching youtube, don’t realize you’ve lost your wifi connection for whatever reason, end up seamlessly moving to cellular and use all your data. By disabling cellular data to YouTube you can prevent this type of thing from happening and only enable the foreground data when you intentionally want to use it.

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#21

Ah, yes…thanks.
Jon

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