When her daughter Google-searched “trains” expecting to find results about “Thomas the Tank Engine” but instead found Amtrak train information, Pavni Diwanji, vice president of engineering at Google, recognized a need. She is now on a mission to meet that need. Diwanji, a mother of two daughters, recently shared with USA Today Google’s plans to launch new versions of some of its products specifically designed for kids ages 12 and younger.
While the specifics have not been announced, Diwanji said the versions will be released next year and will not only provide a safe way for children to use the Internet but also encourage creativity and innovation.
"This is perhaps one of my greatest challenges," Diwanji told USA Today. "We want to lay the foundation right and then make sure every single part of Google is great for kids. They are the future, so why not give them the tools to let them create it."
According to PCMag.com, tech companies often avoid targeting youths due to precautions outlined in theChildren’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which “requires parental consent before sites can collect personal information for children under the age of 13.” PCMag notes that Google has struggled with COPPA and had to refund $19 million for app purchases made by kids via Android devices.
It appears that previous complications have not deterred Google’s desire to create kid-friendly products. Diwanji believes that children just need to be taught how to properly use technology in order to consume these products in a way that will benefit society.