Google wants to make a selection of its products more kid-friendly.
In an interview with USA Today, Google Vice President of Engineering Pavni Diwanji suggested that versions of Google search, Chrome, and YouTube designed for the 12-and-younger set could appear within the next year. “We want to be thoughtful about what we do, giving parents the right tools to oversee their kids’ use of our products,” she told the newspaper. “We want kids to be safe, but ultimately it’s about helping them be more than just pure consumers of tech, but creators, too.”
The big question, as a few pundits have already pointed out, is how Google will reshape those applications to make them truly secure for kids, given the difficulties facing any automated filter in attempting to screen out the sketchier parts of the Web. As PCWorld theorized, kid-friendly Google apps might require parents or guardians to actively “whitelist” certain content.
If Google does go forward with its plans for kid-friendly apps, it could irritate privacy and security activists, many of whom regard every new Google initiative as a transparent attempt to data-mine users for profit. But it could also compel rivals such as Microsoft to build similarly child-centric products, which in turn might drive more third-party developers to focus on that segment of the software and cloud market.
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