Microsoft appears to be keen to protect children online, with Bing in the Classroom removing ads, malware and porn from the search system.
In a bid to prove that Bing has more to offer than Google, Microsoft has developed a version of the search engine for schools which shows no advertising, blocks malware and sites of an adult nature and adds extra privacy controls.
And while, on the one hand, it would be easy to say that it’s a bit of a stunt to get Google out of the classroom and Bing in, it does actually sound like the tools are going to be useful.
Although Microsoft clearly isn’t going to be making money on search results with no ads, sceptics might suggest those same kids might be more likely to go home and “Bing” something, if they’ve spent all day using it at school.
The scheme, which is currently a pilot now counts 4.5 million children in 5000 schools across the US as its test candidates. Microsoft estimates that 15 billion adverts are shown to children while they are at school, and this experiment claims to have so far served 35 million ad-free search results since the project began.
The service also allows teachers to customise what can and can’t be shown, which might be helpful for teaching sex education, where more liberal search results might be appropriate.
The service is still only available in the US for now, and only to select schools, but we think this is a feature that is very likely to roll-out globally before too long.