Google Is Coming For Your Children, Facebook Starts Tagging Satire, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Also, the HP Stream 14 is revealed, YouTube Music Key is teased, Murdoch compares Google to the NSA, Reddit lands on Xbox One, and Flappy Bird makes way for Swing Copters.

Google Aiming To Become Child-Friendly

Google is trying to make itself more child-friendly so that it can legally bring kids aged 13-or-under into the fold. The Information [Paywall] claims Google is making concerted efforts in a number of different areas to ensure under-13s are allowed to use its services.

In the U.S., the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) protects the collection of data about all persons under the age of 13. Companies wishing to cater to children therefore need to jump through a number of legal hoops in order to do so. COPPA is why no one under the age of 13 is legally allowed to join Facebook, though plenty of children do so.

According to GigaOM, Google wants to create a child-friendly version of YouTube, a control panel for parents to control their children’s online activities, and age verification on Android devices. Even with all of this, Google would still have to secure “verifiable consent” from parents before adding children to its userbase. But if anyone can, Google can. Parents beware.

Facebook Users Need Satire To Be Flagged

Facebook is experimenting (again!) by adding a “[Satire]” tag to satirical news articles shared on its platform. The social network suggests it received feedback requesting “a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles.

Ars Technica reports that the “[Satire]” tag is only being added to the “Related Articles” unit which appears under links shared by users, and even then it’s only being applied to selected websites such as The Onion. Which means it would have missed our April Fools’ Tech New Digest.

If this puts an end to the wonder that is Literally Unbelievable then we’ll be annoyed. Surely people dumb enough to believe such blatantly satirical news items deserve to be ridiculed by those of us with more than two brain cells to rub together.

HP Stream 14 Is Possible Chromebook Killer

Just last month, Microsoft unveiled plans for a new line of affordable Windows laptops, with the HP Stream 14 being one name mentioned. Now, thanks to Mobile Geeks getting hold of an official specs sheet, we know just what to expect from the HP Stream 14.

This $199 Windows 8.1 laptop boasts a 1366p x 768p display, an AMD chipset, 2GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB of flash memory, an SDXC card slot, three USB slots, an HDMI slot, and a built-in webcam. Which makes the HP Stream 14 akin to a Chromebook running Windows. Google must be scared.

YouTube’s Music Service Gets Outed

More details have emerged about YouTube’s forthcoming music service, which YouTube confirmed in June is launching later in 2014. According to Android Police, the subscription service has been named YouTube Music Key and will cost $9.99 a month after an initial 30-day free trial available to all.

That fee will grant users the chance to listen to the audio from YouTube music videos on mobile devices, including offline and/or in the background. It’s difficult to see how this differs from the other premium streaming music services already in existence, but we should know more in the coming months.

Rupert Murdoch Provides Twitter Gold

Rupert Murdoch continues to provide the rest of us with Twitter gold by tweeting before engaging his brain. The tweet above, which he sent out to his followers over the weekend, sees him comparing Google unfavorably to the National Security Agency.

Whether you agree with him or not, this is ironic given what happened at the News Of The World under Murdoch’s ownership. Thankfully, plenty of Twitter users have called Murdoch out on his hypocrisy. And long may the octogenarian carry on tweeting to give us all a good laugh.

Microsoft Brings Reddit To Xbox One

Microsoft is bringing Reddit to the Xbox One, with an official ReddX app being launched in the U.S. and Canada on Aug. 19. ReddX will work in a similar way to the Reddit website, with Xbox One owners able to browse subreddits, dish out upvotes and downvotes, and even add comments using the Xbox One controller.

Flappy Bird Creator Reveals Swing Copters

And finally, Dong Nguyen is back with a new game. Who’s he? Only the guy responsible for Flappy Bird, the free mobile game which took the world by storm before Dong pulled it from app stores. Flappy Bird was frustratingly difficult to beat, and Dong has sought to punish us all once again.

His new game is Swing Copters, and it’s essentially Flappy Bird by another name. Apart from the main character, the addition of swinging hammers, and the fact you play vertically rather than horizontally, this is the same game in a different outfit. It’s a free download though, so we really shouldn’t complain.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do Google’s efforts to become more child-friendly fill you with hope or fear? Are you dumb enough to need satirical articles flagged on Facebook? Will you be downloading Swing Copters?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Eirik Solheim via Flickr

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