What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old.
Posted at 4:11 PM, Aug 19, 2014

A new report by The Wall Street Journal says search giant Google will officially offer accounts to children younger than 13 years of age.

Although we think it's safe to say there are probably thousands of under-13s who already have Google accounts, the new offering will reportedly give parents more control over their children's browsing habits within the Google ecosystem.

The tools will allow parents to monitor their kids' activity on Google's family-friendly YouTube and other services, all while giving parents control over what information Google collects. (Video via YouTube)

And several sources say when users sign up for a Google account on an Android device, they'll have to input their ages. (Video via Samsung)

According to the report, Google is trying to fall more in line with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, because "some parents are already trying to sign their kids up to the company's services. Google wants to make the process easier and compliant with the rules."

​COPPA is a law aimed at protecting children's privacy by setting strict regulations for websites that collect personal data, ensuring children's information is collected responsibly and within rigid guidelines.

A writer for ZDNet says the very initiative meant to protect privacy could serve to worsen the situation. "The move would propel Google into a complex minefield. ... COPPA requires parental consent for firms to collect child-based data, and there are stringent rules in how this data can be used for advertising purposes."

But a writer for Money might have the reason Google's willing to take the risk — apparently the education market can be quite profitable. "A child-suite of Google apps might make Chromebooks a viable alternative to the iPad among educators interested in introducing technology into the classroom."

Google has repeatedly declined to comment on the initiative. Until it's announced, you'll have to trust those sources familiar with the matter.