Tech News

Google Comes For Your Children, Spotify Details Your Year In Music, & More…[Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 04-12-2014

Also, Bing Pulse polls audiences, Google fixes CAPTCHAs, eBay opens Innovators Collective, and a Freaks & Geeks YouTube adventure.


Google Wants Children (To Use Its Products)

Google is set to start targeting children under the age of 13 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. Read More , with plans to develop a range of products designed for kids. According to USA Today, these are likely to be child-friendly versions of popular Google products, such as YouTube and the Chrome Web browser.

As it stands, kids under the age of 13 are protected by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). This federal law means tech companies are limited in their dealings with children, which is why Facebook and others require users to be over the age of 13.

However, plenty of children under the age of 13 are present on Facebook How To Get Kids To Use Facebook Responsibly Over the last few weeks, news hit the Internet that Facebook is looking at ways to allow kids under 13 to use Facebook under parental supervision. For quite some time now, Facebook has required all... Read More and use the same websites as adults with or without permission to do so. Google is keen to add those youngsters to its userbase, hence the plans outlined by Pavni Diwanji, Google’s vice president of engineering.

Diwanji explained, “The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there’s a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children. We expect this to be controversial, but the simple truth is kids already have the technology in schools and at home, so the better approach is to simply see to it that the tech is used in a better way.

Google hasn’t set out a detailed timetable for this initiative, but suggested this will be a “full-time effort” starting in 2015. Diwanji concluded that the company wants to “make sure every single part of Google is great for kids. They are the future, so why not give them the tools to let them create it.” Why not, indeed.


Spotify Reviews Your 2014 Listening Habits

Spotify knows more about your taste in music than you do. We know this thanks to the new Your Year In Music tool, which details the artists, songs, and genres you were addicted to during the course of 2014.

This tool reveals your top five songs of the year, which countries your musical heroes hail from, and how your tastes changed between Spring and Summer. Even better, it creates a playlist of 100 songs Spotify knows you love based on your listening habits over the past 12 months.

For more streaming music goodies, check out our list of apps that make Spotify even better Streaming Music Secrets: How To Get More Out Of Spotify As brilliant as the standard Spotify experience is, it can be improved via the use of websites and apps, transforming an already excellent service into an unmissable one. Read More .

Microsoft Opens Bing Pulse Up To All

Microsoft is opening up Bing Pulse to everybody. Bing Pulse measures audience engagement levels in real-time, as demonstrated in the video above. After partnering with news networks such as CNN and Fox News, Microsoft is expanding Bing Pulse out to a wider audience.


The Bing Pulse 2.0 beta is available for free until Jan. 31, 2015, at which point Microsoft will release it as a freemium product. A basic version will therefore be available for free, with additional features opened up for those willing to pay for the privilege.

Google Is Simplifying CAPTCHAs

Google is radically simplifying the CAPTCHA user experience. CAPTCHAs are those annoying prompts designed to stop spambots in their tracks by asking users to type out two words. Unfortunately, according to Google, they’re no longer very effective, with bots able to solve CAPTCHAs with an astonishing 99.8 percent accuracy.

This has led to the new API Google is slowly rolling out to users. The “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA” drops the mangled words in favor of asking you to tick a box to confirm you’re not a robot. If Google’s risk analysis engine fails to determine whether or not you’re a bot, you may then see another, simpler CAPTCHA.

EBay Opens Innovators Collective Section

EBay has opened up a new section of the site dedicated to promoting exciting new products. Named Innovators Collective, the section contains products such as the app-controlled ball Sphero 8 Cool Smartphone-Controlled Toys You Secretly Desire! Who says toys are just for kids? As someone who grew up on remote-controlled cars, the prospect of a smartphone-controlled gadget is tantalizing to me even well into adulthood. And with the kind of cool... Read More , the Bluetooth-enabled gramophone Gramovox, and the Orange Chef smart food scale. All of which are great gadget gift ideas for geeks 20 Gadget Gift Ideas For Geeks Geeks love gadgets 365 days a year. However, with the holidays approaching, we really need to start compiling our Christmas lists. Read More .


Rogen & Franco Play Freaks & Geeks

And finally, who better to test out the interactive YouTube version of Freaks & Geeks than Seth Rogen and James Franco? After all, the pair starred in the short-lived cult television show before hitting it big in Hollywood.

Watching the actors play the quasi-8-bit versions of themselves is thoroughly entertaining. But even more entertaining, especially for fans of Freaks & Geeks, is playing this Choose Your Own Adventure-style YouTube game for yourself. So go do that right now.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Are you happy to see Google creating products aimed at children? How is your Spotify Year In Music looking (or sounding)? Like Seth Rogen and James Franco, have you played the Freaks & Geeks adventure on YouTube?

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: Kristina Alexanderson via Flickr

Related topics: eBay, Microsoft Bing, Parental Control, Spotify.

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  1. Justin Pot
    December 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    There has to be something I'm missing about this captcha. Is it using information Google already has to determine whether I'm real or not? Like my search history or something? Because it seems pretty easy for a spambot to lie about being human...

    • Dave Parrack
      December 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      It doesn't say it clearly in the article I linked to but I think it's all to do with the mouse movements made before solving and the time spent on the page. This is the "risk analysis engine" I referred to.

  2. dragonmouth
    December 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    "Google Wants Children"
    The assimilation has begun. Resistance is futile!

    The battle for their minds, bodies and WALLETS starts early.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 12, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      I must admit that thought did stir in the back of my mind. Why would Google want to risk losing business by waiting until the next generation of users reaches 13?!

  3. Dev Rathi
    December 4, 2014 at 11:45 am

    After reading the article above, I am confirmed that Google is not only a search engine, It is our friend or any relative. It always helps us whenever we are in difficulty. Now Google is focusing on small children at a small age to develop their mindset. Children can take use of advance technologies and can increase their knowledge.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      That's certainly one way of looking at it. Obviously there is a less positive take too, which is that Google wants to get people using its products at an increasingly young age. Not only does this assure the company's future, it means they can collect more data on people and their use of the Web than ever before.