The Chromecast with Google TV gets a whole lot right, but there are still a handful of things most users would like to see added to the experience. Probably the most-requested addition would be the ability for multiple users to be able to sign in and swap between their accounts at will. In a perfect world, it would look a lot like it does on a Chromebook, allowing signed-in users to move seamlessly between accounts. If this was in place, multiple users in a single household could get customized recommendations on Google TV’s main home screen by simply moving to their account when watching.
While not quite the multi-account solution many are clamoring looking for, Google is making steps in the right direction with the new addition of kids accounts on Google TV. Announced back in February of this year, kids accounts allow users to add additional users to the Chromecast with Google TV for easy switching that keeps child-centered content out of your recommendations and keeps the kiddos locked down to content that is more appropriate for them.
The solution is pretty elegant and can be completely handled via the Chromecast and remote. To get started, simply head to the switch account area (the easiest way to get there is to hold down the home button for a few seconds) and select ‘switch account’. From there, you’ll be taken to a screen that shows your logged-in account and the option to add a kid. Again, this is painfully close to just allowing us to add another adult account, but for the rest of this article I’ll try to steer clear of that comparison.
Once you select the option to add a kid, you’ll take one of two paths: you can select a child account from your Google Family if they are already set up there via Family Link or you can create a brand new profile. The simplicity here deserves some praise as you won’t need to create a full-blown Google account for your child if you don’t want to, and either way – account or no – you can see activity and manage things in the Family Link app. It is very slick.
If you go the route of not using an existing account, the setup is still minimal and quick, only asking for the child’s first name and age so that appropriate material can be suggested down the road. After you go through the standard privacy stuff, you’ll be prompted to get a text message for verification of the creation of this pseudo-account and you’ll be off and running. I love that Google is now beginning to understand that not everyone wants a Google account and they are allowing this setup to happen with or without one.
After this technical stuff, you get into content management and have a few options that can all be adjusted later in the Chromecast settings – again – right from your television. After selecting what apps and streaming services you will allow for the account, you’ll have the ability to set screen time limits, choose what can be accessed from your family library, choose a theme, set up YouTube Kids, and put a parental lock in place. Just like the other options, you can change access to and new apps you download to the main account whenever you choose, so don’t get to caught up in what to select at this point.
Most of this is straightforward, but my favorite addition here is the profile lock. This setting basically locks down the Chromecast once a child account is in use. If you attempt to exit that profile and go to a parent profile or change settings, you need a password or PIN. If you are cautious about what your kids do and don’t watch, this setting is an absolute must and will keep the Chromecast in the child account until you are ready to have it exit.
That’s about it! Once you have this done in what takes about 5-10 minutes, your children can have their own, custom accounts and see content that is suited for them and their interests. After the setup, you can go under the settings menu in the ‘Accounts & Sign In’ section to manage your kids accounts and adjust all the screen time and content you would like, just as you did during setup. We hope this helps you out and really hope this means multi-account support is truly on the way for the Chromecast with Google TV. It looks like everything is ready and in place for that to be the case, so we’re just waiting on Google to flip the switch. I know I said I would try not to mention the comparison again, but I couldn’t help myself. We’re so close!