Tech companies are always looking for ways to expand their userbase. Last year was all about tackling emerging markets with low-end versions of high-end devices, while year it could be all about...children.
According to report published by The Information on Monday, Google wants more children to use its online services such as Gmail and YouTube. It's therefore considering a version of YouTube that's safe for kids. It might even feature a dashboard that will let parents monitor their kids' video-watching activities.
Google however has yet to officially announce that it is working on a children-optimised version of YouTube. It's also worth noting that the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to issue regulations and enforce COPPA, also called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, in the US. It is a federal law that places certain restrictions on web companies, forcing them to seek parental consent before allowing children under the age of 13 to use their services.
When signing up for YouTube, for instance, Google requires children to provide their age. Although children can easily lie online, Google and every other web company isn't liable. Still, in order to make it easier for children to uses its services, which includes making parents feel more at ease, Google reportedly believes developing kid-optimised versions of its online services will help it to net younger audiences without breaking any laws.
Keep in mind there is currently no age requirement for Android, Google's mobile operating system, even though Google has age requirements on all online services. The decision to forgo the age requirement allegedly came from Andy Rubin, the former head of Android. One of the reasons, according to the Information's unnamed sources, is that Google did not want block children from using Google's services on Android devices, though Rubin has since denied that claim.
We've contacted Google for a comment and hope to update soon.