Google Is Working On Child-Friendly Versions Of Chrome, YouTube And Search Engine
Google has announced that it is currently busy developing child-safe versions of its search engine as well as its most popular products like the Chrome web browser and YouTube.
As told by Google Vice President of Engineering Pavni Diwanji to USA Today, the kiddie variants of Google's well-known products will be aimed at children aged 12 years old and below. Diwanji further added that these new versions will likely be released within 2015.
Perhaps additionally inspired by the fact that many of its own employees have kids of their own, Google executives are extra motivated to introduce online services that are not only safe for kids, but most importantly, fun to use.
Google has always had a particular emphasis on infusing playful aspects to its products, so venturing into kid-safe online services would seem like a natural thing to do for the tech giant. And as stressed by Diwanji, the company values the importance of encouraging kids to not only become consumers of online technology, but also creators as well.
Google may be adventurous in exploring new ventures, but the company is far from naive -- it expects that there may be a bit of controversy in its latest move. After all, how early do we introduce kids to the interwebs? Is there a risk of turning them into ‘Net potatoes?
Diwanji posits that children are already exposed to Internet technology and other forms of technology in schools and at home on a daily basis, so why not develop tools and services that are specially designed to be easily and safely used by under-12 kids?
Of course, parents now, especially the protective ones, are already using various parental filters and tools to safeguard their children from kid-inappropriate content. But having a completely child-safe search engine and Chrome/YouTube version is definitely a better and easier option compared to switching on SafeSearch every time.
But what may rankle certain circles is the idea that Google may be using its kid-friendly online services to gather data, not to mention additional revenue, from children, the most unsuspecting of all users.
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act was enacted to stop commercial entities from gathering data on kids without verifiable consent from parents. In order to realize its plans of launching kid-friendly online services, Google will have to comply with the strict regulations of the Protection Act.
On the other hand, it is possible that people are just overreacting too early. Given some benefit of the doubt, Google just might figure something out and get this one right.