October 29, 2021

Google launches Kids Space, a hub with kid-friendly apps and videos

In the midst of confinement, and virtual classes, the Google company is making its way to expand into a quite particular audience: children, that is why it presented a new center (or hub) for children’s content on tablets.

The project called Kids Space will direct children to apps, videos and books selected for their childhood interests. All applications suggested by the hub are certified with a “teacher approved” badge , a program Google launched in April.

Kids Space is designed for children under the age of 9, will only be available for Android tablets , Google’s mobile operating system, and will not run on Apple iPads. Google’s Kids Space feature isn’t designed for formal learning or study plans, Brooks said, but rather to give kids more to do during free time.

The search giant said it worked with publishers to provide a library of more than 400 free books.

The content is rated by teachers who work with Google to choose the apps, based on criteria including age appropriateness, learning, and positive messages. The videos will come from YouTube Kids , the children’s version of Google’s huge video site.

Kids Space content will be personalized for each user, but no data from the service will be used to target ads to children, Mindy Brooks, Google’s director of user experience for children and families , explained in an interview.

The launch comes as the academic year begins, but many schools remain closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus and families rely on remote learning .

Google’s announcement worries its detractors, who express concern about the presence of Google in the lives of children . The company has already faced criticism for the way they have treated children’s content in the past. Especially on its YouTube platform.

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According to the CNET portal , last September, the United States Federal Trade Commission imposed a record fine of US $ 170 million on the company, as well as new requirements, for YouTube’s violation of COPPA , a federal law. to protect children’s data online. In response, the video site made major changes to the way it handles children’s videos, including limiting the data it collects from those views.

It would not be the first Google platform to link children with education

The renowned search engine has also made advances in educational tools for teachers and students. Image: Digital Trends

Google Classroom , is a popular tool on this topic, and its role for teachers to manage their classrooms, doubled from 50 million users to 100 million users. In April, Google announced a partnership with California Governor Gavin Newsom to donate 4,000 Chromebooks to students in that state.

But Google’s dominance in the classroom has not been without its problems. Also in April, Google received a lawsuit for its tools for the classroom. Two Illinois children sued the search giant for allegedly violating COPPA, as well as Illinois’ biometric privacy law that regulates facial recognition and scanning.