In 2014, Google made headway into U.S. classrooms through the dominance of its Chromebook notebooks and the release of Classroom, a collaborative app for teachers and students. This year, Google is reaching out to a new horizon — creative apps for kids.
Earlier this month, Launchpad Toys announced Google had acquired the maker of apps for children. Launchpad's most popular offering, Toontastic, which is like putting on a digital puppet show. The storytelling tool allows users to draw, animate, narrate and record cartoons.
"We’re proud to announce that our little toy company is pairing up with a great big team of tinkerers to empower GAJILLIONS of playful storytellers around the world," the company posted on its website. "Launchpad Toys is joining Google to create even more amazing creativity tools for kids. Today, we've made our digital toys and tools free to creative kids everywhere. Tomorrow ... well, we can't wait to share."
The acquisition would include Launchpad’s TeleStory, an app that encourages children to “write, direct and star in your own TV show,” which could be part of Google’s plans to launch a kid-friendly iteration of YouTube, according to The Guardian. Versions of popular Google products such as Gmail and YouTube would have strict parental controls and be customized for tablets, The Wall Street Journal reported in August.
In December, USA Today confirmed the Google initiative for the under-13 set. Pavni Diwanji, the vice president of engineering charged with overseeing the shift, said, “There’s a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children.”
While Launchpad offers apps for free on iOS, the company has yet to announce plans to take the plunge into Google's Android apps ecosystem.