Last week, I pointed out how Google’s new Kid’s Space initiative looked eerily like it could be adapted to the Nest Hub UI and also how Area 120 recently shut down their popular kid’s reading app, Rivet. The company stated that they would be transitioning their books into Youtube, Kid’s Space and also to Assistant smart displays this winter. At Google’s Assistant Developer Day, they showcased an awesome new tool called the Interactive Canvas API, which will allow creators to make touch and voice controlled apps and experiences for smart displays, specifically geared towards children’s interest in education and storytelling.
Users can discover content in a simple, natural way through general Assistant requests. Your child will soon be able to say “Hey Google, teach me something new” and the Learning Hub will pop up with a ton of educational things for them to do. They can also say “Hey Google, tell me a story” and be read a bed time story, for example. These commands already pull up content they can interact with, but it will soon be contained within a space created just them. The Interactive Canvas API uses something called Built-in intents (BII) and will allow developers to get their experiences listed in this Hub for kids to try out. Basically, the ‘Learning Hub’ looks like it will be a kid-friendly interface that takes over your display and shows bright, vibrant colors, illustrations, topics and more that appeal to your child’s desire to learn and grow. You can see that the Kid’s Space interface almost looks like it has an identical layout, if you use your imagination a bit. Letting this Learning Hub take over the screen may be Google’s approach to making Assistant enabled smart displays safer and more approachable for children as opposed to adding separate profiles for different family members, as I had previously speculated.
Of course, everything I’m doing to tie Kid’s Space to Assistant smart displays could be completely wrong, but with the Interactive Canvas API getting its own spotlight at the developer event, it seems only logical that Google integrate Kid’s Space here or at least use it as a road map for the future of educational content and storytelling for children on smart displays. They have been doing a ton of work towards creating a safe, fun environment within their services for families these past two years with things like Family Link and Be Internet Awesome and I’m excited to see where they go next.