While both Google and Microsoft’s Bing search engines have “safe search” options intended to let younger school children research reports on things like “backyard drilling” without getting results that might require a lot of awkward explanations from their parents, neither had offered an ad-free version. But in the fall, Microsoft will launch “Bing for Schools,” which promises not to invade our schools’ libraries with advertising.
That is, unless you consider the whole Bing for Schools thing to be one big ad for Microsoft, which is still lagging far behind Google in the search engine market. That gap may grow even larger, as Google’s Android OS for smartphones and tablets becomes more popular while Microsoft’s Windows Mobile has barely made a dent.
So it makes sense that Microsoft is trying to get its search engine used by the youngest crowd it can find. The idea is to get the kids searching via Bing now and hopefully they’ll still be Bing-ing (as opposed to binging, which people of all ages should avoid) when they reach adulthood.
It’s a pretty savvy move on Microsoft’s part — and one that is difficult to criticize seriously, as we can’t imagine too many consumers upset about a lack of advertising to children.
Microsoft says the program is opt-in for schools, and will be free of charge. Additionally, it won’t require any special software.
There is no set launch date for the program, but interested educators can get more info here.