Google seems to be working on child-friendly versions of some of its services, with YouTube, Chrome and the search engine said to be remade into new products, according to a recent story from the USA Today publication. Google’s vice president of engineering Pavni Diwanji, explained during a recent interview that the company wants to make children under the age of 12 are not subjected to unsuitable content.
Diwanji said Google could implement the new technology both at home and at school, as children can easily access unfiltered content not just by using the search engine, but also on Chrome and YouTube. She told USA Today the following:
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
While parents can rely on parental control software or even on apps to protect their kids from the harmful online environment, Google’s initiative could be a big help. And if you come to think of it, this is something that should’ve been done long ago. Diwanji further adds:
We want to be thoughtful about what we do, giving parents the right tools to oversee their kids’ use of our products. We want kids to be safe, but ultimately it’s about helping them be more than just pure consumers of tech, but creators, too.
Even if this sounds like a great idea that follows exactly the ‘don’t be evil’ philosophy, naysayers could suspect Google of trying to target the child and pre-teen market with advertising. Google’s VP of engineering shares more:
We want to be thoughtful about what we do, giving parents the right tools to oversee their kids’ use of our products, We want kids to be safe, but ultimately it’s about helping them be more than just pure consumers of tech, but creators, too.
At the moment, we don’t know too many details about Google’s initiative, but we know it comes at a time when the company has revealed other kid-centric efforts such as its virtual Maker Camp, Doodle 4 Google competition and Made with Code initiative.
By trying to make its search, YouTube and Chrome browser child-friendly, Google isn’t just trying to protect kids but also to make sure that the user experience is relevant to their age. This was one of the reasons that motivated Diwanji itself, after her daughter ended up seeing a list of Amtrak train schedules pop up when she was looking for Thomas the Tank Engine.
What Google is trying to do is indeed laudable and I’m sure millions of parents all around the world will be happy to hear the news. But I wonder just how accurate and powerful the technology would be and if it will be bulletproof against ingenious, curious kids.