Hands-On with Google Datally for Android

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 6 Comments

After a months-long testing period, Google today made its Datally data usage management app for Android available to the public. Here’s a quick peek.

Yes, it’s a weird name. (Google says it is pronounced as “day tally”.) The app was tested under the name Triangle in the Philippines only for about five months and released worldwide overnight with no real warning. And it’s the type of thing that should just be built-in to Android, of course: One assumes that releasing it as a standalone app now is simply a temporary measure to ensure that it can reach as many users as possible more quickly.

I will say this. If you’re not familiar with Google’s steadily-growing collection of utility apps—for example, the somewhat related Project Fi and Google Wifi apps—they’re generally quite good and are improving all the time. And Datally is a particularly modern-looking app that, I think, nicely highlights the current Google design aesthetic.

After giving the app permission to take your first-born son—you gotta love Android permissions—you’re prompted to set up its Data Saver feature. Data Saver uses a VPN to block unwanted data usage (and the wizard is quite to point out that you don’t need to worry about Google inspecting your data). Once that’s enabled, Datally will block data access over cellular for most apps and then prompt you as needed. You can, of course, configure which apps are on the “do not fly” list, as I think of it.

To test this, I disabled Wi-Fi on my Pixel 2 XL and began streaming with Google Play Music, and running various apps that need to be online to work properly. As you navigate around your phone, a little Datally bubble appears overlayed above the app, providing real-time data usage information.

Obviously, that can get annoying. But for those with low bandwidth caps, Datally could be a godsend. This is probably especially true for those in emerging markets, but it applies to anyone. I could see using this with a pay-as-you-go SIM in the US or internationally, for example.

Datally can also tell you when you’re near public Wi-Fi and help you get connected. I never leave my house, so I’ve not tested that yet, but Google says that this feature includes a nice community element where users can rate Wi-Fi quality and make the service even more useful going forward. Smart.

Anyway, if you’re concerned about data usage, and if you’d like to monitor which apps use the most data, Datally is worth looking at.

You can download Datally from the Google Play Store.


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