Kiddle: The child-friendly search engine has no affiliation with Google
The internet is, all things considered, pretty wonderful. But in the same way that I can say that London is wonderful, I can still recognise that there are plenty of sketchy neighbourhoods that you’d rather that the young and impressionable didn’t venture into. So the idea of a child-friendly search engine isn’t a terrible idea for Google.
The trouble is, if the search giant has had the idea, they haven’t done anything about it, despite various reports over the weekend. Kiddle.co is a search engine that uses Google’s results, but it’s not a Google product.
A glance at the homepage makes it pretty easy to see how confusion would arise. To put it charitably, the site’s owners haven’t exactly gone out of their way to set the two apart:
What we actually have here is a search engine that uses Google’s Custom Search bar and human editors to filter out grim results with, I think it’s fair to say, patchy results:
In theory, Kiddle offers a combination of safe search, results tailored for children (positions 1-3 are safe sites written for children, 4-7 come from safe sites not written for children but accessible, and 8+ are just safe sites) and large clear fonts. If you put in a bad word – use your imagination – it tells you in no uncertain terms. Paris Hilton falls foul to this filtering:
…although she manages to slip through the net with searches for just ‘Hilton’:
The Google ads that appear alongside results also seem to be unfiltered, raising troubling questions about advertising to children. A search for Donald Trump brings up the handpicked results you’d hope for, but offers ads for “expat financial advice”, explanation that he owns stock in tobacco and tech, and bafflingly, the opportunity to buy Donald Trump at an intriguing 70% off.
So, in conclusion, its intentions may be good and it’s probably better than regular, unfiltered Google. However, you’re kiddling yourself if you think it’s any substitute for parental supervision.