Menu
Google will target kids with redesigned versions of its products

Google will target kids with redesigned versions of its products

Google plans versions of its products like search, YouTube and Chrome for kids that are 12 years and younger

Google is planning versions of some of its products that will be targeted at kids that are 12 years or younger, according to a news report.

Kids are seen as the next big frontier for Internet companies, and already a number of kids are known to lie about their ages to get accounts on social networks.

But a formal move by Google to enlist kids is likely to require the company to tread carefully as the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act in the U.S. has strict rules, including on the mining of a child's personal information.

Before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from a child, Internet companies have to get the parent's verifiable consent, according to COPPA rules. "COPPA leaves it up to you, but it's important to choose a method reasonably designed in light of available technology to ensure that the person giving the consent is the child's parent," the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which issues and enforces COPPA regulations, said on its website.

Google's push to offer products targeted at kids is hence likely to come under close scrutiny by parent groups and regulators.

"Google is playing with fire," wrote Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters and co-chair of Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, in an email Wednesday. "There are strict privacy rules requiring parental consent or opt out when kids under 13 use online programs, which Google is already violating when it comes to Google Apps for Education. To advance further into this area and exploit young children risks hefty fines from the FTC."

Google Apps for Education is a suite of free productivity tools for classroom collaboration.

"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," Pavni Diwanji, vice president for engineering at Google, told USA Today. Google wants kids to be creative and happy on its products, but it also wants to provide tools so that parents can be in the loop and be able to supervise, she added.

Starting next year, the company plans to create special versions of its products designed for kids, with search, YouTube and Chrome the most likely candidates because of their popularity with a broad age group, according to the report.

Diwanji did not provide a timetable for the rollout. Google said it did not have any details to share beyond what was in the report.

Google is not the first tech company to address kids. Apple, for example, outlined in September privacy measures around allowing children under 13 to have their own Apple ID, and for Family Sharing, which allows up to six people in a family to share purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.

Microsoft also introduced in April an ad-free version of its Bing search engine in eligible kindergarten to 12th grade schools in the U.S., after running a pilot. Bing searches from within the school network will be filtered for adult content, the company said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGoogleinternet

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments