Yahoo Kids disappeared from the tech scene almost two years ago, but its concept maker and inventor was not going to be bogged down by its failure. BJ Heinley, who worked on it for five years, did not want to deprive kids and parents of the search engine.
And he is back with a recreation – a new search engine called Thinga!
Heinley’s has been working on Thinga under the canopy of The Bear James Company for developing child and family-friendly projects. This is one of the first kid-focused search engines that aimed to educate contemporary kids.
What is Thinga?
Thinga is like Google but a restricted search engine, wherein kids can type in words and terms that they want to know about. The search results are sourced from the company’s content library, and is without ads and hand-picked from white-listed sites only. The search results are powered by DuckDuckGo and all blacklisted terms are intentionally removed.
Users can use Thinga content right from the home page itself where there are various videos, cool facts, and animals. This is a COPPA-compliant site aimed specifically for kids.
The Right Audience with the Right Channel
Broadly speaking, Thinga is designed for kids studying in elementary school. There are a lot of parental controls in it where the content can be chosen and filtered too. Plans are on for native apps too.
As part of its business model, the site relies on freemium approach for its revenue. Although the site is free, a related, subscription kids’ magazine named as Boom is scheduled for launch. Also, the site has tie-ups with merchandized stuff like T-shirts, posters and more right from the site store.
Thinga is also looking for advertising through proper channels like a tie-up with Cirque du Soleil show Kooza wherein the content is curated and created that is suitable for all ages. Ads can be turned off when not needed. Also the site is filled with inspiring news, talented humans, animals and their antics, scavenger hunts, jokes, gifs and the like. The site works specially as a discovery tool for kids and succeeds at it.
Thinga includes a Kid Reporter who would interview different people and visit different places that are kid-friendly. The makers are a certified B-Corp who are aligned with varied companies that spread similar social messages and ecological values
Thinga is also geared for holiday and special promotions with all types of companies with stuff that is meant for all. The site has also incorporated a self-mood indicator with the Thinga Picker to reflect your own personality.
Salient Features of the Thinga and its Major Attributes
- Focus on people and what they need rather than monetary returns
- Walled Garden Approach with Absence of links to the larger web unless authorized
- Fully Curated and Compiled data including original and hand-picked videos and stuff
- Adherence to COPPA standards in collection of children’s information
- Parental Content Controls based on set preferences by verified adults
- Paid Content with low advertising revenue through subscriptions
- Independent content and no frills attached stuff
- Providing Knowledge about Social and Ecological Impact for kids with support for sustainable and socially conscious products and services
Thinga offers the users the right to choose content types and also works on the freedom of expression for children, parents, and educators.
A Curated Search Engine that is an Educational Haven for Kids!
Despite advances on the web, there is not a single site that provides independent content specific for a demographic or age group. It is important to leverage the power of the web to explore and learn something, especially for the young generation. Thinga is an effort in the right direction and has enough parental controls to avoid stuff that detracts kids from the goal of gaining knowledge, driving imagination and increasing curiosity.