A new report from The Information says Google is working to expand some of their services so that they can tap into the market of children under the age of 13. Currently Google’s terms of services forbid users under the age of 13. However, Google apparently wants to allow some access to their services for children in that demographic, subject to appropriate restrictions and in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Similar to other online services that allow young users to setup accounts, Google’s new offerings would require parental authorization.
A couple notable issues have been identified related to the change. First, when users setup new Android devices, they are currently not required to share their age. This means a user under 13 could get around the current age restrictions imposed by the desktop web interface by setting up new Google accounts as part of the process of setting up a new Android phone. Apparently Google’s data on users now includes users without age information if this is the path they chose to create their accounts. If Google implements these changes, a question about a users age would be added to the Android setup process.
The report also indicates Google is working on a child-safe version of YouTube. It is unclear whether this would end up being a separate offering or if the YouTube platform would just recognize a users age and only display certain content based on that.