If you're taking care of a little one and updates to the YouTube Kids app are actually opportunities for excitement, you've probably been feeling a little let down by the last few version bumps. It's not that anybody really needs it to keep up with the likes of Google Maps or the core YouTube app, but a few big features are surely welcome. This version isn't actually packed with anything notably new for users today, but it brings promises of some things to come. A teardown shows that kids will be able to enjoy videos in VR and parents will be able to block videos and channels right from within the app.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
Daydream VR for Kids
Google began dabbling in virtual reality with Cardboard. To most of us, this was a novelty that wore out rather quickly; but it proved to be very successful with kids and even became a staple in some classrooms.
This year Google is stepping up its game with Daydream VR. Phones will require much higher specs to be deemed Daydream-ready, the first-party viewers are considerably more comfortable, and there's now a separate controller. All of these things should make Daydream VR much more appealing to adults, but that doesn't mean Google is ignoring the demographic that's already enjoying what Cardboard brought to the table. YouTube Kids will support Daydream.
<string name="dialog_message_incompatible_phone">A Daydream-ready phone is required. Visit the Daydream Help Center for more information.</string>
<string name="dialog_title_incompatible_phone">Incompatible phone</string>
<string name="dialog_title_vr_core_not_enabled">Setup required</string>
<string name="dialog_title_vr_core_not_installed">Install required</string>
Given that there are so few strings, there's really not much more to add. At this point the only thing to think about is how extensive the support could be, but it's likely to match whatever the core YouTube app will bring to the table.
The whole point of the YouTube Kids app is to provide kid-friendly entertainment to those fragile little humans with impressionable minds. While it does a pretty good job, there are occasionally incidents where questionable material gets through. For these situations, adults are always free to flag videos as inappropriate content so the curation staff can look into it. However, there are some videos that land in a more complicated middle-ground. They aren't inappropriate for some age groups, but they may contain material that conflicts with individual family values. YouTube is going to offer a new option to parents, allowing them to block videos or channels so they won't turn up in the content stream for their kids.
<string name="accessibility_blacklist">block video</string>
<string name="account_removal_confirm_message">Any videos you've blocked are watchable while signed out</string>
<string name="account_selector_fragment_body_text_consented">Sign in to block videos in YouTube Kids</string>
<string name="add_account_fragment_body_text">Sign in to block videos in YouTube Kids</string>
<string name="blacklist_menu_block_video_title">Block this video</string>
<string name="block_not_allowed">Sorry, this feature is for grown-ups only.</string>
<string name="on_blacklist_offline">This video will be blocked from your app.</string>
<string name="on_clear_blacklist_succeed">All videos unblocked.</string>
<string name="sign_in_welcome_block_text">Sign in to block videos in YouTube Kids.</string>
<string name="sign_in_welcome_non_red_text">Sign in to block videos</string>
<string name="unblock_videos_dialog_message">This means all YouTube Kids videos and channels that you previously blocked will be available to watch.</string>
<string name="unblock_videos_dialog_positive_button">Yes, unblock</string>
<string name="unblock_videos_dialog_title">Unblock videos in YouTube Kids?</string>
<string name="unblock_videos_pref_summary">Allow access to all videos in YouTube Kids</string>
<string name="unblock_videos_pref_title">Unblock videos</string>
<string name="flag_logged_out">Thanks for reporting this video. We'll review it shortly. To block this video from your app immediately, sign in.</string>
Again, this feature is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't waste time explaining how blocking works. The basic points are that blocked videos go onto a blacklist that can be managed through the grown-up's interface. The blacklist can also be cleared entirely, returning any blocked content to the pool of possible videos.
While all of this is pretty basic, there's one oddity amongst the strings, and it deserves to be called out because it appears to be a feature many people have asked for in the main YouTube interface for years. Most of the strings only mention blocking videos, but one line goes further and mentions channels. Speaking on behalf of millions of YouTube regulars, there are some content creators I simply don't want to see... Ever.
Please YouTube, give us the ability to block channels in the core app.
New child-safe locks
Anybody with experience using YouTube Kids will be familiar with the current method to keep kids out of the Settings screen. It's basically a captcha that spells out four numbers and expects users to correctly enter them as digits. While it's effective for a while, kids can easily defeat this lock with basic reading skills. It's also pretty annoying to use.
Now it looks like the YouTube Kids app might adopt a classic solution: just ask users for the year they were born. It's not a unique method, but it certainly should work. Most kids don't pay much attention to birthdays (except for their own) for several years, and knowing the year is even less common, making this a fairly elegant and effective solution.
<string name="age_gate_confirm_dialog_message">You said you were born in %1$d, is that correct?</string>
<string name="age_gate_confirm_dialog_title">Confirm year of birth</string>
<string name="age_gate_failure_message">Sorry, this feature is for grown-ups only.</string>
<string name="age_gate_instructions">Used to verify age and won't be stored</string>
<string name="age_gate_title">Enter the year you were born</string>
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.