Currently Google's services are technically only meant for people over the age of 13 years due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The new services, which include YouTube and Gmail, will be geared towards children, however parents will be able to control the types of data collected, and there will be restrictions placed on how it can be used and stored.
What's the motivation behind this new Google move? It's long been understood how effective selling to children can be - the education market is certainly lucrative. Could Google be preparing the child market for their new Chromebooks... perhaps as an alternative to the iPad in the classroom?
The exponential rise in technology in the home and in the classroom means kids today are becoming tech-literate from a much younger age. This 1-year old is so wired she thinks a magazine is an iPad:
In two years the number of households with tablets rose by 150%. iPads are popular with nurseries too, as they enable traditional activities like listening to the teacher reading a story to become immersive, interactive experiences.
61% of three year olds use tablets, and 8% have their own device. Tablet use is now predicted to rise most amongst the under-12s.
Google's taken note of the trend and has decided now is the time to allow younger users into their network -recruiting disciples - like Jonah - from a younger age, it would seem.