Google Confirms Plans for Kid-Friendly YouTube, Chrome

/ Dec 4, 2014

YouTubeKids

Google is moving forward with its plans to launch kid-friendly versions of some of its most popular products, including Chrome and YouTube.

In an interview with USA Today, Google’s VP of engineering Pavni Diwanji, who’s in charge of the effort, explained the company’s desire to launch versions of its most popular products that could be used by children 12 and under. “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,” she said.

That said, Diwanji did not provide specific information regarding how the kids’ services would function, or even when they might be released. USA Today described that it’s a “full-time effort” that includes testing beta versions with kids at Google’s offices.

While obvious why Google would want to create kids’ versions of Chrome and YouTube (a lot of kids probably use them!), it might not happen without controversy. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires internet companies to get consent from parents before collecting any sort of information on children under 13. And Google, like other web giants with large advertising businesses, has had its fair share of hiccups when it comes to issues related to privacy and collecting user information.

That said, the company seems to be cognizant about creating a product that parents would approve of. Currently, it’s testing ways in which parents can control the user experience on such services, including setting time limits.

News of Google’s plans for a kids’ version of YouTube was first reported by The Information last summer. While Diwanji is overseeing the entire initiative, longtime YouTube executive Malik Ducard, who was put in charge of the site’s kids and learning division earlier this year, is leading work on the YouTube product.

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