Microsoft’s Android launcher now lets you track your kid’s location and app usage

Microsoft is bringing a new location-tracking feature to its Android launcher app. Available in preview, the new family tracking feature lets Microsoft Launcher users track the last known location of their family members. The launcher also includes an activity report of what apps are being used on a device and for how long, similar to Microsoft’s family account feature.

Microsoft’s Android location tracking is part of a broader set of family-focused improvements on Android and the web. While Microsoft has always supporting website blocking on Windows PCs, the software maker is extending this feature to Android as well. Any existing Microsoft family group website blocks for Windows machines will now carry over to Edge for Android, making it easy to block websites across mobile and PC.

Microsoft is even launching an MSN Kids site, designed to provide curated news specifically for kids in the elementary or middle school age range. “We saw a need for a place for kids to learn about the world in a safe, trustworthy and fun environment,” explains Shilpa Ranganathan, Microsoft’s general manager of mobile experiences. “The site offers editorially curated, age-appropriate news and features from partner publishers such as Time for Kids, Popular Science, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic, and USA TODAY.”

Comments

Not something I’d use as I have no kids but as a general thing, I really like the Microsoft (nee Arrow) Launcher. Very iOS-like but with some extra features iOS could learn from.

As long as Microsoft isn’t logging and mining the location, communications and app launch and usage of your kids it’d be good. They’ll certainly be doing that for you since you have to run the launcher too. (i.e. they get some of the financial the benefits of owning a mobile OS this way)

But I very much doubt Microsoft would be doing this in such an unprofitable way. That’s just not how Microsoft’s executives roll (thinking back to the user monitoring added to Windows 10, then added to Windows 7 & 8.1 and so many other things). JMHO…

Mining location and user monitoring in Windows 10 only exists in your head. Anonymous telemetry, however, is part of every modern software and served developers very well, helping to improve quality and user experience. Microsoft Launcher certainly won’t collect any more info than 90% of apps on your phone already do.

You’re worried about a launcher collecting anonymous telemetry, but not the Google owned OS running it’s running on collecting far more data? Makes sense…

Maybe they use Apple?

So for this too work, how would I lock down my Son’s android phone?

Does he have to be running MS Launcher too, and how do I stop him going to his default chrome browser and Android assistant? Without the ability to block his access to other apps, this function is useless.

He certainly isn’t going to want to use edge and bing, as it’s way behind Google, at least here in the UK.

Here’s some A’s to those Q’s

1) This is for happy families that don’t care that they run into each other or that they can stalk them via tracker.

2) Yes both parties must use the launcher.

3) It doesn’t make a difference using chrome or any other app it’s only a launcher. If your son is downloading apps you don’t like you have that info too.

4) He does not have to use bing as that default in edge can be changed. He does not have to use edge because he can get chrome or Firefox or whatever

It sounds like him using the internet unsupervised is not a big deal to you so perhaps the burden of setting this up isn’t required. Moreover unless you use the open on Windows function I wouldn’t recommend it. But I’d try it before sending it back to the kitchen.

The launcher, itself, is using Edge to expose features that are unique to their browser. But you do not need to install or use Edge. Your preferred browser will remain intact. The launcher will allow you to set your preferred search provider as well. The launcher will search the web and the device very effectively regardless of which web search provider that you choose.

In terms of locking down your child’s device, I doubt that it will be able to do that on Android right now but it does do that on Windows 10. It uses the Microsoft Family Account management system. It automatically recognized that my daughter is linked to my account. It is an opt-in system but as her father, she won’t have much of a choice.

When I do get it set up on her Android, I assume that it will aggregate her device activity between PC and mobile but with some limitations on Android. Either way, this will come in handy when I review her weekly device activity reports. I’m not an ogre but it is really helpful to be able to review the sites, applications and duration of usage.

I could set time limits on her PC but I want her to self manage that. I just use it as a tool for monitoring high level trends. When I have stepped in, she is surprised to hear about her usage. It isn’t difficult to demonstrate that she needs more balance when you have the data. That makes my job, as her father, much easier.

Thanks NotUrphoneDr & Fourth&goal.

I’ll give it a try and see how he gets on.

"Son, we need to talk about your Tinder usage."

Microsoft is just about to make a Android OS.

I don’t have much use for these features, but it is good to have these options available. However, I’m an iOS user so curious about this feature -

Any existing Microsoft family group website blocks for Windows machines will now carry over to Edge for Android, making it easy to block websites across mobile and PC.

Can this be applied to Edge on iOS?

Dinner Time Plus and Google’s location sharing makes for a better solution.

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