Google confirms that it's designing kid-friendly versions of its services

Google doodle for kids

Those murmurs that Google was retooling its services for kids? Yep, they're real. The search giant tells USA Today that it's creating versions of its products for the 12-and-under crowd, with plans to start launching them in 2015. The company isn't saying just what content will get the child-friendly treatment, but it's most likely to involve things with a broad appeal, such as YouTube. There are hints that it might also prioritize search results for things kids expect. A search for "trains," for example, may put more emphasis on Thomas the Tank Engine than mass transit.

This effort won't just be for the sake of filtering out "naughty" media or tightening privacy controls, either. Google pitches this as a chance to encourage creativity; it wants the next generation to make technology, not just use it. Child-oriented Google products are likely to come under close scrutiny from watchdogs making sure that they aren't collecting personal info. If they work, however, they could help establish a "kid's internet" where parents can feel safer about the apps and sites that their little ones use.