Update/Resolution (Oct. 2, 2021):
After speaking at great length to Google support and connecting with many of you to understand what students were experiencing, we have learned the following:
- Starting September 1st, 2021, Google applied new age-based restrictions to all Google for Education accounts. As part of that update, students under the age of 18 can no longer open any 3rd-party Google Marketplace app. This is not specific to NoodleTools in any way.
- As Google has implemented it, a school has no way to “whitelist” a particular app they’ve installed for students, to designate that it is appropriate for younger students. And there is no special “ok for kids” app category for a 3rd-party app — Google has simply added a blanket rule that no 3rd-party app can be opened by a student under 18.
- If you think #2 is crazy(!), we encourage you to contact your Google rep to let them know!
- Classifying students as 18 years old in the Google administration area will resolve the issue (for all of your 3rd-party apps), but we do not recommend doing so for obvious reasons.
As a result of Google’s changes, a student who is younger than 18 years old can no longer start NoodleTools by clicking the NoodleTools icon in the Google “waffle” menu. Fortunately, the other two methods of entering NoodleTools through Google will still work, since those are just direct single-sign-on (SSO) calls to the Google API (they do not register as “opening an app” in the same way).
Thus our recommendations for K-12 schools and districts using Google SSO for access to NoodleTools are:
- The school’s/district’s Google administrator may wish to hide the NoodleTools app from the Google waffle menu (at least for elementary and middle schools, but perhaps even for high schools to prevent confusion, as it will work for some students but not others).
- Teachers/librarians should inform students that there are two methods for logging in through Google: (1) Clicking the “Google” button on the NoodleTools login screen or (2) entering through a URL of the format https://my.noodletools.com/logon/signin?domain=my.domain.edu (replacing “my.domain.edu” with your own email domain).
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Original message (Sept. 16, 2021):
Good afternoon! For those of you using Google single-sign-on (SSO) for access to NoodleTools, we’ve had sporadic reports this week that particular students are encountering an error when they click on the NoodleTools app in the Google “waffle” menu:
“Can’t access this service: This service is unavailable for Google Workspace for Education users who are under 18 and children under 13…”
While it must be related to Google’s recent (9/1/21) changes to configuring apps with age restrictions, it seems to just be happening to specific students, without any reason. We are investigating this, but meanwhile if a student does run into it, there is a simple workaround, which is that they can click the “Google” button on the main NoodleTools login page instead of going through the waffle menu.
We’ll update this article with any additional information we learn.