Laying rumours to rest, Google has today officially unveiled, a specialised, hand-crafted version for ‘tykes’, the YouTube Kids. However, this announcement may not exactly come as a surprise, considering that Google’s YouTube team had already confirmed to The Tech Portal, about an upcoming, kids-only version for YouTube.
Announcing the same via a Blog Post, the YouTube Kids team says,
Today, we’re introducing the 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, and is available for free on Google Play and the App Store in the U.S.
Yea, so before we jump onto discover as to how Google has done some serious groundwork, instead of just filtering content, do read the quoted text above, once again. The app is currently available only in the U.S., with no official word as to when will it be out for other regions.
So how is it different ? Is it just a filtered down version of the YouTube, embodied in the form of an app, or an entirely different app built from scratch ?
Well, for starters, it definitely is not a toned down YouTube. The team has done some pretty serious ground work to bring this app. It features almost everything which kids should ‘actually’ be watching, and has some pretty solid built in parental controls so that parents can keep a check on their little ones’ screen activity.
As mentioned in previous reports, the app features a playful design, synonymous to the age group for which it has been designed. There is less of a clutter (like in the original YouTube these days), and more of content. Icons are bold, colourful and yes, expressive. If I were a kid and I would have had such a thing in my times, I would have easily fallen in love with it. As Google mentions,
the app’s design makes it even easier to find Pocoyo or the latest episode of Sesame Street’s The Furchester Hotel.
Google has kept in mind that while the content has to be engaging, kids aren’t supposed to stay glued to it after all ! To check that, YouTube Kids has some pretty decent parental control features. It has a built-in Timer, which lets ‘app be the bad guy’ and automatically ‘alerts’ toddlers that the session is expiring. Well, it ‘alerts’.
There’s a feature to turn off the in-app background music. Yes ! YouTube Kids has in-app background sound-effects, which can be easily turned off/on.
Further, parents can also limit the extent to which videos are searchable. They can restrict the content to a few pre-selected videos, or let the whole of content be available to their child. And at the end, there’s Google’s Feedback wherein parents can tell as to what they loathe or love about YouTube Kids. Google has promised to workaround those feedbacks.