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Google Confirms Plans for Kid-Friendly YouTube, Chrome
Sahil Patel / Dec 4, 2014
Google is moving forward with its plans to launch kid-friendly versions of some of its most popular products, including Chrome and YouTube.
In an interview with USA Today, Google’s VP of engineering Pavni Diwanji, who’s in charge of the effort, explained the company’s desire to launch versions of its most popular products that could be used by children 12 and under. “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,” she said.
That said, Diwanji did not provide specific information regarding how the kids’ services would function, or even when they might be released. USA Today described that it’s a “full-time effort” that includes testing beta versions with kids at Google’s offices.
While obvious why Google would want to create kids’ versions of Chrome and YouTube (a lot of kids probably use them!), it might not happen without controversy. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires internet companies to get consent from parents before collecting any sort of information on children under 13. And Google, like other web giants with large advertising businesses, has had its fair share of hiccups when it comes to issues related to privacy and collecting user information.
That said, the company seems to be cognizant about creating a product that parents would approve of. Currently, it’s testing ways in which parents can control the user experience on such services, including setting time limits.
News of Google’s plans for a kids’ version of YouTube was first reported by The Information last summer. While Diwanji is overseeing the entire initiative, longtime YouTube executive Malik Ducard, who was put in charge of the site’s kids and learning division earlier this year, is leading work on the YouTube product.
Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, when I worked for him 20 years ago, taught me that we tend to over-estimate change in the short term and under-estimate it in the long term. So it can be pretty obvious what is coming but not at all obvious when. And what we know about the when of it is that making money from new technologies is often a matter of investing right before that bend upward in the hockey stick of exponential change.
This guest post is part of a series from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Captivate project, which presents insights from media industry thought leaders on new strategies for audience engagement.
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BitTorrent Goes Legit With Its First Original Web Series Tries to change perception as an illegal downloading service By Michelle Castillo
November 26, 2014, 7:30 AM ESTTechnology
Peer-to-peer file sharing platform BitTorrent wants to change what the public thinks it does. Instead of being associated with all the illegal TV shows, movies and illicit content it can store, the tech company wants to be seen as a provider of premium legal content.
Next fall, BitTorrent will distribute its first original Web series, Children of the Machine. The series is helmed by Marco Weber (producer of Igby Goes Down and The Thirteenth Floor) and takes place in the year 2031, in a futuristic society where androids take over and force humans to band together to survive. And, if you're interested, the only place to get it is to download it via a BitTorrent Bundle, a service that allows artists to release content directly to consumers.
"This is a science fiction show catered to the typical tech-savvy, male-dominated audience," Weber said. "We're not trying to launch a romantic comedy, so the concept of this show moved us toward BitTorrent."
Currently, BitTorrent has more than 170 million users around the world, the majority of whom are male. Over 2 million legally licensed pieces of content are available via BitTorrent, often through the Bundle program. Artists who opt into the Bundle program get 90 percent of the sales revenue, as well as data on those who downloaded their content. Tom Yorke released his album Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, and electronic music superstar Diplo dropped Mad Descent Block Party and F10rida through this program.
Weber said he chose to release his show with BitTorrent because the site's users are his target demographic, which means a built-in audience for him and his future advertisers. The pilot and an ad-supported version of Children of the Machine will be made available for free download, but those who want to skip ads can pay $4.95 for the eight-episode season or $9.95 for bonus content. Six weeks after the pilot is released, the show will be available all at once, much like the Netflix model. The show has not signed any ad deals yet, but it's in talks with technology industry companies.
"If you put a commercial in a TV pilot, you don't get the audience as focused as you get on BitTorrent," Weber explained.
BitTorrent PR manager Kevin Fu explained that at its core, the company allows computers to talk to each other and move large data files. While that data can include information from Facebook, Amazon and Blizzard Entertainment, it can also include pirated content from platforms like The Pirate Bay. The very name "BitTorrent" has become linked with illegal downloads, but the company wants to fix that.
"We haven't done a great job over time of owning that brand name," Fu explained. "It's something that we’re working on changing."
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I am Ben Huh. The LOLcats guy. The story of our new app is one of success, reward, failure and redemption.