As Google Family Link continues to grow in popularity, it also continues to gain new tricks. In the last year alone, it’s become a well rounded home for both parents and children alike to learn about online safety and have peace of mind in what content is being taken into their homes. Tools like Be Internet Awesome, Rivet, the Family section of the Play Store and more show that Google is consistently thinking about how technology influences the lives of our little ones. Today, we’re going to be discussing another such tool called Kid’s Space and why I think it could become something you’ll want to keep an eye on.
As I spoke about yesterday when I mentioned that Area 120’s popular kid’s reading app, Rivet, was being sunset in favor of being moved into Google Assistant this Winter, a good chunk of its books were being moved into this newly curated service. Kid’s Space features hundreds of free teacher approved apps, books and videos for your kids to explore, learn and have fun with. They can even get daily jokes, topical content and more through the search function. You may be wondering why you haven’t heard of it yet. Having only been announced last month, it currently only works on a select few Lenovo Android tablets like the Smart Tab M10 HD Gen 2. It will be coming to other Android tablets down the line as well. So then why are we talking about it today? Take a look at the gif below and you’ll probably realize that the layout for Kid’s Space looks quite familiar.
Kids Space is designed with your kid at the center of the experience and made for them to become explorers of the things they love. By selecting their interests, your kids will see new and engaging content to read, play and make. Kids can even customize their experience by creating their own character.The Keyword
The entire interface looks like that of a Nest Hub, doesn’t it? Now I want to be clear up front and say that there is currently no evidence that Kid’s Space will be coming to Nest devices, but just look at it! Sometimes, you can analyze trends in Google’s design and vision and get a pretty strong feeling about where a service will go. Besides, I think that with all Google is doing to make their ecosystem kid friendly, our Nest Hub is far from it.
As of right now, my son can’t link his voice to the Hub since he’s under 13 years old, so it can’t give him contextual results based on his age and content preferences. It would be great if he were unable to get results from regular Youtube and instead received suggestions from Youtube Kids. Also, a lot of the content on the screen is world news or which isn’t kid friendly. Let’s not even discuss the music he accidentally plays when Google frequently mistakes his silly random sentences for requests.
I really think that Kid’s Space would make a lot of sense for the Nest Hub. Having a kid friendly destination for learning and fun where my son doesn’t mess with my calendar events or podcasts would be incredible. Should this come to pass, I imagine Google would have to add an account switcher to the Nest’s software via an update and I imagine it would look something like your Chromebook lockscreen when you have multiple users.
When we think of how Google continues to integrate children’s content like Rivet or Storynory into Assistant, a lot of what I’m saying here makes sense, though I admit it’s highly speculative. Kids often spend a lot of time playing Mad Libs and other Assistant based games too. Perhaps Google is realizing that kids love the Nest Hub as much as adults do.
I can already hear you asking about Kid’s Space on Chromebooks. Well, if this rolls out to all Android tablets in the near future, it only stands to reason that it should run on any Play Store enabled Chromebook, but I would personally love to see this as a web app. Youtube Kids went this route and web apps are pretty powerful nowadays. If it does come to Chromebooks, I think it would be a mistake for Google to make it into a “Kid’s Mode”, having it fully envelop the operating system like Amazon has done with FreeTime.
What are your thoughts on Kid’s Space? Do you think Google should bring it to Nest devices and Chromebooks? Let us know in the comments section how your children use Google Assistant to discover content!