Toddlers deserve teardowns too! Ok, maybe teardowns are still for grownups, but let's do something for those little ones that haven't learned to read xml yet. The YouTube Kids app has only been available since late February, so it's fair to expect a lot of changes and new features in each release. Last week's update brought immersive mode and better voice search, but a look inside revealed that there are some extra toys in the future. To begin with, it looks like Chromecast support is right around the corner. However, the really cool addition appears to be a built-in recording mode to capture your little one singing along to The Wheels On The Bus.
Record and Watch Sing-Alongs With Your Kids
Are you raising the next Taylor Swift or Usher? Maybe you're just hoping for a kid that can carry a tune. Wouldn't it be great if you could record every moment to relive or show off to your friends in the future? Sure, you could try to get a good angle with your phone (heh, or Google Glass), but it would be better if you could get the perfect front row seat without even having to try. YouTube Kids is going to make that as easy as pressing a button.
A new video recording feature is in the works. There aren't a lot of resources for this one, but it's pretty straight-forward. When music videos are playing, there will be a simple button to begin recording. I assume this specifically uses the front-facing camera of a tablet or phone. Stopping a recording should pop up options to either save or delete videos.
Of course, once you've recorded a masterpiece, you'll want to be able to watch it. YouTube Kids will provide a separate screen for browsing through just your sing-alongs. The icon below will either mark the recordings of your children singing or it's the icon to enter the browsing screen, I'm not sure which, yet.
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<activity android:configChanges="keyboardHidden|orientation|screenSize" android:launchMode="standard" android:name="com.google.android.apps.youtube.kids.activities.BrowseSingAlongActivity" android:screenOrientation="sensorLandscape" android:theme="@style/AppTheme.Standard"/>
<string name="sing_along_my_videos_tile">My Videos</string>
Notice, one string makes reference to "my channel," which suggests videos might be automatically uploaded to YouTube for storage. I would expect everything to default to private mode, but I haven't seen any conclusive proof yet.
I'm still not quite sure, but judging by a banner, I suspect there will also be a dedicated section for finding videos to sing along to.
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Finally, there are two full-screen images that go along with sing-alongs. They're neat to look at, but they don't really provide any additional context.
I don't have kids, but I think this is a super cool thing for parents to enjoy. If you can't get enough pictures or videos of your children, soon you'll be able to record a fairly unique and personal perspective that's not easy to get any other way.
If you know what a Chromecast is and what it's for, you could almost stop reading right here. However, there are a couple of quick notes that actually set YouTube Kids apart from other apps. Quite simply, parents will be able to disable casting if they don't want to let their youngster control the TV.
<CheckBoxPreference android:title="@string/pref_casting_mode" android:key="cast_mode" android:defaultValue="true" />
<Preference android:key="cast_mode_summary" android:summary="@string/pref_casting_mode_summary" />
<string name="pref_casting_mode_summary">Enable casting to big screens</string>
It's simple. It's obvious. It's necessary.
The toggle will be located in the Settings screen. Aside from the option to disable Casting, all of the typical resources are present, along with a handful of slightly adjusted strings and images that were only added to fit in better with the YouTube Kids style.
This should make a lot of people happy, since the most common complaint in the Play Store reviews happens to be about the lack of Chromecast support, closely followed by complaints that there aren't enough ways to flag objectionable content.
Oh, and there will be new options for flagging content... But did anybody really need to read about that in a teardown?
"Are we there yet?"