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The Google Assistant has tightened approval for voice apps for children and plans to remove Google Actions without an approved mobile app

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January 13, 2021 12:00 pm

The rules for creating Google Assistant Actions (AFF) for families are becoming stricter. The AFF program is limited to developers using apps marked Teacher Approved on Google Play. Since the middle of last year, Google Action developers have been able to qualify for this program without a mobile app. This means that many Google actions that were developed as a voice experience but weren’t launched as a mobile app will be excluded and may be permanently removed from the action directory.

Family restrictions

Google has sent an email to developers explaining that the updated AFF program is to ensure that Google Assistant actions for kids and families are as they claim. The company doesn’t mention the specific exciting incident that led to the update, so it could be an item on the to-do list that the company finally got this month. The new restrictions will start on February 11th this year.

Actions approved by the AFF program are identified by an assistant directory badge like the one above, informing parents that they are family-friendly. Developers performing actions in the AFF program must reapply and prove that they have a teacher-approved app on the Google Play store and submit the action for review. Anything approved by Arendt will be completely shut down on February 11th.

This is a major concern for multiple Google Assistant action developers who have contacted Voicebot. These developers weren’t interested in publishing mobile apps for Android. Some people have no experience with this segment. The announced changes mean that we need to invest in building new features for mobile apps just to keep children’s voice apps published in the Google Actions directory. A more likely scenario is simply abandoning the platform and previous work.

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As more families and kids get smart speakers and displays, it makes sense for Google to become more interested in ensuring that children’s material is what they claim. .. This also applies to the Google Assistant, which has recently upgraded its app detection and game interface. When a child asks the Google Assistant to play a game, Google wants to clarify which one is right for them. On the smart display, Google updated its main portal and added a lobby to show featured top-ranked games that resembled the look of the Google Play store. This makes family badges, or their lack, particularly noticeable.

The Google Assistant has focused specifically on children and families last year. The new Family Bell feature is to help homeschooling kids while reading the tutor app Rivet. Badges may help alleviate parents’ concerns about privacy and security regarding their children. Both Google and Amazon are working on an ongoing proceeding on this issue, so everything Google can do to make parents feel better about the issue is good for them. Of course, trusting the Google Assistant badge doesn’t mean your child will be thrilled. There is some evidence that toddlers do not particularly trust the voice assistant. You can read the full text of the email sent to the developers below.

Follow @voicebotai Follow @erichschwartz

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Eric Hal Schwartz is a staff writer and podcast producer for Voicebot.AI. Eric has been a professional writer and editor for over 12 years, specializing in stories about how science and technology intersect business and society. Eric is based in New York.

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