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YouTube Kids makes its India debut to provide a safe video streaming avenue for kiddos

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We techies rejoice over the launch of something shiny and new every other day. But today, it’s time for us to see that notorious smile and gleam in the eyes of the kiddos, which will be accompanied by relief signs on the face of their worrisome parents. All this thanks to the application called ‘YouTube Kids,’ which Google has finally debuted for the little ones in India.

This kid-focused video streaming app solves one of the prominent headaches of being a parent — to have control on the content and make sure their kid doesn’t stray from watching nursery rhymes to something obscene. Yes, we are all aware of the fact that YouTube is a treasure trove for different types of video content. And one can easily get from one video to another, thanks to the fantastic algorithmic recommendation engine.

The ‘YouTube Kids’ app first debuted in the United States in February last year with the primary aim of making video streaming and discovery super-super-simple and safe for kids. During the official launch, the ideology behind the kid-friendly YouTube app was described as,

YouTube Kids app, the first Google product built from the ground up with little ones in mind. The app makes it safer and easier for children to find videos on topics they want to explore.

The decision of finally introducing the ‘YouTube Kids’ app in the country can be directly attributed to the extensive consumption of content produced for kids. In India, the kids YouTube channels that upload nursery rhymes, songs, animated cartoons, and alphabet or numeral pronunciation rank second among the most watched channels in terms of views. They only trail behind the mainstream music and entertainment channels in terms of both subscriber and view count. Some of the most popular channels include ChuChuTV, CVS 3D Rhymes, and Videogyaan among others.

‘YouTube Kids’ is an app-only offering from YouTube, with no availability of a desktop version of the same. The app also packs in a handful of oh-so-very useful features, including family-focused content, parental controls, and voice search among others. The moment you power up the ‘YouTube Kids’ app, you’re greeted with a beautiful splash screen which

The moment you power up the ‘YouTube Kids’ app, you’re greeted with a beautiful splash screen which then requires an oldie(i.e a parent) to setup the application for their kids. The user even need to input a numeric lock code to start the app and gain access to the settings. The user interface of this kid-friendly app is dead simple and features four distinct categories – Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore – to display channels(and playlists). And once you start to watch content on the app, another ‘Recommended’ category will appear before Shows at the top.

For the ease of kiddos, the YouTube team has kept layout quite sparse with large featured images, bold icons, and no extra video controls, expect the play/pause, next video, and caption buttons. The YouTube Kids app even features voice search to enable preschoolers who’re unable to type to search content. Also, since the content on the app is curated and narrowed down, you cannot sign up and upload content on here.

As for parental controls, the user has control over the duration for which your kid has access to the application. Once that session is over, the app will itself alert your child of the same. The app also allows you to turn off the background music and sound effects, and turn off the search option to limit kids to the selection of video available on the home screen — which can be limited for certain ages. Also, you have the additional functionality of being able to cast the content on your television set.

The debut of this ‘YouTube Kids’ service in India comes on the heels of the imminent growth and competition that will ensue among video steaming platforms Netflix, YouTube and Amazon respectively. While YouTube has launched the app today, the content has always been accessible on the core platform from the very start. It just didn’t provide the excessive control over the service, like this app does.

Netflix, on the other hand, has always had a ‘Kids’ section with age-appropriate content. It ranges from Barbie, Alvin and the Chipmunks for the preschoolers to Full house, Good Witch for preteens. There is the immediate lack of local content on the platform. But Amazon Prime Video, expected to debut in coming months, is planning to compensate for the same. It has also started building its animated content library in an exclusive partnership with Green Gold and will make popular shows and movies like Chhota Bheem, Mighty Raju available for the kids.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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