Apparently, YouTube isn’t the only app that Google wants to make more child-friendly. A few months ago, the search giant created a version of its popular video sharing platform aimed to be safe for kids, but it looks like they aren’t stopping there. In a mysterious job posting, Google appears to be hiring legal counsel to help them bring their Geo products like Maps and Earth to kids. It’s not surprising that Google plans on hiring a few more lawyers in the wake of the controversy surrounding the release of YouTube Kids. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and consumer advocacy groups have complained about misleading ads and inappropriate content displayed in the app.
Google announced their plans to make some of their products more child appropriate last year, but until now YouTube was the only platform to receive the preschool treatment. It appears that going forward, YouTube may only be the tip of the iceberg. Google declined to comment on the specifics of the posting or of its roadmap for the future, however this could be the beginning of a new era of child-safe internet services from one of the most ubiquitous companies in the tech industry.
Back in June, at Google I/O, some changes were announced to the Play Store bringing age-based ratings to their apps and digital content. It appears that Google plans to continue its family-centric approach. This only leaves one to wonder what else could receive this kind of child-friendly overhaul. In the future, we could have child-friendly hangouts or even Gmail, but with recent security issues like the StageFright exploit that Google has been dealing with, this could present a potential problem.
While parents are more connected to technology than ever these days, they may not be willing to let their little tykes hand over information to a company like Google or to the thousands of advertising agencies that work with them. Legislators and consumer advocacy groups may also stand in Google’s way, especially if any more glaring security holes present themselves. It will be interesting to see how they will address these concerns in the future.