Google today announced that its Family Link service is now available to families in the US without the need for an invite. Family link was first announced by Google back in March of this year, although since then it has relied on interesting parties applying for and receiving an invite to take part in the service. Which is what has now changed as anyone based in the US can now use the service just by downloading the app for free from the Google Play Store.
Family Link is Google's way of helping parents to be more involved and better informed on their children's use of the Android ecosystem. This is of particular relevance for those with younger children as the Family Link service is primarily aimed at parents of kids under the age of 13. Once up and running the service will allow the parent to control multiple aspects of their kid's Android device, including choice over what apps are downloaded to a device, the ability to set times the Android device is operational, as well as the ability to see usage information such as screen on time. All aspects which cannot be overridden or changed by the youngster without the parents intervention.
Google explains in today's announcement that setting up Family Link is fairly simply as the system will automatically download and apply the Family Link service on devices where the user is listed as under 13 during setup. So all the parent will need to do is set up the user account for the child on a new device by creating a user name and inputting the date of birth at which point the system will automatically identify the user as under the age of 13 and make the necessary changes including downloading Family Link. To fully take advantage of what the service has to offer parents will also need to the download the Family Link app on their own device, as this will be the easiest way to control the accessible content and see usage details. As for caveats, the most notable one is that Family Link is only available on kid's devices running Android 7.0 (Nougat) at a minimum.