Google TV added kids profiles to the platform in 2021, giving young viewers their own portal designed to showcase only age-appropriate content. Today, the company is building upon kids profiles with new features, including parent-managed watchlists, recommendations on the homescreen, and supervised usage of the normal YouTube app. All of these software capabilities begin rolling out today and will continue to reach Google TV customers over the next several weeks.
Managed watchlists are exactly what they sound like: parents can add movies and TV shows to a universal watchlist that will appear on the child’s Google TV homescreen. This will make it easy for them to progress from one video to the next. Adding content to a kids profile is simple: just select a movie or TV show as you normally would, press the watchlist button, and choose the right account.
Google is also bringing specific content recommendations directly to the homescreen for kids profiles. Until now, that homescreen has just displayed various kid-friendly streaming apps — but without the actual recs that appear on adult accounts. According to the company, these recommendations are “based on the apps you’ve added and the rating settings you’ve set.” Google notes it’s easy to hide anything you don’t want to appear on the homescreen again.
And lastly, Google is trying to create a natural pipeline for moving young viewers up and onward from YouTube Kids and get them using the regular YouTube app — with adult supervision along the way. “If you have older kids in your home that are ready to move on from YouTube Kids, Google TV now supports a supervised experience on YouTube, so they can start exploring more of what YouTube has to offer with their Google TV kids profile,” Google TV product manager Saleh Altayyar wrote in today’s blog post. “This experience comes with content settings for pre-teens and older, adjusts the features your child can use, and lets you block channels and manage additional controls through the YouTube mobile app.”
Opening up the full YouTube vault to younger users seems like the biggest gamble of Google’s new steps, but there’s nothing forcing parents to take that step until they’re ready. These new kid-centric features come alongside a redesigned Family Link app that Google is introducing today. The new version makes it easier and quicker to find commonly used tools and features, and there’s now a Highlights tab that “shows a snapshot of your child’s app usage, screen time and recently installed apps.”