Google’s YouTube to Offer Applications Designed for Kids

Google Inc.’s YouTube plans to roll out a service designed for children as the company looks for new ways to expand its audience.

The service, the YouTube Kids app, will feature content that aims to create a safer environment for children, including age-appropriate videos, channels and playlists, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The application will be offered in the U.S. on devices with the Android operating system through the Google Play store. Partners include DreamWorks TV, National Geographic and The Jim Henson Co.

Google is investing in technology for children, looking to move beyond its popular tools and content designed for adults. Earlier this month, the Mountain View, California-based company acquired mobile-application maker Launchpad Toys Inc., the developer of the Toontastic storytelling tool, to help it expand in Internet games and services for kids.

“The Jim Henson Company has been a long-time partner with YouTube,” Richard Goldsmith, executive vice president, global distribution and international consumer products at Jim Henson, said in the statement. “The app is extremely kid friendly and features a variety of content, including several of our series such as Sid the Science Kid, Pajanimals, and Fraggle Rock.”

The service, which will be available Feb. 23, includes parental controls that enable restrictions on time, sound and searches.

“It is compelling, informative, entertaining and parents will be pleased they can easily set time limits,” Stephen Balkam, chief executive officer of the Family Online Safety Institute, said in the statement. “My hope is that it will open the door for even more great content for kids.”