Google Research

“She’ll just grab any device that’s closer”: A Study of Everyday Device & Account Sharing in Households

Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM (2016) (to appear)


Many technologies assume a single user will use an account or device. But account and device sharing situations (when 2+ people use a single device or account) may arise during everyday life. We present results from a multiple-methods study of device and account sharing practices among household members and their relations. Among our findings are that device and account sharing was common, and mobile phones were often shared despite being considered “personal” devices. Based on our study results, we organize sharing practices into a taxonomy of six sharing types — distinct patterns of what, why, and how people shared. We also present two themes that cut across sharing types: that (1) trust in sharees and (2) convenience highly influenced sharing practices. Based on these findings, implications for study and technology design.

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