YouTube - now with child controls
Now we know that you can hide dirty films on YouTube, Google are launching a version of their video service that is designed for kids, which basically means it'll be full of controls (that they'll be able to bypass within seconds of looking at it) and child-appropriate content.
It'll be a free app called, imaginatively, 'YouTube Kids' and is available from the relevant sources from next week.
Google aren't making any comments about whether or not they'll be displaying commercials and pop-up ads to children, but you can safely assume that they will be. What would be the point in them doing it otherwise?
"The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there’s a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children," said Pavni Diwanji, vice president for engineering at Google.
Basically, one of the motivating factors is that Google tend to make their products with adults in mind, so they're rejigging some stuff so they'll cater to children better. And of course, there's huge amounts of money to be made from kids nagging their parents.
However, one sticking point that is sure to become a loud argument over the next few months, is Google mining the information of children. They'll inevitably have to get a system in place where they get parents to verify consent. Naturally, there's a whole host of websites and games that kids use, so it won't be difficult for Google to figure it all out. The app itself will filter certain words out as well, but seeing as children will be able to use the normal YouTube app and type things into search engines, it doesn't really matter too much.
One interesting thing is that parents will be able to set time limits on how long their offspring will be able to use the app for, as well as being able to switch the sound off and stop the search function being available.