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Google to launch a kid-friendly ‘YouTube Kids’ app next week


In a move to make the video service more kid-friendly, YouTube has launched a new app YouTubeKids for Android. The free app will offer a library of age appropriate videos and will be available on the Play Store from  February 23.

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YouTube Kids was developed by in-house engineers by taking suggestions from parents and testers from organizations like Common Sense Media. Featured videos will include “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Yo Gabba Gabba” without displaying any inappropriate elements. Comments will also be hidden and parents can control the amount of time spent on the app.”Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids,” said Shimrit Ben-Yair.

The app’s demo reveals a home with a tiled design showing images of popular kids shows. Five simple icons like a TV set for browsing videos, radio for viewing popular songs, light bulb for educational programming and binoculars for the top videos. YouTube has opted for a big tiled design for a kid-friendly experience and along with voice based search.

Ben-Yair mentioned that the product was the response to several requests from parents for a kid-friendly video service. He added that YouTube’s viewing figures increased by 50 percent growth while family viewing saw a 200 percent growth. The company’s move is seen as a way to attract the younger generation similar to Netflix’s children portal while Amazon is offering children’s programs.

Safety features prevent kids from accidentally searching for “sex” which will result in a ‘Try something else’ prompt. The auto shutdown feature  is secured with the password for opening it again. YouTube has not revealed if the app will be released for iOS though it is expected to be released on other platforms after knowing the parents’ feedback. The app will be a boon to parents who can teach educational videos through their smartphone or tablet.

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About Anirudh Madhav

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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