Google Suggest Fail
Google Suggest, which is an extremely useful and powerful tool that allows you to find what you need quickly, fails our children by exposing them to damaging material.
Google Suggest has been a friend of mine since it launched in 2008. The driving concept driving is that Google looks at each character as you type and suggests the most common search terms that begin with that string of characters. And in some cases it will suggest a variant of the terms you've typed.
Google Suggest Is Bad For Parents
This image tells me that "how to grow weed" is the top search phrase that begins with phrase that I typed, "how to grow". But should Google do more analysis before it suggest that I want to know how to grow weed? As a parent, would this result be acceptable for my children? Of course not. What's worse is that after you stop typing, Google Instant kicks in and starts displaying results for the suggested term.
While I'm perfectly capable of turning off these options in Google's search settings on the website and in the Chrome Browser, browser makers should be thinking about the younger generation. There are too many steps involved when your kid just wants to jump on and point and click at Dora the Explorer or Barney and Friends. "Sorry, honey. It will be 5 minutes. I need to make sure bad things don't destroy your innocence."
Re-defining 'Safe Mode'
The current design of 'Safe Mode', incognito in some browsers, is to prevent search history and cookies from being stored on a users computer. Shouldn't 'Safe Mode' mean that it protects the viewer from harmful subject matter? Should I teach my kids to use Zoodles or another kid-friendly browser that restricts them from traveling outside a very limited corner of the Internet?
Utopian vision? Maybe. There's no way that Google or anyone can prevent children from watching the wrong YouTube video. I'm just hoping my kids choose the right path and that I have the foresight to guide them gently down it.