Hands-On with Google Datally for Android

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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Conversation 6 comments

  • Stooks

    30 November, 2017 - 8:09 am

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">After giving the app permission to take your first-born son"</span></p><p><br></p><p>I predict a wave of legislation coming the US around privacy and consumer protection that is will greatly impact Google, Facebook and others. Microsoft might be impacted as well with the telemetry it collects. </p><p><br></p><p>The use of social media platforms by the Russians during the election has already got congress spun up. The comments I have read are using wording from the European actions.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • Noel

    30 November, 2017 - 9:53 am

    <p>The Wi-Fi hotspot functionality is reminiscent of Microsofts Data Sense</p>

  • Peter Hultqvist

    30 November, 2017 - 4:28 pm

    <p>Is this the classical internet permission coming in a new form and implementation?</p><p><br></p><p>There are already a few other apps that gives the user similar control. Their propose is control and ad blocking. Could datally be used to block ads or had Google already thought about it. Perhaps you can't block WiFi access to apps.</p><p><br></p><p>Update: they want to send all my SMS to Google! What kind of person would even write that kind of dialog text?</p>

  • rameshthanikodi

    30 November, 2017 - 7:28 pm

    <p>Wait, isn't this functionality already built into Android?</p>

  • Pbike908

    01 December, 2017 - 12:05 pm

    <p>I've been messing with this. It appears to be a great app, although the set up and interface is a little confusing. Yes, Android has this stuff buried in other places but it's a lot easier to have this bring it to the forefront. I think one of the reasons for Google coming out with this is because so many apps are ABUSIVE in running in the background and reporting things. Google has tried to clamp down on apps running in the background, but the developers are reluctant to comply as background reporting on things such as location tracking is their bread and butter.</p><p><br></p><p>I especially like it because Spotify appears to run in the background and consume large amounts of data from time to time. Many folks have reported this in the Spotify support but Spotify for whatever reason is largely silent on this issue. Spotify has been consuming more than 500MB of mobile data on my phone even though I only listen to downloaded playlists. Datally appears to have put a stop to this!</p>

  • NT6.1

    01 December, 2017 - 2:08 pm

    <p>That's a very useful and interesting app. I never run out of data so I don't need it.</p>


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