Google-backed Glance turns your Lock Screen into a Bite-sized Information Highway


The act of navigating through one’s smartphone is one of the more mundane tasks that we go through day by day. The repetitive nature of unlocking your device and diving into an app to endlessly scroll the hours away isn’t exactly wrong per se, but the folks over at Glance think that there’s a better way to go about this.

More specifically, Glance is unique in that it’s designed to give more purpose to your smartphone’s lock screen. Instead of serving as a mostly vacant bridge as you make your way to your apps, Glance adds a bit more usefulness without taking up too much of your time – it is called “Glance,” after all.

The offering first made its debut back in 2019 in Southeast Asia and India, and since then they have expanded to more regions including Japan, and have started to roll out to North America – it’s accessible on more than 450 million devices worldwide, with more expansion on the horizon. What exactly does it come with? Let’s take a look.

The Case for Glance

Take a look at Glance’s North American offerings, for instance – available on select Motorola devices, the flagship offering adds some much needed flair to a phone’s lock screen by delivering relevant content recommendations that consumers can access without unlocking their phone.

Glance features curated collections of content that you can access even before unlocking your phone. This includes “News,” which is a more tailored feed that provides people with instant access to information that’s relevant to them. There are also new spaces like “Sports,” which covers score updates from their favorite teams, and “Games” which provides instant access to casual games on the fly. This setup fits perfectly in a world where fast-paced access to information plays a big part in our daily lives, given the on-the-go nature of smartphone usage.

Personalization is also another key factor to how Glance works – it doesn’t just cover possible points of interests on your phone’s display, but also integrates subjects and topics that you’re already interested in, resulting in fewer distractions and letting you get acquainted with the kind of information that you really want to see.

How does it Work?

“But I already have a news feed on my phone,” you’re probably thinking. And while you’re not wrong, Glance works a bit differently. Instead of having to fully unlock your device, it’s developed to instantly give you relevant topics and news on your lock screen, without you having to fully open your phone.

Interestingly enough, Glance isn’t an app that you can install from the Google Play Store. It’s an integrated system-level software feature that users can choose to enable (or disable) when setting up their phone, and even afterwards. Since it’s baked into the system, there’s no additional tinkering required on a user’s end, and it works more fluidly with the rest of their phone.

For example, if I see an article that piques my interest, I can further read the full post without having to exit Glance, as it allows users to tap on a headline and get through to the story without leaving your lock screen. No more additional swipes to get to your main home screen and then to a separate news feed or app – it’s all accessible from Glance.

Notifications, Privacy and Other Features

More importantly, Glance doesn’t reveal sensitive data, which will only be visible should you fully unlock your phone. This means that you can comfortably stay updated on your favourite topics, without having to worry about strangers taking a peek at your notifications and such. It also doesn’t collect personal user info, and instead relies on usage patterns to mold its recommendation engine.

For notifications, these are shrunk down into tiny icons which are accessible from the bottom part of your display. They’re still easily accessible, but don’t get in the way of whatever news and updates you’re currently reading. In addition to its current crop of features, Glance says they’re working on integrating more features such as online shopping, and AI functionality.

Glance also takes child safety into account by way of a built-in feature called “child lock” that allows parents to set daily time limits for Glance usage. Furthermore, Glance also supports several languages worldwide, a much-welcome feature given its global expansion. 

Availability and Pricing

Currently, Glance is available on several Motorola smartphone models in North America and is coming on other carriers later this year. As mentioned earlier, the feature can be enabled from a phone’s Settings menu, and users who wish to disable it can do so as well. It is of course free, with no additional purchases required at the moment.

Given that the feature doesn’t cost users anything, Glance monetizes via advertising in Asian markets. However for North America, they plan to offer alternate opportunities including subscriptions to certain publishers and content.

Is it Worth Using?

For people who love getting all the latest updates on their hobbies, interests and such, Glance is an ideal tool. The considerably quick time it takes to fire up your smartphone and get to information that matters to you – all from your lock screen – comes in handy, saving you time and effort when using your smartphone.

Of course, if you choose to disable the feature you can easily do so, but for users who want something more out of their lock screen features, Glance is definitely worth giving a shot.

[This article was written in collaboration with Glance]

Mike Viray
A writer and content creator with a love for tech and music, Mike is also an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

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